Focus is not always a good strategy
Sometimes pieces suddenly start falling into place and you notice a pattern. Such was the case with multi-passionate creators.
The initial inspiration to write about this topic came from a chat with Anna Grigoryan in The Communities Show community (yeah, meta, I know). If you're following Bit Better for a while, you probably remember I've recommended Anna before. She is referred to as a person with one million hobbies and she still manages to find new ones on a weekly basis.
Later, I started noticing a few people "coming out" about being multi-passionate polymaths. This tweet by Basak resonated with me, and so did this LinkedIn post by Yesi Danderfer. There are more people like me, it seems.
And most recently, I was talking with a friend about plans and accountability. She wants to run a YouTube channel and admitted she is scared to tell people about it. She thought people would judge her for not being focused enough on her career. The channel was to explore her creative side and she worried this looked unprofessional.
For a long time, people were generalists and had to use varied skills daily. However, the industrial revolution brought the need for specialization. The industry needed experts to operate complex equipment.
We still need experts and specialists today. But it doesn't mean everyone should become an expert. On the contrary, there is a growing need for people with more diverse backgrounds that can do creative work. For those who can combine their different passions and apply them to their work.
We’re naturally curious
Now, take a look from another perspective.
Children are naturally multi-passionate. It's OK for a child to be interested in dinosaurs, astronomy, drawing, singing, and climbing. However, when they grow up, they are forced to choose only one passion and leave everything else behind.
Sorry, you can't be interested in dinosaurs and astronomy at the same time. We don't have any degress that combine the two.
Isn't it odd that we allow people to pursue different interests only to make them choose a single one later on?
But guess what, even the society standards weren't able to prevent us from being curious. There are still people who want to be engineers and artists at the same time. Only, as in my friend's case, they are often shy about it.
Being a specialist was a sure way to get a good-paying job for a long time. It still is, in some cases. But, more and more, I notice that being able to combine diverse skills is getting more recognition nowadays. And not only that, the growing creator economy allows us to build additional sources of income by monetizing our passions.
Keep one thing in mind: don't try to monetize all your passions. We need some hobbies to remain hobbies!
“The Polymath: Unlocking the Power of Human Versatility” by Waqas Ahmed
“Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein
Yesi Danderfer, who posts about art, joyful design, being a polymath, and entrepreneurs
Basak, who tweets on mindful parenting, creativity, entrepreneurship
📚Book Club Updates
We’re currently reading “Creativity Inc.” by Ed Catmull of Pixar and Lucasfilm fame. Half an hour of listening a day (or around 24 pages) should get you through it.
Its topic is managing creativity. Is it possible to create an environment where creativity flourishes instead of being stifled and deemed "too risky"? That’s what we’ll find out.
Want to help us choose the next book? Join the Bit Better Community and cast your vote.