We're all swept along at a pace-of-life that most of us can't choose. The pace of life in 2021 is nothing like previous decades. Only ten years ago, if you suggested new career options like "Influencers" would emerge, most people would have laughed at the suggestion. Who knew that you could be a vlogger or a social media manager and get paid for it?
If you think about life at the dawn of the 21st century, a mere 20-years ago, it was very different and certainly a slower pace, with fewer interruptions. Here's an aspect of life that is vastly different from the pathways available for people 30-years of age and older. For pretty much all of the 20th century, young people were encouraged to choose a career path before graduating high school. There is still hope for all of the people like me who never thought of a defined action plan.
This might sound optimistic, but if we leap back in time, opportunities weren’t as endless as they are today. With the digital age rising and paving its way, new paths are being written and old ones are being replaced. The paths that were defined for older generations are no longer valid. Here lies a generation that is much more privileged with its options - people born since 2000 have an incredible array of options that didn't exist in the 20th-century.
The future might be unpredictable - but that doesn’t mean we have to leave all of our skills and narrow it down to one. Multipotentiality is an educational and psychological term referring to the ability and preference of a person, particularly one of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity, to excel in two or more different fields. It can also refer to an individual whose interests span multiple fields or areas, rather than being strong in just one. Such traits are called multipotentialities, while "multipotentialites" has been suggested as a name for those with this trait. By contrast, those whose interests lie mostly within a single field are referred to as "specialists." And there are many specialist careers that are essential to modern life.
Multipotentialites have the opportunity to combine all of their interests in a way that fends for them. Multipotentialites can embrace their diversity of skills rather than being forced to pick one. Budding entrepreneurs and creators can now use their imagination to combine their interests and skills.
What do you want to be when you grow up? This cliched, 20th-century question is so long past it's use-by-date, and yet it's still posed to young people. Following interests is so easy but often it leads to boredom and a desire for fresh challenges and research. A common cycle is to feel excited by a new challenge, dive all-in, start to feel less interested and soon feel downright bored. The cycle can lead to feelings of anxiety and thoughts of being a failure.
There's no reason you can't be many things. You don't HAVE to choose ONE career.Kids are trained from a very early age that they have to choose a career. That they have to specialize in a particular field.
You get to year 10 and have to choose specific electives and then focus on those subjects through to graduating high school. The simple fact of being made to choose is in itself a creator of anxiety.And there's no need to put yourself through that agony.
There is no better time for exploring than when we are young. Instead of being asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?", why not ask, "What experiments will you run to help decide how you'll make an impact?". It's true that a multi-faceted human makes for a far more interesting person who has real depth and a broad range of interests.
The way to ensure you haven't and aren't wasting your time pursuing a range of interests is to ensure that you can add new skills to your repertoire, your armamentarium. A great place to start is to think about the Life-Skills Framework - 9 essential skills for the 21st-century.