I know, lengthy title.
It feels like it’s been a while since I wrote about something that was on my mind. I write a lot of stuff for other people, and about various topics, but I try to steer clear of content that’s too revealing. I don’t know why but sometimes I feel as though the things I think about are way too difficult for me to fully navigate online. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this particular topic a lot over the last year or two and I bet I’m not the only person who feels this way, so bear with me as I try to iron it out in plain English.
Before I start though, a preface. I do not believe I’m an arrogant person. That’s not to say that I’m not one; there’s almost certainly people out there who will read this post and take it in that way. I hope that’s not the case, but if it is, then all I can really say to those people is thanks and goodbye.
The things I’m going to discuss here may come across as egotistical; that’s not the intention. I like to think that I’m not that way inclined whatsoever, but again, self-perception isn’t always the greatest yardstick to measure yourself against.
Anyway, onward to the point.
I am one of those people who can do lots of different things. Most of us are, but the majority of us tend to settle their life’s focus into one particular field. They go to school, college, university, whatever, and then use their experiences to progress their chosen career or calling. They use what they’ve learned to its full potential. They fulfil their one potential, the one they have been working towards since they decided upon it at one point or another.
Me? Not so much.
I have spent my entire life doing lots of different things, becoming qualified to do multiple roles and follow different paths, but I’ve never quite settled upon one of them. I really struggled with the idea of concentrating my skills into one particular area for the rest of my life and just doing that. I still really struggle with that notion. It’s why I spend my life juggling 5,000 different plates; one day I’m a teacher, another day I’m a designer, then I’m a writer, artist, gamer, rugby player, languages specialist, business owner and anything in between.
Some days I wonder what would have happened to me if I’d stuck it out in one particular role, and then other days I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t.
A life of what-ifs and a routine of multiple potentialities is something I think a lot of us can struggle with. I loathe the idea of not fulfilling my potential. I detest the thought of going to my grave not having given everything a go, knowing that I could do many different things with my time on this earth and for whatever reason not doing them. So I try and do all of the different things I’m capable of all at once; juggling the different identities like a circus freak who can’t decide which mask to wear on any given day.
Its exhausting, but I’ve come to realise that it’s just the way I am. The way my mind works. I just want to do all of the things; yet sometimes this causes such internal conflict and indecision that I know at some point I need to narrow things down and choose a path. I hate this idea.
At the moment, my path is of the writer and designer. I’m shelving some of my other potentialities to concentrate on these two. And yet almost subconsciously, I’ve found myself starting something new yet again; the world of live streaming and vlogging. I’ve never done this before, but now, because I’m trying to focus on one or two aspects of my potential alone, my brain is screaming at me to try new things, do more, go for something different.
Why am I like this? It’s almost as though something inside me refuses to let me settle on one thing at a time. Multiple projects all at once drive me to distraction, but it’s the only way I can seem to operate.
There are so many aspects to what I could do that it’s diluting the outcomes of what I am actually doing. I haven’t written a post on here in a couple of weeks. I’m getting distracted from my goal of finishing the first draft of my book. Focus is hard for everyone, but incredibly hard for someone like me.
Entering the thirtyhood has made me reassess my perspective on everything, but in particular the direction my life has taken. I’m often really hard on myself for not having achieved stellar things, for not having seen as much of the world as I’d have liked, or for not having done more of the things I think I’m capable of. But this isn’t healthy. It’s stopping me from being content with my lot – and I’ve got a nice little lot compared to many.
The question is, where do you strike the balance between contentment and achievement?
I came across the work of Emilie Wapnick recently – if you haven’t heard of her then you need to watch her Ted talk on being a ‘multipotentialite’. What she said struck such a chord with me I couldn’t believe it. It was like hearing someone articulate every thought I’ve ever had about myself in under 15 minutes. I am one hundred percent a multipotentialite.
Learning to navigate the constant change of my life’s focuses has been really difficult at times. I’ve often felt like a failure for wanting to shut the door on things that no longer drove me. I’ve felt the guilt and confusion of not having ‘a real job’. Every single day I consider my life to be a messy amalgamation of the different aspects of what I want to do.
I don’t think I have one true calling. I think I’m made up of too many headache-inducing, coloured components to ever live my life in black and white.
I wonder how many of you feel the same.
Let me know your thoughts below – I’d love to know how many of you can empathise with what I’m talking about. Are you a multipotentialite too?
Writer, tweeter and illustrator. Starving artist and thrifting expert. Pen for hire and first-time author at work.