I watched a TED talk about multipotentiality by Emilie Wapnick a few years ago. The word means what it looks like: having potential (and passion) in more than one area of interest.

That resonated for me. (It also felt like relief.) And it is an idea that has come back to me in recent days as I’ve felt anxieties rooted, in part, in my fractured approach to life re-enter.

Multipotentiality | Emilie Wapnick TED Talk

Emilie talks about how she would dive into one passion and then another, trying to find her one true calling in life. Just like so many of us are taught to do. She says:

“This pattern caused me a lot of anxiety for two reasons. The first was that I wasn’t sure how I was going to turn any of this into a career. I thought I was going to have to pick one thing, deny all my other passions, and just resign myself to being bored.

“The other reason it caused me so much anxiety was … I thought there was something wrong with this, and something wrong with me for being unable to stick with anything, that I was self-sabotaging, afraid of my own success.”

Many of us were given a streamlined roadmap to life when we were young kids: eat your vegetables, go to school, get a paycheck, have a family, and save for a rainy day.

The more one questions that conventional roadmap, the more vulnerable one can feel. You feel damned if you use that roadmap, because it’s not your true calling. You can feel damned if you go off-road, because you have no map to the terrain that lies around you. 

If any of this hits close for you, I recommend watching Emilie’s full talk. It’s 12 minutes of therapy for a multipotentialite who has yet to see that Self in the mirror.


Title Photo: unsplash-logoMatúš Kovačovský