Creative and Multitalented: Interested In So Many Things
Creative people are complex and multitalented. Along with the benefits of many abilities and passions, there are challenges in realizing so many interests.
In her popular TED Talk below, writer and entrepreneur Emilie Wapnick asks:
“Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’
“Now if you had to guess, how old would you say you were when you were first asked this question? You can just hold up fingers. Three. Five. Three. Five. Five.
“OK. Now, raise your hand if the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ has ever caused you any anxiety. Any anxiety at all. (Laughter from audience.)
“I’m someone who’s never been able to answer the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ See, the problem wasn’t that I didn’t have any interests — it’s that I had too many.”
Text is from transcript of her TED Talk: Emilie Wapnick: Why some of us don’t have one true calling.
Read more quotes and see a related video further down the page:
“What is a Multipotentialite?”
In a post on her site (puttylike.com), Emilie notes:
“I have interviewed over 50 multipotentialites, surveyed hundreds more…
“I wrote How to Be Everything with you, the multipotentialite community, in my heart. I tried to make it both inspiring and insanely practical. I poured my very best into it. I hope you love it.”
From the Amazon summary:
What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a familiar question we’re all asked as kids.
While seemingly harmless, the question has unintended consequences. It can make you feel like you need to choose one job, one passion, one thing to be about.
Guess what? You don’t.
Having a lot of different interests, projects and curiosities doesn’t make you a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.”
Your endless curiosity doesn’t mean you are broken or flaky.
What you are is a multipotentialite: someone with many interests and creative pursuits. And that is actually your biggest strength.
How to Be Everything helps you channel your diverse passions and skills to work for you.
Based on her popular TED talk, “Why some of us don’t have one true calling”, Emilie Wapnick flips the script on conventional career advice.
Instead of suggesting that you specialize, choose a niche or accumulate 10,000 hours of practice in a single area, Wapnick provides a practical framework for building a sustainable life around ALL of your passions.
• Why your multipotentiality is your biggest strength, especially in today’s uncertain job market.
• How to make a living and structure your work if you have many skills and interests.
• How to focus on multiple projects and make progress on all of them.
• How to handle common insecurities such as the fear of not being the best, the guilt associated with losing interest in something you used to love and the challenge of explaining “what you do” to others.
Not fitting neatly into a box can be a beautiful thing.
See information below about her Renaissance Business program for multipotentialite entrepreneurs.
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Being a multipotentialite: creative and multitalented
Creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says:
“If there is one word that makes creative people different from others, it is the word complexity. Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude.”
From my article The Complex Personality of Creative People.
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Can multitalented people choose whatever path they want?
One of the myths of high ability, multitalented people is they can choose whatever personal and career paths they want, and realize their abilities without hindrance.
It doesn’t always work out that way.
In her Unwrapping the Gifted post “Multipotentiality,” K-12 gifted education specialist Tamara Fisher quotes Bryant (a pseudonym), a graduating senior who lists his possible future careers as “applied psychologist, scientific psychologist, college teacher, philosophy, mathematics, architect, engineer.”
He says, “I find it difficult to choose between careers because I fear how large the choice is. Having many options available is pleasant, but to determine what I will do for many years to come is scary.”
From my article Multipotentiality: multiple talents, multiple challenges.
In an interview, Emma Watson was asked if she would consider a profession outside of acting. She replied:
“The difficulty for me is that I’m interested in so many different things.
“I could never really imagine myself doing one thing, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up doing four or five different things.
“I want to be a Renaissance woman.
“I want to paint, and I want to write, and I want to act, and I want to just do everything.”
“When someone is called a “Renaissance man” or “Renaissance woman” today, it is meant that, rather than simply having broad interests or superficial knowledge in several fields, he or she possesses a more profound knowledge and a proficiency, or even an expertise, in at least some of those fields.”
Polymath – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Her audio clip in my video is from the video: 10 Questions for Harry Potter’s Emma Watson.
Related article with her quotes: 10 Questions for Emma Watson by TimeMagazine, Nov. 29, 2010.
[Photos: Watson in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012); on cover of Porter magazine, from her Facebook page.]
She attended Brown University for 18 months, then announced she was deferring her courses to promote “Harry Potter” films and other projects, and enrolled as a visitor student at Worcester College, Oxford University for the 2011–12 academic year. [Wikipedia]
One of her projects outside of acting has been helping design a collection of ethical fashion for People Tree. [‘Ethical Emma’ by Lauren Milligan, vogue.co.uk 01 February 2010.]
