There’s a famous story about Warren Buffet. For our younger readers, Warren Buffet is a billionaire. As I remember the story, he asked his pilot to name 20 things he wants to do. The pilot named 20 things, and Warren told him to forget about numbers 2 – 20, because they were preventing him from doing number 1. Or something like that.
The point is, if you have a goal and it’s your only focus, that’s better than trying to do 20 things. But it’s not good advice for a “multipotential.” What’s a multipotential person? Some call them Jack of All Trades, which is supposedly an insult. Jack of All Trades, Master of None.
People who are pretty good at a lot of things, but not brilliant at any one thing. But people like this often find themselves in tech, nowadays, because the tech world (at the lower and middle class levels) has great need for someone who can make a website, do decent graphics in Photoshop, and program Excel spreadsheets. A small company can’t afford to hire three people to do those three things. So Jack of All Trades in the world of Tech means you’ll have a job. The Masters can do one thing only, and they get paid more money to do that one thing. Until it becomes obsolete, and then they have to learn another thing. The Masters tend to be brilliant.
If I’ve already lost you, this post isn’t for you. That’s OK. If you’re still reading, you are interested in multipotentiality. When I studied gifted education, we learned that some students were basically good at almost everything they’re interested in, and that creates a problem for them. If they spend time doing one thing, they feel like they’re missing out on others. That’s multipotentiality. And it’s also me.
My day job is to be the main web guy for a big K-12 school district. That means I am a web designer/developer, but I also write training materials, come up with policy, manage a bunch of servers, program, make graphics, make videos, and a bunch of other stuff. I also work part time for the University of South Florida doing web stuff, and I do web stuff for businesses sometimes. But I also write and record music, and have four albums on iTunes. And I like to work on guitars. And I write for and run this website. I used to also write software, but I stopped doing that when I started doing the web stuff at home. Now I have the itch to write software again. Oh, and I have a wife, two kids, and a dog named Izzy.
Sounds crazy. I have too much going on. But it’s just how I like it. I’ve been working on a fret level/crown on my PRS S2 for over a week. I do a little each night. I don’t mind that it’s taking so long – I find it relaxing, but I don’t want it to feel like an obligation. What I’ve done is design a lifestyle that keeps my mind busy almost all of the time.
If you’re reading this and saying “This sounds like me,” good. That was the point. You’re not weird. You’re a “Multipotential.” You can embrace your Jack of All Trades wiring, if you want to. Or you can focus on one thing and get a career going, and then later bring out the Jack. It’s OK. It’s your life. You can design a life that is successful, or you can design a life that is fun and fulfilling. If you’re lucky and good, you can design a life that is all of that. But understand that the choice is yours. I know rich people. They’re not necessarily happier than anyone else. They have more stuff, but they have problems too.
On the other hand, poor people aren’t necessarily happier, either.
For young people, the best advice I can give is find something you like to do that society is happy to pay for. Maybe don’t get hung up if you can’t be a rock star or play in the NFL.
Anyway, google “multipotentiality” and you’ll find places that cater to such people. Fun!
Life is choice. I haven’t always lived a complicated life. And sometimes I’ll scale up or down, based on what I feel like doing. Once you’ve got the job/career thing accomplished, you have the ability to decide on everything else. Sometimes your hobby ends up turning into your job. That can be cool. Above all else, be true to yourself. Don’t do something you hate for money. It’s OK to do something you kinda like, but if you have a chance to upgrade to doing something you really like, that’s usually a good move.
It’s all up to you, Jack.