Of Polymaths

Polymaths, multipotentialites and other strange species.

polymath multipotentialite renaissance man

For years I have known that I am not wired in the way expected of us in today’s society. I find it hard to stick to one single thing and specialize on it for life. I have too many different interests, some recurring, other just temporary passions.

Luckily there is a term, or actually a few, for this. I’m a polymath or, if you prefer, multipotentialite, scanner, slasher, multipod… funny enough there is no consensus as to what it should be called.

Polymath? Multipotentiawhat?! Multi-Potential-Ite. A person skilled in many different areas. The term “renaissance man” is a more familiar expression, but when you say that people think you’re overly ego-tripped and want to be Leonardo da Vinci. Well, who wouldn’t want to be?! 😉 Tired of that same old example being repeated over and over? Then have a look at Hildegard of Bingen – a female polymath of similar caliber in her time. But beware; healing crystals, herbal medicine and monophonic chant have become slightly outdated with the years.

Most people actually don’t want to be this complex. They prefer having one thing that they’re good at and maybe a hobby or two in their spare time. Whilst some of us feel like we don’t have a choice. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
A polymath
In modern society it is easy to get stuck in the feeling that there’s something wrong with you when you are like this. You are told from a very young age that you should stick to one single career and thrive over 40 years or more on that one subject or at least within the same area. This is actually quite funny considering how much the world has changed in the last decades, how many job types have simply disappeared and how many new ones have shown up in the last few years only. But still we are fed this story of the single education and the safe career.

I for sure have had my share of feeling lost due to switching jobs several times and taking course after course of university studies within very different fields. You may get behind your peers in terms of monetary compensation since you don’t stay long enough in one position to reach higher salary levels.

There is also the negative connotation of “Jack of all trades (master of none)” to this. But if you’re a true polymath you do work up a high profficiency in a few fields over time and it also makes it easier for you to learn new things.

You build up quite another kind of experience and also a holistic view of the world which definitely can be an advantage when working on solver bigger problems. You have the ability to take secondary effects of what you’re working on into consideration since you are constantly seeing what’s outside of the box.

Yes, it makes most processes more complex, but in many cases you will help avoid future problems since you could already predict things coming. You already saw the risks and potential of a pursuit and this is something that many businesses would earn millions from, if they took the time to stop and listen to somebody criticizing their single-minded ideas.

On the other hand, some of us have a hard time controlling the impulses of wanting to try out new things, which leads to a lack of longer perspective. To make the multipotentiality work to your advantage, this is something you need to learn how to control.

Society today is very much based on fast results. Wanting fast results to generate fast money puts people in a box because it’s easier to classify your tasks, measure the results and distribute work that way.

We need to get away from the fast money way of thinking, because it’s not working anymore. Or, let me modify that; unfortunately it still works too well – but we’re starting to see severe consequences of it. And many things would work far better if larger and more complex perspectives were taken into consideration.

The world needs polymaths to be able to solve bigger problems. The world needs people who are the connectors between different specializations and make them come together to solve problems in better ways. The world constantly changes, therefore being flexible and able to change with it is an advantage.

Curious to learn some more? Then have a look at this TEDx talk by Emilie Wapnick, the founder of Puttylike.com – a fun and inspiring talk on the subject.

Latest posts by Veronica (see all)
About Veronica (166 Articles)
Veronica is the founder of Hyperbrain.me. With one foot in the past and one in the future she takes inspiration from older aesthetics and ideas to apply them in updated form today. She is passionate about teaching timeless skills and believes that the world needs more polymaths.

2 Comments on Of Polymaths

  1. I was reading through your website and found your story fascinating. I have my own website called multipotentialites.com where I invite multipotentialites to share their life story along with a pic so the world knows about your life and get some inspiration.

    There are several million people who are still working as specialists when they are actually multipods. As a result, most of them get frustrated without knowing about the multipotentialite calling of your soul. My observation is your story can inspire several people out there.

    You can provide me new story or an existing one and my work will be to publish it and spread it through my website. There could be nothing better when you share your story and inspire beings to embrace multipotentiality. I will wait for your reply.

    In no way, I will share your personal details like address, contact so you can trust us.

    Please feel free to visit my website and e-mail me at onkar@multipotentialites.com OR multipotentialites@gmail.com

    Multipotentialite Pal


    • Hi Onkarjot.

      Thanks for contacting me. Your site looks great and it’s nice to see some inspiring people already being presented there. I’ll get back to you in an email in a few minutes.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Of Polymaths – Diy Crafts

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.