Puttylike be like.. what?
So I had some 10 minutes for my “me” time and I’d rather hop on Tiktok than on other social media platforms. It’s a typical Tuesday night, I was out on the bench, havin’ my me time, then this Tiktok video called out to me. He says “Are you a multipotentialite?”. What the heck and so I kept on watching and there.. they now have a label for what I am. Boom!
A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits.
It stems from the word multipotentiality–a psychological and educational term used to describe people who display aptitudes across multiple disciplines.
The term was popularized by Emilie Wapnick on Puttylike and in her 2015 TED talk, Why Some of Us Don’t have One True Calling:
In 2011, a member of the Puttylike community suggested that multipotentialite could be shortened to multipod. We’ve been using the two interchangeably ever since!
Although multipotentialite is a modern term, the idea of someone with many passions is not new. Any student of history often hears mention of polymaths or Renaissance people. Multipotentialites have, indeed, existed as long as human societies.
While the strengths of multipotentialites are not always appreciated in post-industrial capitalist societies, there have been times throughout history when being well-versed in multiple disciplines was considered the ideal. And, of course, multipotentiality is highly valued in certain spaces, contexts and cultures today.
Synonyms and related terms:
Renaissance Man / Renaissance Person
Scanner (coined by Barbara Sher)
Feel free to use whichever term(s) resonates most for you. Side note: we feel it’s kind of appropriate that, as a community, we cannot seem to agree on a single identity…
Multipotentialites have been movers, shakers, and out-of-the-box thinkers since the dawn of time. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these people?
Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Jackie O, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Hedy Lamarr, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Beatrice Webb, Beatrix Potter, Leonardo Da Vinci, Julia Child, Geena Davis, Cleopatra, Aristotle, Elizabeth I, Dorothy Dunnett, Hildegard of Bingen, Hypatia, René Descartes, Trotula of Salerno, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Anna Maria van Schurman, Galileo Galilei, Queen Christina of Sweden, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Isaac Newton, Olympe de Gouges, Dr. Mae Jemison
So are you one?