Is Being Interested in Everything a Curse?
Multipotentialites want to be everything when they grow up. Not just one thing.
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you’d grow up? The big, ever-returning question. Does your answer to this question today differ from what you would’ve said as a child?
So, what do you do?
As a kid, I’ve wanted to be different things. The only constant factor in these options was always: change. What I wanted to be morphed into something different at different stages of my life.
If you’d ask me the question today, I’d respond: Whatever piques my interest now. And I don’t know if this will look the same five years from now. There are fields I am naturally more drawn to, but there has never been one single thing that I strived to be. I will drown myself in my current topic of interest, eat it, breathe it, bathe in and consume it. Until I lose interest and the willingness to continue investing time and energy.
One of my Focusmate partners introduced themselves by their name, continued by “and I’m a lawyer”. I tensed up because I felt the pressure rise to give them a similar answer. I don’t know “what I am”. Which side of me shall I put on the stage today? I usually end up picking a random label and sharing that to satisfy my conversation partner.
When you can’t help but have too many interests
Recently I came across Emilie Wapnick’s Ted talk titled “Why some of us don’t have one true calling”. It really spoke to me. Emilie talks about how she’d touch upon a new topic, get completely absorbed into it for a while, and ditch it once the magic or interest wore off.
Having fallen for the sunk cost fallacy, she’d try to persist. After all, so much effort had already been invested. Stopping now means all the effort goes to waste. Eventually, she’d let it go.
Questions that ran through Emilie’s head after ditching the interests she thought to be her One Thing were: “Is there something wrong with me? Can I not stick with anything? Am I afraid of commitment, am I scattered or self-sabotaging?” Girl, I feel you! All of this!
The societal norm is to specialize. Picking a core field of interest to focus on will work for the specialists under us. I sometimes secretly envy those of you with a laser clear goal. I imagine it makes things easier. But then again, the grass always looks greener on the other side.
Pick one thing, and devote your existence to it. Even my partner keeps telling me this. I keep telling them I cannot. “You don’t know how to commit”, is one that’s been repeated. The point is, I can and will commit. Until I lose interest. For a multipotentialite like myself, picking one thing only means neglecting other areas of myself that need space to just be. It feels exactly how Emilie described it: “…denying all other passions and resign to eventually getting bored”.
I’ve known I’m not wired like that. And I thought I was the only one, or one of the few. The Ted talk gave me reassurance that I am not alone. It opened a door to a new world. Now I know what search terms to use when looking for like-minded people. Lock your digital doors, kids, or I might try to befriend you.
I’ve started different Instagram accounts. An account for my friend’s cats. An account for drawings, paintings, and digital art. I even started a writer’s Instagram account. It didn’t take long before I stopped nurturing it.
As for writing on this platform, I’m a newbie in the game. Maybe the magic will wear off one day. I genuinely hope it won’t, but if it does, I’ll need to let it go and pivot onto a new path. For the sake of self expression, I will stick with one main Social Media account and keep all creations under one umbrella. I realized that if I’d start an account for every single one of my interests, I’ll end up with dozens, if not hundreds of accounts that get attention for a short while before they reach the Resting Place of Past Experiments.
“The problem was that I didn’t have any interests. The problem was I had too many.” — Emilie Wapnick
I’m happy to let myself fall deep into the many rabbit holes that reveal themselves to me. Not going all in on project keeps me creative, and happy. Getting too scattered is a real danger, but that comes with the deal.
Not being able to stick with one thing is not all bad. Emilie mentions idea synthesis, rapid learning, and adaptability as multipotentialite core strengths. It’s finding ideas in the uncommon or overlooked and being good at being a beginner.
If you recognize yourself in the Ted talk, maybe it’s time to embrace how you’re wired, and use this awareness to your advantage.