The Power of And: Why Choosing One Thing Isn’t Necessary

I know I’ve been rapid-fire posting lately, but I’ve been thinking about a lot of topics that I simply must write about. Also, I’d like to think I’m making up for a very quiet January. But either way, another thing came to mind that I thought would be a helpful point to ponder for you all.

Since you’re a freelancer, or you want to be, (at least I’m assuming that’s why you read my posts 🙂 ), you’re probably inclined to be interested in a lot of different things. If you love writing and only writing, well then good on ya, that’s great, too. But most people I know who are creative are creative in many different ways. They have many different interests. I’m one of them, for sure.

I love to do MANY things!

I love to write. But I also love to make jewelry and needlepoint and cross stitch and make wreaths and study law and real estate interests me and I also love planning events and want to be a wedding planner.

In this day and age, people will tell me (and frequently do) that I’m scattered, unfocused, disorganized, I don’t know what I want to do in life, and (this is my favorite) that I haven’t found myself yet.

I’m pretty sure I know right where I am, but I digress.

If you’re on board with me so far, then you can probably relate to the next point.

I have spent so much time stressing out about which to choose, which one to pursue, and which to give up. 

If you’re the same way, I want to let you in on a secret that just dawned on me recently. You can do it all. Shocker, right?

Now you might be confused, because our society likes to tell us that we have to pick one thing and do it really well. As though people can’t do many things really well. But if you look back just a couple hundred years into history, you’ll notice that some of the great minds were quite proficient in a wide variety of interests.

Thomas Edison was an inventor and a businessman who invented everything from the light bulb (obviously) to an x-ray machine that took radiographs to cinematographic inventions.

Benjamin Franklin was obviously a great politician, but he was also an inventor, a meteorologist, an oceanographer, an author, studied concepts of cooling, electricity, did population studies and, of course, did some work with traction kiting.

And can we talk about Leonardo da Vinci? Sure he was a fabulous artist, but he was also a musician, sculptor, architect, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geographer, cartographer, geologist, botanist, and writer. He is the quintessential “Renaissance Man” – in Greek, a polymath.

I know polymath looks like it would mean “many maths” and that freaks out some people who passed algebra and never looked back – but a polymath is simply somebody who is really good at a whole lot of things. And sadly, it’s dead in this society.

Why? Why does nobody talk about how in the past people were proficient in many things.

Can you imagine the look on someone’s face if you went up to them today and said “I’m a writer, an oceanographer, a marine biologist, a musician, a painter, and a jewelry designer”?

My point is this. We as a society have gotten rather…erm…lackadaisical in our pursuit of knowledge. But it’s not because we’re stupid, it’s because a) we have way too many distractions, and b) we’re not encouraged to pursue multiple interests.

I was considering a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in my undergrad education and a few people told me, while laughing, that IS was the degree for people who couldn’t make up their mind and didn’t excel at anything.

Bull…hooey. *ahem*

I think that’s crap. Total crap. So, since we’ve already broken the mold by quitting our day jobs (or never having one…or daring to even think about quitting one…), why not break the mold further and just make a new one. Because I, for one, hate molds. At least when I’m in them. Too confining. It’s like shoes. I hate shoes. I walk around barefoot whenever possible. And yes, that’s a quirk, but it’s my quirk and I own it.

My point is – be you! Until I started studying figures from the past – from thousands of years ago to just a couple hundred years ago – I didn’t realize how crazy smart all these people were. How many interests they had. It was praised back then, though – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it now.

I’m interested in at least 248,203 different things, and I intend to pursue as many of them as I can professionally manage. Because I think we are all entitled to do that.

So the next time you find yourself trying to decide which career to pursue, or which thing to study, stop yourself and do it all. Because you can. And the only people who will hate on you for it are just pissed because you’re going to be a lot smarter than them and make them look foolish. *shrug*

Hopefully this has turned on a light bulb for someone like it did for me. Sound off in the comments, and let us all know if you have a story about your multipassionate self (or someone you know) excelling in many things! 🙂

Until next time – happy writing, and painting, and calculating, and engineering, and….whatever else it is you do. 🙂

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