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Friday, January 16, 2009

The Curse and Blessings of Being Eclectic

I am very confused...I have my whole live problems, that I have a lot of ideas, creative writing, being a yoga teacher, playing a music instrument, painting, drawing and have business careers. But unfortunately, I have started a lot, like flamenco dancing, tai chi, yoga, meditation, painting but I don't do something to an and, I haven't goals for my life, what is very frustrating for me, but I don't know, if I am a scanner, or I have depressions, or fear not to be good in the things I do. I am am perfectionist. Do you think I am scanner? What could help me to cope, deal with it? Can I find one goal, what I can reach, go on?

Whoever said "Life is short, but it is wide." - they were an eclectic too.
Yes, you're obviously what Barbara Sher, career counselor, calls a Scanner. No, you don't have to choose between your interests, usually you can do them all.

The challenge (rather than to choose one interest) is to figure out how to accommodate your multi-interests into a lifestyle that works better for you. It's also a challenge of how to deal with the pressure from others designed to get you to specialize. You are not like them, you NEED to have multi-interests. They assume there is "something wrong" with you. You'll find out it is "something right" with you as you learn about Scanner-hood.

It is also a challenge to deal with the pressure you apply to yourself concerning this confusion. Most scanners buy into this idea there is something wrong. This pressure to specialize has been working at odds with who you really are.

You're a generalist, not a specialist. You're a swan growing up in a barnyard of chickens who tell you that you should act like them.

Did it help - or have you read "Refuse to Choose" by Barbara Sher? If you haven't read the book - it's available at your library, usually if you can't afford to buy it.

According to Sher, there are different types of scanners. For instance, there are the popularizers who jump from livelihood to livelihood. These types can learn to record their journey in some way to make what they naturally do useful to others, or another cool solution.
There are the virtual students, who keep learning.
There are the fast-motion scanners who can multi-task, (Barbara calls them "plate-spinners.")
There are scanners who cycle among their interests, or their multi-interests have a recognizable "theme" that's possible for them to make conscious.
There are also many more kinds of scanners, which are in the book.

In Refuse to Choose, Sher gives you templates about how other people who are scanners live their lives in meaningful ways that work to provide a living. If you want, you can use these examples to help you design a lifestyle that fits you personally.

The reason we haven't found these examples is that scanners are rare and unusual characters. Barbara Sher has a forum where Scanners can congregate together. It's a place where being multi-talented is common. There it seems as if EVERYONE is an eclectic!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, Franis. Barbara has helped thousands of people whose many interests once made them feel like hopelessly flaky dilettantes. In fact, Scanners are special thinkers, capable of amazing accomplishments once they know who they are and find their "tribe".

    Of interest: Sher's next 5-day Scanner retreat will be held in late April in southern France. For information, go to

    Best wishes,