As I child I wanted to learn everything. Any new interest could be triggered by an amazing book, movie, friend, you name it. If someone brought something new to my attention I would eagerly jump in, ask for more information and beg my parents for new lessons.
Through assorted messages from a variety of different people, I soon learned having multiple interests, or being multipassionate, was something not to be rewarded. I got the following reactions when I expressed interest in learning the flute: “You will get bored. You won’t follow through.” I’m sure this is part of why I battle feelings of shame when it comes to my multiple interests.
When I start a new project or idea, it doesn’t matter that I’m an adult, I still hear those voices in my head. And yet, I have found so many people like me. It took a friend receiving an ignorant comment from someone to make me get on my soapbox. Again. (You lucky people. 🙂 ) Today, I’m dispelling the common fallacies that promote negative conceptions about multi-passionate people.
Multi-passionates have ZERO follow through.
Didn’t you know? Us multipassionate types are giant flakes. We are too busy trying out the newest fad (I mean, who wouldn’t want to try archery after reading about Kat rocking the bow and arrow?) to actually finish any project we start. That makes us, obviously, untrustworthy.
Didn’t you know? Us multi-passionate types are giant flakes! (Tweet Me.)
Well. Where shall we begin? First off, I’m taking this one personally. The LAST thing anyone would say about me is that I have a lack of follow through. I did have a question in my interview for assistant principal about how I would navigate my love of art with the increased responsibilities of my role. They knew and appreciated the fact I had an interest outside of being an assistant principal. Perhaps I’m a unique scenario.
But let’s not take my word for it. Let’s take a few examples of people with HUGE levels of established respect and trust historically who easily dispel these fallacies. Check out my two examples of multipassionates below who readily dispel both fallacies I’m speaking of today.
Leonardo da Vinci
I guess having a sketchbook full of inventions including something like a helicopter, being a scientist, and making some of the most renowned art in the world happens with someone who doesn’t have follow through. I mean, he didn’t act on every single idea he had in those sketchbooks we read. How could he?! Clearly, this impacted his level of success. I wonder how much shame he felt for having such a large curiosity for the world? I mean, who would want to be the inspiration for the phrase “Renaissance Man?”
Read more about Leonardo on Biography.com here.
Or, it could be worse, you could have patents for over 1000 inventions. I mean, how could you possibly create each invention if you have 1000 of them?! That is a whole LOT of no follow through if you ask me. Why wouldn’t you just choose one topic to learn? Thomas Edison seemed to be ravenous for information, learning about anything and everything, taking all opportunities that came his way. Who wants to be associated with the word “experimenting,” anyways!?
Read more about Thomas Edison on Biography.com here.
“The people I highlight today are perfect examples of the amazing things that can happen with a multipassionate, growth mindset.” (Tweet me!)
The people in history I highlight today are perfect examples of the amazing things that can happen with a multipassionate, growth mindset. Those who embrace life as a place of constant learning and exploration are the people who lead lives we admire. The people who persevere and overcome obstacles, like Edison’s partial deafness, and still grow and learn and succeed are especially amazing. Both of these men today are placed on a pedestal, and I can already hear the naysayers, that no one today can achieve as much. But if you take the time to read the biographies of these men, you’ll realize today we mostly celebrate their successes, and gloss over the many trials and errors that come with risk taking and exploration.
Other multipassionates in history: Alexander Borodin, Benjamin Franklin, Gottfried Leibniz, Ibn Rushd, Catherine di Medici, Saint Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc, etc.
“Multipassionate people from history include Gottfried Leibniz, Ibn Rushd, Catherine di Medici, & Saint Catherine of Siena” (Tweet me!)
Next week you’ll hear about the second fallacy associated with multipassionates, and what my friend was told that has me so wound up!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you know of a multipassionate person doing great things? Talk about them below. Let’s make a list of amazing people (historical and still living) that embody the success and fulfillment that can come from being multipassionate.
Thanks for putting that out there Carrie! I am not a flake- maybe a snowflake-very individual and unique! Pish Posh on those with no creativity who balk at the likes of us! teehee
Jackie thank you I love that notion of a snowflake! Perfect description for us creatives 🙂 Best wishes to you and thank you for reading!
Fabulous piece. Love the term “multipassionate.” Yes, I agree that we are the truly gifted ones. No shaming on that is acceptable. I think it all stems from our curiosity–the more we have, the more interests we’ll have. (Just did a major piece on curiosity enhancing curiosity–did you see it?–so I’m wound up on that!) Looking forward to part 2 of this.
Hi Jann! Thanks for reading 🙂 I agree, curiosity is often at the heart of my multiple interests. I just found your article on questions for creativity and I love your statement that an idea is never wasted. Too true!!! So happy to connect with another curious creative. 🙂
I really enjoyed reading this and am delighted to have stumbled in here today. Thanks
Thanks Lynna for finding and reading Artist Think. 🙂
Being Diagnosed with ADHD at 42 answered many of the questions related to a “habitual” lack of focus. In art school it was difficult to decide which major I wanted to focus on, I wanted to major in ALL of them! And hobbies? Don’t get me started on hobbies!
I was extremely fortunate to land a job as an exhibit designer out of school. The projects changed weekly and the creative environment was fantastic. I got SO good, I was promoted to Director of Design – prestige baby! It became apparent after a few years that “managerial” tasks didn’t suit me (gulp!) and the paperwork, endless meetings and confrontational sales people turned my life at work, into a nightmare. I tried freelancing in many design related fields, but then decided fine art painting and illustration was what I REALLY wanted to do (I was a US Army illustrator for 9 years!). Then kids came along. Wife had a great career, so I stayed home. Ouch. Still doing this job, which is the hardest job you’ll ever LOVE! I was asked to become a Combat Artist for the USAF, travelled the world, to include a tour in Afghanistan, and still was a stay at home Dad in between deployments!
Long and short of this maylay is, follow through should not be determined by anyone but yourself. You eventually get to where you were meant to be!
My website outlines my bizarre journeys better than I can here.
Hi Anthony, Sounds like you do have quite a story! What kind of artwork do you/did you get to create as an illustrator for the US Army? I tried to connect to your website but alas the link does not send me anywhere. I would love to see some of your work.
I love most your comment: “follow through should not be determined by anyone but yourself.” In the end, it’s ourselves we must hold accountable for any goals or creative interests we have.
Thanks for sharing and welcome to Artist Think. 🙂
Good stuff, Carrie. We multipassionates are the luckiest people on earth, because we don’t believe in limiting beliefs. Our passion is LIFE. Comfort zones be damned!
Thank you for reading Lee! Best wishes to you. 🙂