Niche, specialization, function… Everything in our lives seems to remind us that we need to stay within the bounds of one precise and delimited activity. We need to choose, focus, learn and master one topic, one subject. It is true in school when we are told we need to know what we want to do later. It is true with our job when we have to concentrate on a project to get a promotion for instance. But it is even true, more surprisingly, in our personal life, with our hobbies. We are often pushed toward a never ending spiral of improvement : try to get the black belt in your judo class, win this gym competition, perform at this end of year concert with your guitar…
While specializing ourselves is not a bad thing in itself and can bring us the discipline and organization we need in our work and daily lives, it has certainly become out of hand. Today, everyone is supposed to become a master in something. Expertise is the new door opening word on the job market. But let me tell you : niches are overrated.
To be honest, I am quite young, but I’ve always wanted to write. I started a forum, a blog, a novel with friends when I was 13 or so, but did not pursue those projects because I felt too young and like a failure. I felt like I did not have the necessary tools to carry out my projects because I did not know enough, because I was not specialized enough. Already so young, I was conditioned by societal mental barriers. How sad.
People keeping on telling me I had to specialize did not help, for sure. You know, it was the usual at my age : I had to focus on you studies for the job — the real job— I wanted to do… Over time, I completely abandoned writing. I dove head first into school and work. I strove for perfection, every time until I realized I was just not happy.
Last September, I began to turn my life around. I started with baby steps ; writing for myself in the mornings, working out, going outside even alone to museums etc… I challenged myself constantly, I tried new things.
After a few months of new daily, weekly and monthly challenges and projects, I knew I felt happier because I was more mindful of what I was doing with my life. I was trying so many different things, yet I was less lost than before.
I realized that my studies are interesting (I’m studying international relations & politics for those of you who do not know me), but I needed more. Or something else rather. I am just one of those person who cannot focus on just one thing. And that is how I stumbled upon the concept of multipotentialite, which changed my life.
There are people in this world who live to know everything about one topic ; there are others who want to try everything out. I’m from the second category : I need to diversify my activities. Thanks to this realization, I was able to finally create the blog I have always wanted last January.
Why didn’t I create it before ? Because I had always been told I needed to focus on one topic. I thought I needed to find a niche to attract and built my audience. I decided to do the opposite and accept the fact that what I want to do is write about many things : happiness and productivity, but also food and recipes, wellness, book reviews and travels.
In the end, my goal to be happy writing about what I want, and reach people who are genuinely interested in what I have to share with them has been reached at the first comment, like and follower I got. No niche, no specialization. And the best part ? I am able to reach people I would not have, had I focused on only one topic !
So next time you are not 100% committed to one task, and feel guilt, remind yourself that there not only one way to do things. Everyone is different, unique. If you want to learn more about the concept of multipotentialite, check out this amazing TED Talk by Emilie Wapnick and get back to me with your opinion !