Tag Archives: passion

Can’t get no (lasting) satisfaction? Here’s why

I wrote an article on medium not too long ago titled “The Real Root Cause Behind ‘I’m Bored'”, where I basically (spoiler alert) said that humans crave a goal or purpose to fulfill (this is not a new idea, I admit). Perhaps part of the reason why some people keep working even after they’ve won the lottery is because no one really wants to just sit around watching TV in their underwear all the time. It might seem pretty awesome at first, but I think eventually they would get bored and want something more meaningful.

Then there are people like me who are so obsessed with goals and creating meaning, that I try to do too many things at once and just get frustrated that I can’t clone myself or grow a second pair of arms, or never need sleep.

Well, Psychology Today has a good article titled “Why You May Never Be Truly Satisfied, and Why That’s Okay”, which also touches on this issue. With actual science to support it, rather than my attempt which was mostly just personal experience.

Have you ever set a goal, achieved it, became content, and then went looking for the next thing? It’s fascinating how quickly our lives adjust to reaching a goal: We get our dream job and, soon enough, start wondering when the next promotion will come. We move into a new house and then, a few years later, start dreaming of the next dream house. We quickly adjust our realities, constantly creating “new normals.” And then we want more.

That has been my experience lately. For me though, it’s more a constant question of “can I do this thing?”. Like, can I, as an individual, physically and/or mentally step up and get through it? And once I’ve answered that, I test the next thing. There are some things I don’t particularly care to know if I can do or not, but asking myself “what can I learn from this?” has done me very well since I started focusing on that question.

We all have different goals—different mountains to climb. One person’s climb may be about sobriety; another’s may be about diet; and someone else may be trying to find a passion. And we often think we’ve reached the top of the mountain, only to realize it was really just the base of another, larger one. And so we start out again. Generally, this works: If we had to reach the zenith all at once, we might be too intimidated to begin.

Popular inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant puts it another way, positing that there are curves in the road because if you were shown how long a stretch you actually have left, you’d never drive yourself there. These curves that only show a little bit of the road at a time so you can just focus on that piece. The lesson? Today, focus on the piece that’s in front of you. The better you manage that stretch, the better you’ll be set for the next leg, whatever it is.

I’m feeling this right now. I’ve figured out I have been pretty successful in doing a lot of incremental learning/goal tackling. Currently, I have several ambitious goals, they’re all larger, and I’m battling my brain because I want to do them all at the same time, but not all the little steps (feels too unproductive), so I’ve actually been procrastinating somewhat.

Those goals (in case you’re curious)
-finish learning how to program so I can make an app (this will take months of learning to code bit by bit, and I don’t really want to deal with that right now)
-re-learn website coding so I can built a website idea I have
-finish the curated book I’m working on (probably the most nebulous)
-finish developing the card game ideas I conceived recently (need to playtest)
-finish recording/producing an album I started 6 years ago (only a few things left to be recorded, then lots of editing/mixing which I am not in the mood to do)

The question, then, becomes how we balance being content—and grateful—where we are, while also being okay striving for something still greater. It’s not easy: Oprah Winfrey once said, “I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb.”

On the plus side, one of my other admittedly larger goals is happening – I’m currently learning ASL (American Sign Language), and unsurprisingly, I’m really benefitting from the formal classroom environment that I’m learning in. It’s incremental, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I know I could just discipline myself and do these other things incrementally, and maybe that would work better if I didn’t have that many things I want to do (all right now, not one now, the rest later). Maybe it’s time for me to get an accountability coach. When I get in a groove, I’m really good at not procrastinating, but right now I honestly just can’t seem to bring myself to pick one thing to focus on (well, aside from ASL).

The reality is that our journey stretches as long as we live, and if we ever think we’ve made it to the end, we might be limiting ourselves. We just don’t realize it when we set our current goals. This is why so many of us never feel truly happy, or fully satisfied. We want to see today’s goal as a destination because that allows us to feel a sense of certainty, finality, and accomplishment when we reach it—as it should.

However, there is another piece that often gets lost, which is that we’re always in a state of change. It’s not about wanting more, but about being present for where we are, and the people we’ve become at every new stage of our journeys. It’s not specifically about the better job, home, or relationship—the truth is that wherever we are, there will always be something more to reach for.

One thing I can definitely say since I got on this persistent quest for learning, skill building, and personal growth, is that I have been exposed to some things I never expected, met some really cool people, gone to some cool events, and ultimately inspired and enriched my life quite a bit. In my “old life”, I never would have thought someone like me could have some of these experiences, all I had to do was try. I was afraid, I was unconfident, I didn’t think I deserved it in some cases. Now I just want to encourage others (which is why I started a bucket list group with some friends on facebook, so we could attempt to tackle some of these things together), and that has really helped me not feel so unlikely to accomplish some of my goals. I’m in that ASL class because of a friend of mine who I didn’t even know was interested in ASL. She’s my accountability buddy. And I’m loving it. I’ll be writing about it later, but I’m excited by the possibilities it creates, and the ability to interact and connect with people I couldn’t before.