Viggo Mortensen is an actor, painter, photographer, and founder of a publishing company. He “has collaborated with guitarist Buckethead on several albums…
“In 2009, he performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.” [Wikipedia]
Two photos in my video:
“Viggo Mortensen working in his artist loft on the set of A Perfect Murder (1998).
“Mortensen surprised the art director and crew when they were wondering where to get avant-garde art for David’s loft, when he hauled in several of his own works.
“He painted on set and wanted to live in the condemned factory building where they shot his loft scenes.”
[From Facebook/Viggo Mortensen’s Art.]
He once commented:
“Photography, painting or poetry – those are just extensions of me, how I perceive things, they are my way of communicating.”
His related audio comments in my video are from a video interview: “10 Questions for Viggo Mortensen” by TimeMagazine, Dec. 17, 2008.
“Scanners” – multitalented, multipassionate people
In my video, Barbara Sher comments: “One problem I run into with a lot of Scanners is perfectionism, which means ‘I want to do something so well that nobody will criticize me.’ That’s all it means.
“When you say ‘I’m my own worst critic,’ that’s not true; I mean you may be now, but you learned it; nobody was born criticizing themselves. Walk to a crib, when the baby knows how to talk, and say How bad do you feel about yourself, Sugar?”
The audio clip is from video: Refuse to Choose: Scanners Must Use All Their Gifts.
The video description notes, “Barbara Sher teaches Scanners how to find those gifts and start using them right away. The first step is to realize that you’ve been misunderstood by a society of specialists: You’re not a dabbler or a dilettante. You simply need to do more than one thing in your life. Sher says, “When you’re a Scanner, one path is never enough.”
[Cluttered garage photo from article: Clearing the Clutter Can Open New Paths.]
Making Dreams Happen Audio Program with Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, Valerie Young and other successful entrepreneurs – “Whether you dream of starting your own import-export business… writing a best-selling novel… owning a dude ranch… working with kids… helping underprivileged families… whatever your passion… deep inside you know what you really love to do, the life you dream of having.
“Through the Program, you’ll learn how to harness that vision… and build a life around it that not only provides you a living… but feeds your spirit, too.”
Learn more about the program at Changing Course – click “Store.”
Book: Refuse to Choose!: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love by Barbara Sher.
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The abstract animation at beginning of my video (at the top) I created online at Silk – Interactive Generative Art.
Photos at end of my video:
Marc Chagall stained glass window at the United Nations building.
Wim Delvoye – Chapel series – features “stained glass” windows using recycled x-rays. [via Inhabitat site.]
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“Would I have to settle on a ‘practical job’ and pursue my various passions on the side or choose among my interests and just commit to one thing?
“Both options made my heart ache… I knew I could be doing more – that I had more to offer the world.”
Emilie Wapnick – from my post: Resources For Multi-Passionate Entrepreneurs.
She is author of the Renaissance Business program
“Imagine having a business that allows you to focus on many of your interests and use all of your skills on a regular basis.
“In Renaissance Business, you’ll learn to use your multipotentiality so that instead of it being an obstacle to income, it becomes fuel for income.”
What is a Multipotentialite? Emilie Wapnick explains.
“An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. [Multipotentialites] generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.” [Wikipedia]
Also Known as: Polymath / Renaissance Person; Scanner etc.
[From Emilie Wapnick’s site Puttylike.com.]
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Programs by Emilie Wapnick – see the page:
Resources For Multi-Passionate Entrepreneurs
See more Multipotentiality Resources on my High Ability site – Articles/posts, books, sites.
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Read more quotes by and about multitalented creators including Jessica Lange, Gordon Parks, Julia Cameron, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Seymour, Natalie Portman, James Franco, Mayim Bialik, Jeff Bridges, Viggo Mortensen, David Lynch and others in article: Multitalented Creative People – another excerpt on this site from my main book:
“Part book about creativity, part compendium of useful tidbits, quotations and research, and part annotated bibliography, this is a wildly useful and highly entertaining resource.”
– Stephanie S. Tolan, writer and consultant on the gifted.
“Packed full of insights and resources for the creative life, this book offers new ways to thrive as a creative person.”
– Cynthia Morris, Creativity Coach
For more reviews etc see the page About the book.
One way to keep exploring and expanding your talents and interests is to take online courses.
Udemy is “the world’s largest marketplace for teaching and learning. More than 32,000 online courses on everything from programming to yoga, marketing to guitar, photography to personal development, and more.”
Another popular site for online courses is CreativeLive – it features 1,500+ classes (free and paid) in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, software training and more.