Multipotentialite? What did you just call me?!

silhouette of person raising its hand

Written by Katie


Multi-passionate. A scanner. A Renaissance Person. A generalist. A multipotentialite.

Take your pick – so many terms to define people with a multiplicity of curiosities and interests.

The most common term currently seems to be multipotentialite. So that’s what we’re going with today.

First off, can I just give credit where it’s due? While the concept has been around for ages, Emilie Wapnick is responsible for making the word “multipotentialite” a thing. And in case you’re wondering, yes, she is a quintessential multipotentialite. And yes, the more I say it, the harder it is to say right!

You can watch her TED talk here.

Anyway, back to the concept of being a multipotentialite.

The fields of education and psychology most commonly use this term in its purest form. It describes people who have (usually off the charts) abilities and prefer to excel in multiple areas. It usually refers to intellectuals and people with strong artistic leanings.

I like to think of multipotentialites more as every day people.

People who are just too awesome to be confined to a single sphere of life. Those people who are fascinated by all sorts of different things and, if they’re fortunate, get to explore their various interests.

Basically the total opposite of a specialist or someone who has a true calling or singular passion.

You know that kid at school who seems to defy the odds and enjoys both the science stuff as well as the artsy stuff?

Or that person in the office who seems to move from department to department seamlessly collecting praise and promotions?

Or that person who has a degree in rocket science, is showing their work at that trendy art gallery downtown next week and hosts wine tastings at their winery on weekends? (I don’t know anyone like that but they sound like goals and I really want to be friends with them!)

Those people who have experienced several different lives in the space of one lifetime, whether it’s moving through different roles, across different countries or having different careers?

All those people are most likely multipotentialites. They’re also variously known as polymaths, scanners, generalists, multi-passionate or reconnaissance people.

If you’re reading this and jumping up and down in excitement, you can relate – they are you, or you are them or you know them.

You get it.

So do I.

I am them too.

But in case you want to know for sure, for sure (well as much as you can ever know something like that with any degree of unscientific certainty), check out this fun quiz!

And if you feel like that’s you, and you’re feeling like you’re not quite sure what to do with this newfound knowledge in terms of applying it to your life, give me a shout here and let’s chat about it!

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