Are You a Multi-Passionate Scanner?
“I’m like a bird, I always fly away…” That song from Nelly Furtado could be the theme song for all of my interests. But just because I fly away, doesn’t mean that I don’t come back around.
Ask my husband, or my friends and family. They can’t keep up with all of my passion projects. Even I can’t keep up with my mind full of new projects and ideas, so I don’t blame them (ha!). Just take a look through old posts on this blog (just one of many projects), and you’ll see what I mean. My interests are all.over.the.place.
Today, I’m learning that it’s okay for my interests to be all over the place. But I didn’t always feel that way.
Before I dived into an ocean of self-discovery and became educated on what type of person I am, I thought that being multi-passionate, or having multiple interests, was such a nuisance. It was frustrating, to say the least – the excitement I felt to learn something new, the commitment and drive I had in learning that new thing… and then, like the wings of the bird in Nelly Furtado’s song, I would flap away from that endeavor, and glide on to something else that attracted my bird’s eye.
When You Can’t Stick to One Thing…
I always felt like there was something more after I had dabbled in a new endeavor. A new conquest would appear before my eyes, and off I was to explore that unchartered avenue.
Does this sound like someone you know?
It was frustrating because I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t feel fulfilled with one interest. Why couldn’t I be satisfied? What was wrong with me? Did I suffer from shiny object syndrome? Was I just a flake? Was I destined to be a jack of all trades, and a master of none? Was I just bored with my life?
Nope, none of that, actually. The answer was simple, but it was a long, winding road I had to travel down to arrive at the answer, which is this: learning is my soul’s calling. Having multiple passions is what balances my heart and mind.
Put simply: I just really love learning. Learning, whether it’s inspired by passion or knowledge, is food for my soul. I know, I know…that sounds really soppy in a super nerdy way, but it’s the truth. #sorrynotsorry
Do you know what I mean? Maybe you aren’t this way, but I bet you know someone who is. Many literary people – or people that like to read and write – are actually this same way, which is why I’m writing about this. Learning that there was nothing wrong with me all along has been life-changing for my mindset and self-empowerment, and I’m on a mission to raise awareness!
Do you feel like you never stick to anything? Do you get bored and move on as soon as you know how to do something? Do you keep changing your mind about what you want to do with your life? Do you feel like you are passion-less? Do you go off on tangents all the time? Is it hard for you to commit, and focus, on just one thing or opportunity?
What is a Scanner?
If you’ve answered “yes” to most of these questions, you might be a scanner, or sometimes known as a “multi-potentialite.”
For starters, the term “scanners” was coined by Barbara Sher, author of “Refuse to Choose.” Reading this book led me on the path to self-discovery, and it has opened up a whole new perspective for me.
To be clear, you are a scanner if you are “someone who loves so many things that you’ve never succeeded in choosing only one and forsaking the others.”
If you think you might be a scanner, too, then welcome! I hope to create a community of like-minded multi-passionate people who can hone in on their interests and discover themselves through reading and writing.
I always chalked myself up as not having a passion. It seemed like everyone around me had a true passion… that one thing that lit their soul on fire. And since I didn’t have that ONE thing, I felt that I had nothing. That I was passionless. That I was a jack of all trades, and would never be a master at one.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong. My passion is in learning. Whether it’s learning about myself, other people, systems or processes, I love to learn, and I have many different passions and interests.
When I came to accept that, it all sort of fell into place. Literacy, or reading and writing, is one of my biggest passions, and it makes sense because that totally fits with my love of learning. Reading books and writing fuels my scanner nature because it allows me to learn about things that interest me, and share that knowledge.
Now, this doesn’t mean I love learning about anything. I only enjoy learning about things that intrigue me and spark my curiosity. And the same is true for other scanners – you may have many different interests, or passions. Does it mean you are passionate about everything? No, but you also don’t have one thing that you consider your “calling.”
I’m a scanner – and I proudly say that with conviction. It took me 27 years of living to figure that out, and now that I have, I feel enlightened, energized, and focused. My soul has clarity in who I am, what fuels my heart and mind, and what I’m meant to do with life.
Once I realized that I was a scanner, I stopped shying away from who I was, and started to embrace it. I began to feel positive about my multi-passionate nature, and to learn how to strike a balance between my heart and mind, which helps me discover what fulfills my soul.
We all know what multi-passionate means. Someone who is multi-passionate is highly enthusiastic about many things, and has many different callings. But understanding what it means to be a scanner, and having multiple passions and interests, is more complex than that.
Why Does It Matter?
People like us usually get a bad rap – from others and ourselves – about our curious, renaissance-like nature, because our society pushes this notion that an individual has a “one true calling.” And since we haven’t ever had ONE passion, we felt like we had nothing – and that something must be wrong with us.
But that nonsense has to stop!
If you’re a scanner, you need to learn just what that means for your soul. And acknowledging who you are is the first step to banishing the negativity you feel towards your multi-passionate nature, embracing who you really are, and re-focusing your aspirations with your various passions in mind.
Start with Understanding
So, we’ll start here. To learn more about yourself and being a scanner, I recommend beginning with some insightful books that will help you learn about yourself. If you are a scanner, then you absolutely MUST read (or listen to) these books. They will provide you with so much clarity about yourself, and will place you on the path to fulfillment. I know everyone isn’t a reader like me, so I’ve included the audiobook links as well.
1. Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams
If you have to choose to read one book to learn about scanners, go straight to the source and read this one. This book turned the lightbulb on in my head, and made me realize that nothing was wrong with me. It helped me understand myself as a scanner.
*Audiobook not available at time of post.
A life without direction is a life without passion. This book gets it. This book guides you in embracing your passions, and helps with building a fulfilling career and lifestyle centered on those passions. If you’ve always felt like you could be the best at your passion, if only you could figure out what that one passion is, give this one a read.
Written for people who are unwilling to settle on doing the same thing for the rest of their life, this book dives into the multi-potentialite/multi-passionate personality, but uses the term “renaissance soul” to describe it. It provides a guided framework on how to merge these interests together and make your passions your life.
*Audiobook not available at time of post.
An extension of the author’s popular TED talk dedicated to uncovering the multi-potentialite personality, this book helps explain why it’s okay to rebel against the “one job, one passion, one thing” mindset in life and your career. Wapnick provides a practical framework for building a sustainable life around ALL of your passions.