“Do you have too many tabs open?” proved to be a rhetorical question during this week’s chat on Twitter. For many the answer was “yes” and defining multipotentiality was much easier than living with it. Many definitions were offered – from having the potential to pursue many different passions and succeed to “the risk of becoming a pretty good generalist at the risk of specialization” (Amy Harrington). To another participant (Denise @ddigiova) multipotentiality meant, “Never [being] bored. Always learning. Always growing. Diverse experiences and relationships.”
“Ultimately [multipotentials] have to make a choice – what is most meaningful, fits with one’s values.” ~ Dr. Gail Post
Although gifted people may not be good at everything, they are often good at many things. It was quickly noted that the benefits are often the drawbacks as well. So many paths can cause high stress levels, overscheduling, confusion and depression. Multipotential persons often find it difficult to choose a career or when they do; sticking with it. For gifted students who display multipotentiality, they often are never challenged until college when studies become difficult.
Finding focus is an important facet of dealing with multipotentiality. Lisa B. of Canada suggested that, “Perhaps it’s best to focus on one passion at a time, but move through different passions in the different seasons of life.” Seeking inspiration from peers and mentors can help a multipotential person focus on their passions. Dr. Gail Post stated, “Ultimately [multipotentials] have to make a choice – what is most meaningful, fits with one’s values.”
Advice for parents: “Emphasize the importance of continually learning and taking on new challenges; not settling because they’ve been labeled as ‘smart’.” ~ Amy Williams
Finally, the discussion turned to guiding a multipotential child. Parents should attempt to tune into their child’s passions and look for ways to help them explore ideas and potential careers. They can also expose children throughout their lives to opportunities to work with peers, mentors, and professionals. Amy Williams summed it up this way, “Emphasize the importance of continually learning and taking on new challenges; not settling because they’ve been labeled as ‘smart’.” For a more in-depth review of this chat, see the transcript at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options from Lisa Rivero
Counseling Gifted Adults – A Case Study by Paula Prober
Good at Too Many Things? from Byrdseed Gifted
Experience of Giftedness: Eight Great Gripes Six Years Later from Davidson Gifted
Multipotentiality: Multiple Talents, Multiple Challenges by Douglas Eby
Multipotentiality Resources from Douglas Eby
Are You A Multipotentialite*? from Paula Prober
Many Cloaks in the Closet by Jen Merrill
A Multi-Talent’s Growth with Dr. Edith Johnston
A Myriad of Ideas: Personal Development for Multi-Talented Individuals (book) by Dr. Edith Johnston