Being a multipotential person brings with it a number of benefits but also risks in a culture of homogeneity, where there is a belief that one should only identify with a profession once. Having multiple interests therefore generates a number of opportunities but also requires consistency in action if accompanied by the desire to become proficient in new areas. Where does the phenomenon of the multipotential person come from? Is it just the result of more frequent updating of one's preferences, or is it a multipack of talents?
The creator of the concept of multipotentiality is Canadian facilitator and writer Emilie Wapnick, who drew attention to the notion of complex potential in people with multipotential personalities. Her talk at the TED conference has over 50,000 views, and the author draws attention to cultural issues, among others. Well, people tend to ask us, both as children and teenagers, "What do you want to be in the future?" This seemingly innocent question prescribes one answer, in which a choice must be clearly made. It is inappropriate to say that we want to be teachers and musicians, for example. However, hidden in these apparent contradictions is a pattern that shows the multilayered interests of the multipotential person.
The multipotential person is also called the "scanner" personality. This name alludes to the ability to quickly and thoroughly analyze a given field, in which the multipotential person achieves success rapidly but also becomes bored quite quickly. It is worth noting that multipotentiality manifests itself not only in the variety and multiplicity of interests and hobbies but also in the pursuit of multiple professions or taking on numerous new challenges, among others. Psychologists point out that this type of personality is often associated with a high degree of sensitivity, as the intrapersonal capacity for deep reflection and analysis would not be possible without the ability to immerse oneself deeply in the nature of the subject.
Socrates and Plato already pointed out in ancient times that the human mind is dualistic. Subsequent specialists, psychologists, and neuropsychologists, such as Carl Gustav Jung, pointed out that the human psyche is composed of many subpersonalities, giving rise to the concept of "complexity of mind" or "multiplicity of mind." These additional layers can represent different states of identity, potentialities, and distinct personalities, including voices that may echo messages heard during childhood. These claims have contributed to the development of a new theory of personality known as the Internal Family System (IFS), which suggests that humans embody various roles and that their minds accommodate at least several different personalities. This phenomenon is considered perfectly natural. Similar attention has been given to schema therapy, which aims to identify internal messages representing different states of personality that have been present since childhood.
Is it the same with potentials? Psychologists confirm that every human being carries within themselves, among other things, a perfectionist or critic, which influences the roles we take on. In addition, we often feel a certain discomfort within ourselves; part of us, for example, would like to go out jogging in the park, while the other part would prefer to stay at home and read a book. This duality shows that conflicting needs are part of our personality, and potential is one of the realms in which we allow hidden instincts to speak. Some people let these voices out more often, others less often, but fundamentally, we have very similar personality patterns.
Complexes of multipotential people
People with this personality type are often subject to judgments and social biases. It is culturally accepted that a person should have one goal in life -one mission- for which they become an expert in a particular field. While having different interests may still be perceived as within the bounds of normality by society, pursuing multiple professions can be seen as unstable, indecisive, or indicative of a problem with self-definition. This often leads to the development of complexes, where the multipotential person starts to believe that something is wrong with them if they feel bored in one area. Moreover, if these interests diverge significantly -for example, if a person has a learned profession in a humanistic field but is also a yoga instructor and musician outside of work- it can come as a surprise.
The prevailing belief is that one can only be an expert by exploring a single subject throughout their life and treating their profession as a life mission. But what about individuals who are able to organize and consolidate their experience in a particular field over several years, touching on different areas within it while simultaneously gaining knowledge? Shouldn't their commitment and professionalism be recognized? Is it legitimate to deny people the right to possess multiple talents?
Researchers claim that multipotential people achieve significant proficiency in their chosen fields. This is attributed to their analytical minds and high levels of motivation, which drive them to pursue areas of interest with great passion. However, individuals with a multipotential personality often experience the so-called "imposter syndrome." This problem entails viewing oneself as incompetent in comparison to individuals with years of experience. This syndrome can impede professional development if the person constantly compares themselves to others and succumbs to a culture of homogeneity.
Multipotentiality in science
It is worth revisiting the times of the Renaissance, where multipotentiality was exemplified by individuals like Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci, who was an artist, architect, engineer, philosopher, and musician, inspired respect and admiration. He was able to integrate his knowledge into a cohesive whole, as demonstrated by his precise drawing of the "Vitruvian Man," establishing the ideal proportions of the human body with mathematical precision. Without his extensive knowledge, he may not have been able to invent and construct his own inventions, which he designed and brought to life.
Can multipotentiality, therefore, serve as the foundation for a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to science? Definitely yes, provided that each project initiated is brought to completion by individuals with a multipotential personality who fully utilize their knowledge. By treating complex potentials as tools for comprehensive understanding, we can embrace a new approach to appreciating versatility.
It is interesting to note that the development of talents can also be facilitated through the synchronization of the two hemispheres of our brain, which has applications in biofeedback therapy or specialized education for language learning. For instance, mnemonic techniques can be employed to achieve a state of alpha synchronicity, such as meditation, kinesiology, affirmations, visualizations, and mind mapping, all of which enhance information processing skills.
Additionally, it is worth knowing that multipotential personalities find references in alternative sciences. In Chinese medicine, such a personality is associated with the element of wood and is referred to as the "pioneer" -a person who enjoys exploration and creation. This personality type is driven by its own visions and often possesses leadership qualities on the path of innovation. Similarly, the Human Design astrological system recognizes the "Manifesting Generator" personality, characterized by a constant need to create and the ability to generate abundant life energy. They also exhibit ease in attaining mastery in a particular field. Ayurveda also distinguishes the Vata biotype, associated with the element of air, which favors frequent change and instability.
Is having multiple talents and interests considered out of place? Does it evoke ridicule, misunderstanding, or a lack of social confidence? And ultimately, must multipotentiality be perceived as a burden rather than a gift deserving of respect? Perhaps recognizing the complexity of our own personalities will bring us closer to understanding the magic of multipotentiality.