Do You Have More Than One True Calling?

Emilie Wapnick gave a great TED talk about true calling. Her predicament is that she has no one true calling – she has many. This has caused her anxiety because she says that society expects us to have one true calling.

If you have one true calling – one great thing you want to do, love to do and are willing to devote your life to that is great. It is people like you who become the experts of the world.

For many of us though there is a desire to “specialize” in more than one thing. Wapnick calls these people multipotentialites. (Yes, she made up the word). Society has called them dilettantes or polymaths. People who are interested in more than one discipline and want to master more than one.

In her TED talk Wapnick describes various advantages to being this way. Maybe you cannot become “the” expert in multiple areas, but you can become very accomplished in many areas.

The modern world favors specialists. Generalists are a dying breed. Knowledge is becoming so vast and so complex it is increasingly impossible not to specialize.

Or is it? Wapnick suggests you can be more than one kind of specialist. Another aspect of the modern world is serial careers. People are no longer locked into one career for a lifetime as was typical in the 20th century. People move from one career to another. It can be a more enriching life.

As with most things this is not a new idea. During the renaissance intellectuals and most nobility were multipotentialites. They dabbled in many things and often specialized in a number of things. It was easier 400 years ago to do this because knowledge was smaller and one could master more than one discipline much more easily. But it can still be done.

It is an intriguing concept and one that many should explore if they are not necessarily content being just one thing. I invite you to watch Wapnick’s video below and then comment below – tell us what you think. Are you a specialist or do you want to be more than one kind of specialist?


Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.