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2023 - Gaining Focus and Bringing Ideas to Life

2023 - Gaining Focus and Bringing Ideas to Life

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Multipotentialite vs Hobby Butterfly

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A couple of times while writing this project, I have almost written “hobby butterfly” rather than multipotentialite. I was doing this because “multipotentialite” seems like a bit of a poncey term for a hobby blog. But I stopped myself because it is genuinely a different thing, and I wouldn’t want to lose the ability to help someone who may have struggled with the same things I have, just because I don’t want to come across as a jumped up twat!

So I feel compelled to explain.

“Multipotentialite” is just the most well known name for a personality trait that has a bit in common with ADHD. There is definitely a Venn diagram there. I am not an expert on ADHD so I won’t even attempt to go there, but multipotentialite traits are:

– Throwing yourself into something new, with a fierce drive to learn everything there is to know about it and “master” it
– Once you have mastered it intellectually (not necessarily physically) you are instantly turned off and seek another challenge
– You are seen by others as “fickle” or having “commitment issues”
– You change jobs often
– You have many, seemingly disparate, interests
– If you do find interests that ‘stick’ with you, then you tend to cycle between these interests periodically.

Whereas I think of “hobby butterfly” as more like “shiny object syndrome” i.e. being easily distracted by the new cool thing. I do have some of this as well, but it is fundamentally different. Shiny syndrome can fuel the multipotentialite traits for sure, but it’s not the same. Shiny syndrome can absolutely lead to lower productivity and lack of finishing things, but multipotentialite traits have a real danger of leading me to drop the hobby altogether, so in some ways the opposite. I have learned that I have to allow myself a bit of shiny syndrome, act on my own creativity (because that is not possible to intellectually master), and keep creating these “samplers” of the things I am most interested in, to keep me engaged with the hobby.

Same at work, I had to find a job with a continuing (daily!) refresh of intellectual challenge, because when I didn’t have that I had to change jobs regularly and ended up really quite depressed about my lack of direction. For 2-3 years I went to a dark place that I never want to go to again. Once I had learned about my natural personality traits that were causing this, the first step was to work for a large company where I could move around without changing employer. Then, thankfully, i found a job that provided enough challlenge to keep me (8 years and counting!) because it is impossible to master. I try of course, because that’s what drives me, but I’m unlikely to do it, and perversely that is precisely what keeps me sane. Hence why I say I’ve “trapped” myself in a good place.

The reason to write all this? Aside from explaining my use of a flouncy word? Because if any of the above resonates with anyone reading this, and you struggle with it, then PLEASE check out those books I mentioned in a previous post. They literally saved me 8 years ago to the extent I am not sure I’d even be here without them. Whether ‘here’ means alive or just here on OTT (I’ve been here 8 years too!) I’m not sure and can never know. Sounds dramatic, but I think it’s true.

Anyway, sorry for the diversion, back to hobby!

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