Jonathan once ate lunch with a group of pre-school kids and talk came around to what they wanted to do when they grow up. One child said “A fisherman maybe. I used to want to be a lion or a tiger, but now I’m really not sure”.
The freedom of choice that this child allows himself to have is inspiring! And why would he have to choose at all? Our world is in a terrible state and we need people who think out of the box, who are able to solve the problems we are facing. Who knows, maybe the world is in this shape because “multipotentialites” have not been encouraged in our society.
In the TED-talk (below) Emilie Wapnick celebrates the “multipotentialite” – those of us with many interests, many jobs over a lifetime, and many interlocking potentials.
I have found that when I chose “what I wanted to be when I grew up” it was not my decision at the time. Even if my parents never forced me to pursue a particular path the “system” guided me into my first profession: I became a child nurse, just like my mother and paternal grandmother. It was a path easy to take for a girl in my social environment in the end of the 1970s in Finland. I have often thought about this and later when I studied social constructionism I better understod why I made this decision.
I had many interests and passions as a child and always had many creative projects which were encouraged in my home. The neighbour children in our row house came to our yard to build a “koja” – a word in Swedish describing the shack or hut children build out in the yard – because our parents did not mind and theirs did.
Something I loved to do as a child was to take photos and watch movies. I believe that if I had been able to try different occupations (when we had our weeks of vocational practice (prao) I worked at a nursing home and a nursery) before I choose my first occupational path I would have become a filmmaker.
The good thing is that now as an adult I have found that one does not have to choose – I am free to choose to have many occupations! I can first be a lion, then a tiger, then a child nurse, then an Emmaus worker and a mother of two and a filmmaker and a sociologist and a weaver and an inventor and a social innovator social innovator and a travelmaker and gardener…..
I am maybe a little different than Emelie in that I continue with almost all my projects and interests in one way or another and in different combinations. That is why the list of my multi-interests after the age of 30 has and “and” between them.
I would think that having the experience of being all of these things will, as Emilie says in her TED-talk, be helpful in any job or life situation especially if there is a need for a creative mind – since innovation happens in the intersections.