This Thing Called Multipotentiality

Photo by Ron Lach :

An organization I was involved with once invited a multidisciplinary person from India for a talk program. After the event, while we sat for dinner, a young school student came to our table with full confidence and sat there. A few minutes later he asked the multidisciplinary person:

‘Sir, is it really possible to do multiple activities in life? Because I seem to want to do it all! When I watch cricket, I want to become a cricketer and while I hear a song, I want to become a singer. I want to be an actor as well as a computer programmer. Am I ill or is it normal?’

Everyone around either giggled or laughed. One of the teachers may have even scolded the young lad.

The multidisciplinary person thought for a while and said something like this while he chewed his food:

‘Why not! It is possible. Yes, we can do a lot of things. All we need is passion and hard work.’

There was silence for a few minutes after that.

I sat there thinking why that young guy didn’t ask me the same question. After all, I too have been trying to do many things in life! Yes, things I do may not be successful, yet I try…I may know a thing or two, too!

After all, a person travelling on a road may know about the road just as well — if not better — as someone who has already reached to the destination!

But I didn’t speak a word. I wasn’t convinced with the multidisciplinary guy’s answer either.

A few days later, I met that young student during another event. When there were only two of us, I took the opportunity to share my experiences with him.

‘I liked your question to that Indian guy,’ I said.

He then expressed his problem to me with similar intensity which gave me a green light.

‘I struggle with the same,’ I said. ‘What I have come to realize is that it is possible to do all sorts of things in life. You can be a sportsperson and you can be an actor. You can watch all the best movies in life, and read all the best books. But what we need in us to make such a life possible is not passion or hard work. Passion is already there, that’s why we were interested in those things in the first place. We don’t need to work on it. Hardwork is also a given in this scenario. But what we do need is to be non-petty. We can’t afford to be petty and indulge in nonsensical thoughts and activities. We need to stop gossip and all other mundane time wastes. On top of that, we need to find people who do such multiple works and learn about them. We need to get inspired by them.’

The story above unfolded three or four years ago. Here I am today and I still struggle with trying to balance multiple activities. I want to write both non-fiction and fiction. I want to make films. I want to create fun and meaningful technologies. Not only creations, I want to study and understand science as well as philosophy; arts as well as politics.

It’s not that I have not tried to convince myself to let go of one or the other activities. I have tried to quit a lot of them. For example, there have been phases where I have stayed away from studying politics, only to focus on philosophy or filmmaking. I have told myself to stop writing non-fiction and focus just on creating fiction films. There have been phases where I have quit this or that. But when I look at myself in the overall picture, I notice that I have continued to do all of the things I am interested in. There have been time gaps. There have been times when I may have told myself that the thing I am currently doing is the only thing I will ever do — everything else I have quit. For example, NOW. I am a writer on Medium — nothing else. But this will end and I will go to short film editing.

This way, overall, I have been a juggler. Yes, there are hiatuses of a few months, but I eventually come back to all of them. Now I have stopped trying to deselect, I am more focused on balance.

If I look at phases when I have been most successful in proper balance, I have found myself doing the same:

I haven’t been petty. I haven’t indulged in nonsensical thoughts and activities. I haven’t gossiped. I have stayed away from all other mundane time wastes:

Seven Deadly Ills Of Modern Life. Stay away. Stay healthy!!! | by Adesh Acharya | Jul, 2022 | Medium

and this:

This Thing Called Video-Addiction | by Adesh Acharya | Jul, 2022 | Medium

During those phases, I have tried to seek out and learn about people who have mastered multiple works and have gotten inspired by them.

This is something that I believe has allowed me to focus on multiple activities without driving myself mad. Whether or not I will manage to reach the destination, only time shall tell!

Whether or not I will reach with this lesson, who can tell?



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Adesh Acharya

Adesh Acharya


Creator, Writer | Think, See and Experience Mind-Life-World with me. Subscribe to me via email. More at |