I’ll leave you with one last quote, from Jon Bon Jovi: “Any time that you think you’ve hit the top of the mountain, the truth of the matter is you’ve just reached another mountain. And it’s there to climb all over again.”

“Should a scanner run their own business?” Revisited

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, there are a couple of reasons. The first and main reason is that my work situation has changed in a way that sees me away from home for about 11 hours each day, which while it is only about 1 hour more than before, that extra hour is taking more of a toll on my energy and state of mind than I expected it to. My job has also gotten more complex and thus stressful, and thus tiring.

The only reason, which ties in this this, is that I have come up with a new business idea, and most of my available free time this week was spent communicating that idea to various professional friends and trusted contacts – both for feedback but also advice.

I am very fortunate to know some very smart, insightful and talented people who are helping advise me with my idea. But it was a conversation with one of them that brought me back to this question, with a new answer.

Last time I speculated that running a business definitely requires a variety of skills, skills I didn’t used to possess (when I tried the first time), and possibly not even all of which do I currently possess. However, there is another angle to this question.

I’ve had a lot of ideas, few of them could be called “viable”. In the last year or two, I’ve been more frustrated because I felt like I had the skills, the potential to do more than I was doing, I just didn’t have a marketable idea. Some people have a plethora of marketable ideas, but not the skills to execute.

One thing I have had for years however, is a desire, a feeling, that I was capable of more, I just had a hard time finding ways to demonstrate it.

As I was talking to one of my friends about my idea, she said she envied me, as she (like most people, including myself) was told to get a “safe” job, and just “dabble in your spare time”. I’ve tried that, and every time, I’ve ended up bored, unfulfilled and frustrated. I keep coming back to that notion “I’m capable of more than this, why can’t anyone see that who is in a position to use my talents?”. And so inevitably I’ve always gone back to the drawing board. Because hey, I know *I* can use those talents!

Last year I started my podcast, to try and answer the question “what the heck should I be doing that I can really invest myself into and feel good about it?”. There was no good (read: “easy”) answer. I talked to several friends, many of whom also felt similarly, that they had no choice but to get a job that paid the bills and find “fulfillment” – whatever that was – elsewhere and on their own time.

This idea that you’re not supposed to enjoy your job (or at least that that’s not the point and shouldn’t be your primary motivation), I hear parroted so often, and it’s crazy to me. It almost seems like “I didn’t get to hold out for a job I like so why should you be so lucky?”. But that’s just arguably punishing someone else for a decision you may regret. What does it hurt to (realistically) encourage them?

I don’t necessarily believe that everyone can or will find their calling, their dream job, but I think so few people really even try, and that’s depressing. Of course the way our society is set up, it certainly isn’t easy. You kind of have to be a bit crazy to really push for a satisfying answer long enough to get one. I think I’m one of those crazy people, not by choice, but because I have this feeling inside. This feeling that, no matter how much or how long I’ve tried to push against it, it always wins, it always says “no, you’re capable of more, you can’t settle, it would be a travesty”.

And once I finally stumbled upon my current idea and knew that it was viable, and got the same feedback from my trusted peers, I knew that there was no choice but to go for it. It’s going to take time, but now I know that I will only have a “boss” for so much longer. Now my biggest obstacle is my impatience. I can picture the whole thing, in its final state, all tiers and wings, doing what it is intended to do. But that mental picture could well be 5, 10, 20 years off. I have no idea.

The best part is that my idea incorporates everything I like to do, including helping people. Mainly helping other people like myself, who have that feeling but are (or in my case, were) lost, confused and unsure.

In the meantime, I have no other way to avoid becoming homeless other than to keep doing my current job (for which I no longer have any real passion or emotional investment), via a sense of duty as a responsible, professional, mature adult, to not simply just stop trying.

I ended the last post with an anecdote from someone about what can go wrong and how it can turn out to not be as good or positive as you expect, and my risk-averse side decided that for me, at the time, that was the answer. I feel a lot more confident and upbeat now, and while I can’t get into too many details yet (so much is still up in the air), I’m very excited.

While I’m here, here’s a new resource I was just shown, Bloomberg’s “Game Changers” series (for inspiration):
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/game-changers/

So, should a scanner run their own business? If they have the skills, a viable idea, and that feeling that they just can’t escape that tells them they can and should be doing more, then why not?

Now I have to go and execute my idea and not fail so that I can be an example of my own advice not being bunk.

Project in the works: Help me help you

I am shifting my focus a little more right now towards a new project idea, specifically focused on helping others who are unsure about what they want to do for a living. Whether you are young, old, or anywhere in between, there is no shortage of people who are still wondering if their “calling” is still out there waiting for them.

