I love dystopian novels because they challenge me to consider whether I would be confident enough in my own identity to survive in a world in which my existence is perceived a threat to the status quo. The Divergent series is especially interesting because the conflict centers on people who cannot fit into one of the five virtue-based factions of society.
Our society is void of government enforced factions, but there are those of us who have difficulty defining themselves by one core passion. We know these divergent personalities as multipotentialites.
Jack-of-all-trades and master, too
Multipotentiality is a concept within the field of psychology that describes individuals who are exceptionally gifted in many disciplines. At various times known as a Renaissance Man, polymath, or jack-of-all-trades, the in vogue term, multipotentialite, became popular due to the work of Emilie Wapnick.
A misunderstood yet powerful minority
Indicators of multipotentiality include intense curiosity, highly creative and visionary thinking, advanced intellect, rapid mastery of new skills before moving on to something new due to boredom, and the ability to understand multiple perspectives. Some of the most dynamic men and women throughout history were multi-passionate thinkers who advanced society by thinking outside of the box.
We can all breathe freely knowing that people with multiple gifts and interests won’t be dragged away by an oppressive regime as in the Divergent series, but modern society hasn’t made it easy for the multipotentialite to thrive. The tide appears to be changing as researchers recognize the value of these innovative thinkers who defy the message to specialize for success.
Embracing your gifts
Multipotentiality is a mixed blessing. You can choose to explore the depths of your incredible abilities and change the world. Or you can choose to succumb to analysis paralysis and get stuck in a prison of inactivity.
It is possible to lead a productive life while exploring the fullness of your potential. Here are five strategies to maximize your abilities.
1) Reflect on your options and make a choice
It is impossible to move forward in life without taking the first step. You don’t have to tie yourself down to a single identity or interest, but you do need to choose a direction to go in. An excellent method of gaining clarity is the classic SWOT analysis. SWOT is a classic decision-making tool used by businesses. Similar tools include SOAR, PEST, and SCOPE. Use one of these methods to perform an inventory of your strengths. Determine where your best opportunities lie then take action.
2) Give yourself permission to be yourself
Few things are as detestable to a multipotentialite than having no options. This is the reason it is so hard to make those initial decisions that lead to progress. As you begin work on a goal, the path will shift and opportunities to explore other facets will appear. Learn to listen to your inner voice and go with the flow when it is time to veer off the path a bit. Until that happens, know that you aren’t saying no to your desires by sticking with a task for awhile. You are saying, “not yet”. You are gaining valuable skills that will prepare you for the time when you can pursue a new project.
3) Learn to love the fractal path and document the journey
A linear path goes against your core personality. Be comfortable with a pattern of progress that may seem jumbled at first. Trust that it will make sense as your journey unfolds. Embrace the concept of work cycles. Lost interest in something? Move on, but don’t abandon it for good. The breadth of experience you have will serve you well down the line. Accept that you will always want to explore the possibilities. Develop the discipline of journaling so you have a record of where you’ve been to reflect upon. You will be aware of your progress when you can see your accomplishments written down.
4) Carve out your own destiny
Instead of picking a career, make room in the world for your unique gifts by starting your own business. Entrepreneurship gives you the freedom to combine your interests into profitable and fulfilling work. If you prefer to be an employee, consider what changes would lead to greater satisfaction. Brainstorm ideas and pitch the best ones to your boss. Use your unusual intellect to win that autonomy you crave in the workplace. Companies love talented individuals who propel their brands forward with bold, creative solutions.
5) Create a Life Map
Keep the big picture in mind with a personal vision that you have represented with words or visuals. Dream big about how you would like to craft your life. Set mini goals over smaller periods of time to bring you closer to fulfilling your purposes. Decide on your goals for this year, then break those goals into smaller tasks to complete each month. You can achieve every goal you desire as long as you are consistent even if you take a few rabbit trails along the way.
It’s time for the divergent among us to stop feeling guilty. Your interdisciplinary approach to life can benefit your workplace, your community, and beyond. Commit to creating a new standard for your own success and harness your power. What changes will you make to forge your own way?