jack of all trades? master of none? is it really?

Why do we have to pursue only one thing in our career?

I was inspired by a Ted talk by Emilie Wapnick and this is what I learnt: Ted Talk by Emilie

There is nothing wrong with you. What you are, is a multipotentialite.

A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Is what we are pressured to answer with a single answer more often than not. But why does it have to be one? Why can’t I be a doctor and artist at the same time?

The thing is no one told us we can’t. Culture and society just heavily implied it. Because of how society works, and how different people are needed for specific jobs for a society to function, we are expected to focus on a single specialty for “maximum efficiency”.

She also brought up the point that it is okay to learn many things and quit eventually. I used to feel really bad about learning so many things but never finishing it to the end. Take for instance, I stopped my piano lessons at grade 7, stopped my ballet lessons at grade 5, stop my Bowling trainings at junior college level, stopped my swimming at lifeguard level etc. My Mother called me the “jack of all trades, master of none” and it made me feel really awful. Since then, it made me really hesitant to join any new commitments just to quit in the end.

Emilie brought some enlightenment to this topic and reassured me that whatever I learnt isn’t useless and that it’s okay to quit as long as I learnt something from it. She said it’s not a commitment issue, it’s just the yearning to learn many things and that eventually the things we learn can actually be put to use whether we realise it or not.

It’s not a waste of time.

She proceeds to describe examples of her friends and acquaintances who have 3 or more job titles , who have managed to combine all their skills to create magic.

Multipotentialites, according to Emilie, have these perks:

  • Idea Synthesis

Combining 2 or more fields then creating something new at the intersection. Innovation comes at the intersections.

  • Rapid learning

We are used to being beginners because we’ve been beginners so many times in the past. So we tend to step out more and want to learn more new things.

  • Adaptability

We can use the skills at various times, based on various roles. This is important and valuable for the 21st century in order to meet the needs of a fast growing economy. There are so many problems that need multidimensional analysis to solve. And this is how multipotentialites can thrive.

Embrace your inner wiring, whatever they may be. If you’re a specialist at heart, by all means… For the multipotentialites, to you I see, embrace your many passions, follow those curiousities down those rabbit holes and explore your intersections…

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