I’m not just good at a couple of things. I’m good at nearly everything I do.
Believe me, it’s a bitch.
Life would be so much simpler if I had one skill, or one passion, and I applied myself to one thing for the rest of my life. But I could never deal with that.
Why? I’m a multiplexer.
I don’t do singular. My attention cannot remain focused unless it is split. I have to continually spin three to fifteen plates at one time in order to maintain momentum on any of them.
And I’m not alone. Chances are you know someone who bounces from project to project, someone who has so many interests they don’t seem to know how to do any one thing really well, because they can do lots of things better than most.
“A jack of all trades, and master of none,” goes the old saying. Multiplexers can pass as a journeyman in anything they’ve tried, whereas a specialist is a master of one (and only one) thing. Multiplexers, while denied the credibility of mastery, are given a unique perspective.
Multiplex (electronics): (adj) Combining multiple data streams into one signal over a shared medium.
Multiplex (juggling): (verb) To throw more than one ball out of a given hand simultaneously without disrupting the pattern.
I’ve made a list of things I have done in my life, and it’s positively daunting. I could pick out any of the 57 skills I have developed beyond competency and pass myself off as a dull specialist in any of those fields.
What most bright people do in my situation is freeze. The psychological interpretation of choosing one path is a limitation of choices, and the death of very important passions.
Rather than face this, most bright people go out and learn something new. Because learning something new is what Scanners are best at.
“Scanners” is a term coined by Barbara Sher in 1978, to identify people who scan a subject and learn it very quickly. She has many stories of afflicted Scanners who do not know what to do with their lives.
I am reaching for the level beyond Scanners, where we do not simply identify and catalogue new things that can catch our interest. I want to pick a select number of my greatest passions and combine them into a unique, multilayered skill set that can only be fulfilled by me.
That’s what I aim to do. I’m a Juggler, and Multiplexing is my approach to life.