“A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits
.

I worried that there was something wrong with this, and something wrong with me for being unable to stick with anything. I worried that I was afraid of commitment, or that I was scattered, or that I was self-sabotaging, afraid of my own success.

The notion of the narrowly focused life is highly romanticized in our culture. It’s this idea of destiny or the one true calling, the idea that we each have one great thing we are meant to do during our time on this earth, and you need to figure out what that thing is and devote your life to it.

But what if you’re someone who isn’t wired this way? What if there are a lot of different subjects that you’re curious about, and many different things you want to do? Well, there is no room for someone like you in this framework. And so you might feel alone. You might feel like you don’t have a purpose. And you might feel like there’s something wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you. What you are is a multipotentialite.”

It’s easy to see your multipotentiality as a limitation or an affliction that you need to overcome. But what I’ve learned through speaking with people and writing about these ideas on my website, is that there are some tremendous strengths to being this way.

One: idea synthesis. That is, combining two or more fields and creating something new at the intersection. (…) Innovation happens at the intersections. That’s where the new ideas come from. And multipotentialites, with all of their backgrounds, are able to access a lot of these points of intersection.

The second multipotentialite superpower is rapid learning. When multipotentialites become interested in something, we go hard. We observe everything we can get our hands on. We’re also used to being beginners, because we’ve been beginners so many times in the past, and this means that we’re less afraid of trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zones. What’s more, many skills are transferable across disciplines, and we bring everything we’ve learned to every new area we pursue, so we’re rarely starting from scratch.

The third multipotentialite superpower is adaptability; that is, the ability to morph into whatever you need to be in a given situation. Abe Cajudo is sometimes a video director, sometimes a web designer,sometimes a Kickstarter consultant, sometimes a teacher, and sometimes, apparently, James Bond.

Idea synthesis, rapid learning and adaptability: three skills that multipotentialites are very adept at, and three skills that they might lose if pressured to narrow their focus. As a society, we have a vested interest in encouraging multipotentialites to be themselves. We have a lot of complex, multidimensional problems in the world right now, and we need creative, out-of-the-box thinkers to tackle them.

In fact, some of the best teams are comprised of a specialist and multipotentialite paired together. The specialist can dive in deep and implement ideas, while the multipotentialite brings a breadth of knowledge to the project. It’s a beautiful partnership. But we should all be designing lives and careersthat are aligned with how we’re wired. And sadly, multipotentialites are largely being encouraged simply to be more like their specialist peers.

(…) If you’re a specialist at heart, then by all means, specialize. That is where you’ll do your best work.

But to the multipotentialites in the room, including those of you who may have just realized in the last 12 minutes that you are one — to you I say: embrace your many passions. Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life. And perhaps more importantly — multipotentialites, the world needs us.”

 

Links

China’s pollution problem, everyone’s problem: Peggy Liu at TED2014

TED Blog

TED2014_DD_DSC_3362_1920 Peggy Liu. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

“I am so happy to be here, because I can actually breathe the air,” says Peggy Liu, who lives in China, as she steps on the TED2014 stage. Her typical day begins not with checking the time, but by checking the air pollution levels on her phone to determine whether her children will need to wear face masks that day. In Brussels, Belgium, if the air quality index reaches 50, she says, traffic is stopped for the day. But in Shanghai, China, she says, it routinely goes to 500—the end of the scale—and beyond. 

“Pollution crosses borders. China’s problem is everyone’s problem,” says Liu. “What this means for all of us is that the decisions China makes in the next several years are going to affect the world for the next several thousand.”

China is urbanizing at an incredible pace. In 20 years, an estimated 350…

View original post 691 more words

Standard

“I was sitting in a slum outside Gurgaon just next to Delhi, one of the flashiest, brightest new cities popping up in India right now, and I was talking to workers who worked in garment sweatshops down the road, and I asked them what message they would like me to take to the brands. They didn’t say money. They said, “The people who employ us treat us like we are less than human, like we don’t exist. Please ask them to treat us like human beings.” That’s my simple understanding of human rights. That’s my simple proposition to you, my simple plea to every decision-maker in this room, everybody out there. We can all make a decision to come together and pick up the balls and run with the balls that governments have dropped. If we don’t do it, we’re abandoning hope, we’re abandoning our essential humanity, and I know that’s not a place we want to be, and we don’t have to be there. So I appeal to you. Join us, come into that safe space, and let’s start to make this happen.”

– Auret van Heerden


“Over 85 percent of abusers are men, and domestic abuse happens only in intimate, interdependent, long-term relationships, in other words, in families, the last place we would want or expect to find violence, which is one reason domestic abuse is so confusing.”

I was able to end my own crazy love story by breaking the silence. I’m still breaking the silence today. It’s my way of helping other victims, and it’s my final request of you. Talk about what you heard here. Abuse thrives only in silence. You have the power to end domestic violence simply by shining a spotlight on it. We victims need everyone. We need every one of you to understand the secrets of domestic violence. Show abuse the light of day by talking about it with your children, your coworkers, your friends and family. Recast survivors as wonderful, lovable people with full futures. Recognize the early signs of violence and conscientiously intervene, deescalate it, show victims a safe way out. Together we can make our beds, our dinner tables and our families the safe and peaceful oases they should be.

– Leslie Morgan Steiner

Successful innovation is not a single breakthrough. It is not a sprint. It is not an event for the solo runner. Successful innovation is a team sport, it’s a relay race. It requires one team for the breakthrough and another team to get the breakthrough accepted and adopted. And this takes the long-term steady courage of the day-in day-out struggle to educate, to persuade and to win acceptance. And that is the light that I want to shine on health and medicine today.”

– Quyen Nguyen