Do you have a lot of different interests? Do you find yourself trying to juggle all of them? Do you rarely get bored, and when you do, do you find it to be an intolerable condition? Do you have a large and diverse library or collection of half-completed projects? Do you have trouble settling on a college major or a career path? Do you want to travel everywhere and experience everything? If you said yes to any of these, you might be a Scanner!
Scanner is the term that life coach and motivational speaker Barbara Sher has given to these Renaissance people, and she has written a book to help them along their path in life, Refuse to Choose!: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love. And I have written a review of her book and posted it here on my site!
If you’re a Scanner, I think you’ll find a lot of encouragement in Sher’s book. I found a lot of her insights to be true of me. I already know the value of having diverse interests, which many Scanners have been taught to believe is somehow a defect; but I do have trouble finishing what I start, and my Scanner Panic started when I hit 25 and realized I was halfway through my 20s and what did I have to show for myself? And it only got worse from there. My life was slipping by and I wasn’t making anything of it, and I almost felt I couldn’t make anything of it. And Sher says we are right to feel this way! “Scanners are not being dramatic or inventing this danger. When you have unused potential, you’re driven to use it. Since, by your very nature, you can’t devote yourself to one goal and you don’t know how to manage many goals, you are in real danger of living an unused life” (38). My problems are more than just being a Scanner (being slow and a hermit are equally hindersome), but now I see my prospects a bit differently, thanks to Barbara’s helpful ideas.
I have one more project to do with this book, and then I’ll probably move on to other subjects.