Airport lounges can be pretty interesting places to observe and learn, especially on long layovers between destinations. You meet some interesting travelers and not so interesting ones too. On one such occasion, I was seated next to a young mother with her very inquisitive five year old girl who seemed to question the existence of everything – from why do we need passports to why does granny have a big tummy! Besides being thoroughly entertained, watching the mother explain all these questions patiently, one question stood out. The child said “Mommy, when I grow up, can I be an astronaut, a chef and an actor?” To which mommy replied “Yes, if you believe, you can be all three”. Some may call it positive thinking on the mother’s part or just a response to keep the child from asking more questions. But come to think of it why can’t we be more than one identity?
When we are young, we are often asked by our elders and teachers – What do you want to be when you grow up? A question that places tremendous pressure on our little brain and mostly demands one single definitive answer, a multiple answer is not what they are looking for. I did have one elderly person tell me once, “You can’t be Jack of all trades, master of none?” Looking at the history of this phrase that started off as “Jack of all trades” in 17th century that supposedly stood for praise, over a period of time had “master of none” added to it, which resulted in the phrase being less flattering in most countries.
Many are happy choosing one career or a life goal and committing to it lifelong, but most people aren’t wired that way and it is perfectly normal to want different things or pursue different passions at different times in your life. There is nothing ‘confused’ about that! Gone are the days where people identified themselves with one identity, one profession, one cause – the new millennium brands itself with people of multifaceted / multitalented identities. Look around us, we see technical people pursing creative arts and are successful in both fields, we see women and men juggling roles of entrepreneurship with social responsibility, we see actors/musicians/sports persons balancing their artistic world alongside their business empires.
The concept of multi potential individuals is catching on today. People want to convert their talents, interests and passions into thriving businesses. Not having one true calling does not make you indecisive or non-committal but it makes you unique, original and innovative. The world is moving at high speed, technology and human thinking is evolving at a higher pace, information is readily available, thus ideas are being generated by the milli-second.
The question of “to be or not to be” more than one identity does not exist anymore. The inherent thought is – If I believe I can do it and perseverance follows, all falls into place.