Ooph! If there was one thing I could change about my upbringing, over the traumas, the hardships, is the fact that nobody ever told me,
“Hey Bella, it’s totally okay to pursue several different careers and hobbies and paths in life.”
Because you can. And you don’t have to pick one thing. And you don’t have to define your life’s purpose and go all in on that and only that forever.
Probably not. Because if you’re here and you found me, chances are you already know this—at least deep down.
I used to envy people who knew exactly what they wanted. They’ve been working toward their forever career or life purpose for as long as they can remember, and it’s truly what they wish to do in life and that’s their only direction.
Because it’s easier, in a way. There are no hard decisions they have to make and they know what direction they’ll be happiest in.
For us others? We’re multipotentialites (coined by Emilie Wapnick). Her definition of this kind of blew my mind, as did her Ted talk I’ll link below.
Our parents had it differently…
It shouldn’t be so surprising—the idea that we can pursue multiple paths when we feel called to it shouldn’t be this big revelation.
But it is…because society has trained us to believe otherwise.
Back in the day, this was the plan. You go to school, go to college, get a degree in order to get a good job, and if you were lucky, you stayed in that job and moved up the ladder for the remainder of your working days.
And to be fair, that’s a very safe and secure plan.
But the thing is…today’s world is different. We have more options. We have access to more knowledge and can pursue things our parents never could before.
Society is stunting the growth of today’s youth—prove me wrong
I feel so old using the word “youth” when referencing children and younger people. Mostly because I still feel like a 15-year-old deep down, despite being a decade past that.
And to others years ahead of me, I’m one of those youths.
But no matter how the word makes me feel, the fact still stands: by maintaining this societal belief in pursuing your “one” passion or path in life, we’re stunting the growth of the next generations and in turn, humanity.
I always get annoyed when people come at me with this misused idiom:
“Jack of all trades, master of none.”
And they don a pompous smirk, satisfied by having proved my theory wrong. But what these people don’t know is that is only the first part of this saying.
This is the full version.
“Jack of all trades is a master of none but oftentimes better than a master of one.“
You see that? This means that being someone who pursues various trades is actually better than if you specialize.
And this isn’t without proof, either.
What do Ben Franklin, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Leonardo Di Vinci, and Marie Curie have in common?
Those are some interesting names to throw in a hat together, right?
But inspiring, too.
There’s no denying the people above are very special—to anyone who sees those names. They’re people who have added to our society in countless ways. Without them, the world would look different.
Ben Franklin invented the lightbulb.
Elon Musk has advanced our clean energy technology in massive ways.
Steve Jobs…well, he’s the reason I’m typing on this laptop and he’s responsible for the phone I use every day.
Leonardo Di Vinci brought fame to the arts.
Marie Curie discovered polonium and radium, fundamentally changing our understanding of radioactivity.
And guess what. They were all generalists.
It’s easy to think these people specialized in their field simply because they’re famous for that thing. But there’s a reason they were able to become so great in that area and have these “breakthroughs” others never did.
Think of it like Mr. Miyagi teaching that young kid karate. Before he could even start with that, he had to learn other skills necessary first, like waxing on and waxing off.
A broad knowledge base aids any field
As someone who’s had many interesting (some may say weird) hobbies growing up, I’ve experienced this firsthand.
The more you know from several different areas, the more you can connect the dots.
You’d be surprised how much is related when you step back and have a view of them from several angles. Being solely in your field of vision can actually be harmful to your progress over time.
How do you think innovation happens?
It’s when multiple ideas come together from various sources in order to create something new. And you can’t do that if you spend all your time in one area only.
So branching out, obtaining interests in several fields can make you better at what you’re doing.
Experiment, for the sake of your happiness
Unless you’re someone who genuinely wants to pursue a single path, make an effort to expand your horizons.
Go to museums.
Learn something that you’re not forced to.
You’ll be a happier, more well-rounded person because of it.
Being a person who has several passions and hobbies is not a weakness. Contrary to how our society currently operates, it’s a strength that should be harnessed.