Are You a Scanner? Love Trying New Things out?


Imagine a person who is constantly changing areas of interest: first, he/she was fond of acting, then he/she suddenly became interested in learning languages, then archaeology, real estate, and playing bongo. If this person reminds you of yourself, congratulations: you’re a typical “scanner”. Barbara Sher, one of the world’s top motivational speakers will tell you what it is and how to live with it.


What happens?

So, you’re a “scanner” — a person who enjoys diversity around us. Scanners often feel that time passes by, and they haven’t achieved anything yet. Haven’t become a pro in anything. It seems you are already an expert in one area, and then you become interested in another one. A “scanner” is still at the start, while his/her peers who have fewer talents and opportunities have advanced much further.

If you think so, you just don’t realize that being a “scanner” is a worthy calling. It’s a talent and a key to a good life.

“Scanners” want to try everything. They are equally enthusiastic about studying the structure of a flower and music theory. They love to travel and are interested in politics. For “scanners”, the universe is a treasure chest, which holds millions of works of art, and life is not enough to see them all.

Our culture values specialization and determination, so we often think that “scanners” are the people who just don’t want to work and are dissipating their energy for little things. It is a stereotype.

Getting everything at once

A “scanner’s” typical problem is finding a job where they can use their specific talent. Career guidance tests are mostly useless for “scanners”. It takes time and ingenuity to find a niche for them — a job that will accommodate all their numerous interests. However, the results are worth it.

“Scanners” can be poets, documentary makers, travelers, great sellers, managers and teachers. They can even combine several of these roles simultaneously.

Getting everything sequentially

Scanners are often distracted, mostly because they are in a terrible rush. However, there is no need to hurry, because:

  • we have more time than it seems;
  • rush is unproductive;
  • “time fever” spoils your life. It’s a kind of hysteria where everyone thinks that you need to do something important for the future every minute. Do not fall for it. You have some time, and it’s just enough to understand yourself and find your calling or several callings at the same time.

There is much more time than you imagine. You will get everything, if you are calm and consistent.

Some exercises for the typical “scanners” are below:

1. Ten lives

If you had 10 lives, how would you deal with them? Take a pencil and a sheet of paper and write down what you would do in each of these lives. If you think of more than 10 professions, it’s all right! Don’t limit yourself. Now let’s look at this list. It might be like this: poet, musician, successful entrepreneur, sinologist, chef in a gourmet restaurant, traveler, gardener, husband and father, journalist, host of a talk show.

Excellent! It is not necessary to choose one profession. Soon you will find a way to live every one of those lives.

2. Available time

Quickly answer the following questions about each of your lives. Don’t hesitate for too long. Write down the first thing that comes to your mind. (You can use the same life a few times.)

  • Which life would you dedicate the next year to?
  • Which life will you choose as second?
  • What can you do for 20 (or less) minutes every day?
  • What can you do at the weekends?
  • What can you do from time to time?

By answering all of these questions, you will get a more realistic idea of how people do different things if they are “people of the Renaissance”, like you. Maybe you will stop thinking in terms of “either — or”: “How will I be able to give up everything and devote myself to poetry, or to learn Chinese and to play the violin, so that there is still some time left for business and travel? Oh yes, and to learn to cook gourmet cuisine and gardening?”

Here’s how: there is no need to devote yourself to poetry. Just write poems.

Write one line before going to sleep, and suddenly you will wake up very early willing to write more. If the poem captures you, put off everything else. A few days later, you will finish it. Then, perhaps, you will not want to write poetry for a month. When will you take violin lessons? How about next summer?

The point is that you can find time for everything, if you make a schedule.
If you want to start your business, but also to see the world, you can either combine or do it sequentially: now business, then travel.

3. Make a quickly workable three-year plan

Many “scanners” think that they are short of time and if they don’t do something right now, they will have no time in the future. Relax: you have enough time for all your numerous “lives”. You have more time than you think.

Make a three-year plan. Once you understand that you can conquer new lives step by step, you will calm down.

4. Draw a map of your life

Take a look at your past. A map of your life might look like this: in 2008 you started climbing, in 2009 you got interested in antiques, in 2010 you started playing the violin, in 2011 you got on the radio and so on. In some particular year, you went to the movies regularly, and then you did not go for two years at all. You know, maybe this is the right way to live. We need to learn to respect the wisdom of our natural instincts, because they allow us to include all we need into our life.

A final tip

If you realized that you are a “scanner”, do not do anything to change yourself. Don’t think you need to yield to the demands of this world. You’d better think of arranging your life so that you can apply all your numerous talents.