What do you want to be when you grow up?
On average, most of you were asked this question by the age of five.
Even if you did not know it back then, the entire weight of your family’s anxiety, all of society’s expectations and of course, mommy’s and daddy’s internal need to categorize their kid as soon as possible, laid within that question. That’s because planning your offspring’s educational path, social environment and digital fingerprint is a complex and lengthy procedure. Not withstanding the problematic issue of the LinkedIn profile picture selection.
When I was asked this question, the only thing I knew was that I liked animals. I was around the age of five and animals looked cute in my eyes. That was all it took. So, I answered that I want to become a vet, because I thought my whole life would evolve around stroking fluffy unicorns.
Turns out, that unicorns probably looked more like this:
And then school started, a place where the future geniuses and money-makers were weeded out by a highly intelligent classification system through the establishment of language, math or natural science related branches.
Being both passionate and talented in two of those fields, (or even in all of them?) was not accepted, expected and definitely not promoted.
For a large number of children, becoming an archaeologist, a math-teacher or a nerdy scientist was not an option (too little ancient stuff left to dig out, too many confused pupils sitting infront of you and too many Sheldon Cooper stereotypes). Those who knew their one true calling were separated unconsciously from the rest of the confused and indecisive losers.
No need to mention that my fabulous unicorn-vet-utopia had crumbled long ago.
I, among all the other kids, was already a loser because I had not discovered my one true calling by age 15, which was seemingly a necessity if you wanted to live a successful adult life later on.
Apparently, and I quote a very dear friend here, I was not an outstanding genius in one particular area, but unfortunately, too interested in many different fields. Thanks society for framing young people’s minds.
Interestingly, this was a problem everybody seemed be occupied with, except for me. I, on the contrary, was at peace engaging in various different activities, social environments, academical fields and potential job opportunities.
Then I stumbled upon Emilie Wapnick’s TEDTalk and discovered that I, just like a very large percentage of the population, am not a loser.
I am a multipotentialite.
Maybe you are one too.
Emilie, founder of Puttylike, defines a multipotentialite as someone who does not fit into a single, predetermined by destiny, dream job.
It is time to celebrate being a multipotentialite. Let’s celebrate the ones who are afraid to out themselves, the ones who were not even aware of this term’s existence, and lastly, to the ones who motivate the rest of us.
And PS. Here’s the advice I would give to the five-year-old me:
Become a loving, inspirational person, capable of critical thinking and stepping out of your comfort zone.
(Except if you can be an actual unicorn vet. Then always be a unicorn vet.)