Unleashing the Power of Multipotentialites: Embrace Your Unconventional Journey to Success!

It was while watching Julien Peron’s French TED talk that I thought about all the people that school, friends, colleagues, and life have labeled as “different”. The famous “atypical” ones, those who don’t seem to follow patterns and norms.

To those who don’t feel like the others. The unconventional misfits.

To all those who (like me before) feel like they don’t “fit in”, who want to learn so many different things, who are interested in so many areas, instead of being the “specialists” that society and the world are looking for.

Well, the world before… because the world is changing.

Education for life | Julien PERON | TEDxNarbonne

Multipotential: succeeding… by being “different”

In the first part of his talk, Julien tells, in a moving way, how he felt apart from others.

Diagnosed with dyslexia and dysorthographia, he struggled at school and lived with his family in a 40-square-meter concierge room. He was criticized for being a starry-eyed child and condemned to be a failure for the rest of his life. He suffered, felt rejected, and devalued.

And then one day, he had the chance to spend a month in the United States with a host family and attend an American middle school.

At the age of 10, his life changed.

He decided to travel the world, with his backpack, and learn about life.

He also discovered kung-fu, another school of life for him. He learned endurance, perseverance, the flexibility of mind, self-respect, respect for others, and self-confidence.

Julien failed the baccalaureate twice in a row, and was “condemned to be homeless” according to his high school principal (…), he decided to take the back roads to success – nevertheless.

He became a mail carrier, security guard, bartender… and tried again to get a BTS degree through apprenticeship.

His life took a new turn: his family was laid off, and he found himself… on the streets.

But he changed his mind: he decided to live this experience and fend for himself. He developed a strong and unshakable optimism.

Julien pursued his studies and joined a company as an apprentice. He discovered skills he had never had before rallying people around a project and communicating.

This is how, penniless but convinced of his success, he decided to create his own communication agency.

As he puts it himself: “Something in me said it was good. A small voice, my instinct, my intuition.”

This should guide us all in our life choices.

This reminds us of what we are good at, and what we are meant to do.

And when we follow our instincts, we do what we were born to do, we bring what we have to offer to society.

Julien Peron has also become a director and producer, and has released two documentaries: “What is happiness for you? “and ” L’école de la vie, une génération pour tout changer“.

He also wrote a book…

He thought that, born poor, he would never reach the world of cinema.

And that with his dyslexia, he could never write…

He for whom the “classic” school was not made, made his own this sentence of Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world” .

It is therefore quite natural that he imagined another school… a school that gives pride of place to experience and intuition. He founded the Festival for the School of Life, which has been bringing together several thousand people concerned with educational issues in Montpellier since 2014.

Multipotentials: learning outside the box

The school of life, according to his definition, is learning every day from our experiences.

It’s taking parallel paths to learn and acquire skills.

Key #1: Continuing education

Think about all the federal funding for job training programs, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), and all types of apprenticeships.

It’s going back to school at 30 or 40, or acquiring a master’s degree online, on training platforms like Coursera.

And it is the best choice to make. Because the world is changing, and will change even faster.

Especially with the advent of artificial intelligence.

My high school diplomas are highly valued by companies in our “old”, 20th-century world.

But if you look at the truth, some of what I learned back then has become obsolete: when I got my master’s degree in marketing, social networks did not exist…

It’s mainly because I kept on learning after my (very long) studies that I managed to evolve professionally. And even if today my knowledge is useful in all aspects of my work, it is clear that it is mainly because I have updated it.

I would even say that I could have left school before graduation and learned everything online today, without any problem. And even without needing to get the corresponding certifications or degrees, if I were to start my own business.

For recruiters at large companies, it’s the degrees that matter most… but it’s your experience that will make the difference.

Of course, there are many professions for which a classical university education in specialized training centers is essential. If you want to be a dentist or a doctor, an architect or a judge, you need to be able to certify your qualifications to practice – for everyone’s safety.

Key #2: Experience and Adaptation

The other thing to remember from this conference is adapting to reality.

And to the immense changes to come.

Many jobs are learned on the job. And some of them will, in fact, be the most useful, and therefore the most sought after, in the world to come.

This is because the reality of climate change, the depletion of natural resources, and our economic model is real.

We are heading in the medium term towards a “collapse” (I prefer the word “slide”, less anxiety-provoking) of our thermo-industrial society.

And even if these two subjects seem very distant, they are in fact totally linked. Each is about personal resilience.

Multipotentials: the jobs of tomorrow

You may have noticed that recently, what seemed like a given, unshakeable, has been turned on its head by a global pandemic. Suddenly, cashiers and truck drivers are far more important than marketing managers. Some of them find themselves, after three weeks of confinement, almost without work. And there is no guarantee that their businesses will survive the economic and technological upheaval to come.

We also understand that we are very dependent on supermarkets, and if the supply chain is interrupted, we will simply have nothing to eat. We have discovered that paper masks can be more valuable than a silk dress and that many products come from far away, from China.

And that those who still know how to sew or grow their vegetables have a big advantage over the others…

You get it: when you ask yourself what job to do, because you are bored with the one you are doing now, or when you ask yourself what training to undertake, my answer is: look at the future.

Look even at the present, and see what is really useful.

Think about what a world without oil would be like, a world that is shrinking and needs to be resilient.

Multipotential: income continuity

Already, the so-called “dream job” we’ve been sold since the 1960s, the “white collar” office job, is no longer a dream.

But on top of that, having a single income based on a high level of specialization is in fact the most fragile situation there is. One is neither adaptable because one is too specialized, nor independent because one’s source of income depends only on the goodwill of another person – one’s boss.

On the other hand, a construction worker who repairs, who gardens, who knows how to do plumbing or electricity, and who has various clients, will always land on his feet.

First, he knows how to build (or renovate) his own house.

Second, he knows how to adapt to demand.

Finally, if he loses one of his clients, he can count on the others.

Multiple sources of income, based on broad skills, and a varied clientele. I know some of these people. They never lack work… or learning opportunities…

But don’t think that tomorrow’s world will be limited to eating, drinking, and sleeping to save nature – and because there are no more jobs.

Even if some communities, like the ‘neorurals’ in Europe and the ‘back-to-the-land’ movement in the U.S.A., display a life project based essentially on primary needs, the reality will be quite different.

Resilient communities will need doctors, farmers, and artisans, but also psychologists, journalists, and communicators.

They will need people who know how to repair electric vehicles and others who raise horses.

We will need engineers to build windmills and solar panels, or water treatment systems.

Many, many jobs will disappear, but not right away. But many more will be created. There are great opportunities in companies that rely on training to mutate skills. And as Julien said, the school of life.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @TheGothicPsy


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Sophie Barbarella

Writer and Public Speaker

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