I started interviewing people to see if I could find mine, I am beginning to wonder if interviewing people to learn from them is my calling (I never would have guessed!). But, I am going to keep interviewing people and I don’t just want to ask them my questions, I want to ask them yours as well.

So, if you could ask any question to someone in a field of work you are interested in or curious about, what would it be?

Some examples to get you thinking:
Q) What is a typical day like in your field of work?
Q) What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Q) What is a little known fact, perk, quirk or piece of trivia about this job?
Q) What is one thing, whether a task or personality trait or environmental factor, that if I can’t handle it or really don’t like it, this field of work may not be a good fit for me?
Q) How could someone with a disability or part of a minority group work successfully in this field? Are there opportunities for such people?

That should give you some ideas. If you’d like to send in your own (I encourage it), please send them to adam@curiositycrossroads.com.

“The Never-Ending Career/Major Dilemma” aka INFJ problems, aka Scanner problems

Update 2 June 21, 2014 – I’ve come across data that refutes the validity of the MBTI system, so while you are reading this, try to focus more on if you relate to what is being said and less so that it specifically ties to being an INFJ or any specific Myers Briggs Type.

Someone once found this blog using the search term “personality types at a crossroad”. I have no doubt they stumbled onto my first Scanner post. But as when I tried to answer the question “Should a scanner personality type run their own business?” (also a search term that led someone here), I’ve wanted to address this other question as well. And I just found a really good basis for such a post.

In the world of Myers-Briggs, one of many (but the most popular and widely used) personality type tests, I am an INFJ. That means I’m an introverted (though pretty ambiverted now), intuitive, feeling, judging (but not judgemental!) person. I recharge with downtime, I think more abstractly, I make decisions overall based on how I feel or how my actions will affect others, and I prefer structure and predictability (to an extent) in my life. Here is another description of INFJs which is pretty flattering.

There was a discussion on the Puttytribe not too long ago, asking what each person’s type was. I think the IN parts were exceptionally well represented, with J/P being pretty split and F/T also being divided. But, when doing some of my own internet searches recently, I was searching for “what defines an INFJ?” and I found a thread on the forums at INFJs.com titled “The Never Ending Career/Major Dilemma”.

The poster explains:

Everything I look up about my INFJ personality type suggests something along the lines of psychology, teaching, or art. Problem is, I don’t particularly enjoy helping people. I don’t like volunteer work, and in the past couple of years, I’ve become incredibly irritated by the petty problems people seem to have, unless they’re someone close to me, and I have therefore completely eliminated psychology from the list. I absolutely hate teaching and training; I have no patience for it, and I get frustrated when they don’t understand. It isn’t fair of me to become a teacher and get frustrated at the students for something that’s my own issue, so I have eliminated education in all forms (from elementary to the collegiate level). While becoming an artist (particularly a photographer) would be fun, I feel like I’m too lazy and not disciplined enough to take the number of photos I would need and market myself and my photography in order to actually be profitable.

I know exactly where he is coming from. The first reply offered some fantastic insight and advice (quoted at the end of this post), and another thread was linked with that advice really expanded and fleshed out by a different person. The longer version (below) was basically a written description of my entire life thus far. I think this pretty accurately defines what it means to have “scanner problems”:

This is not a definitive guide but just some perspective and realistic outlook on choosing a career or “careers” as an INFJ and the usual obstacles we face as sensitive introverts.

To start let’s just state the obvious well known facts and ideal career parameters for INFJs:


  • Career Autonomy – INFJs thrive best when they have an intellectual freedom to set their working conditions the way they see it fit. Usually a mix of 60% solitary work and 40% interpersonal connections. Going on the extreme end on both of these conditions will create a lot of stress that can affect INFJs negatively in the work environment. Too much solitary work will create interpersonal distance that may cause depression and loneliness and too much human interaction will simply burn out an INFJ.
  • Humanitarian Instinct – INFJs humanitarian instinct is inborn and cannot be ignored nor does it go away over time. In fact; as an INFJ personality develops further into maturity; this humanitarian streak will become more obvious and the urge for full expression may create inner tension. This will be true if you work in a field that does nothing to help or better humanity in general. Younger INFJs may or may nor feel this urge strongly in the beginning; but do keep in mind that it will become an important factor as you grow older.
  • Work Environment – simply put; INFJs will have a hard time working in an corrupt, unorganized, critical, competitive and high stress work environments. INFJs ability to penetrate into the core of any systems or large organizations and seeing clearly where the issues and problems are will help weed out these environments. This is not to say that certain environments such as schools, hospitals or counseling and crisis centers should not be explored; but the built in bureaucracy of failing systems will affect an INFJ and if an INFJ chooses a career in these organizations then they will need to learn grounding and stress management techniques in order to cope and find balance.
  • Intellectual and Creative Challenge – INFJs are natural intellectuals with a desire to learn about subjects that catch their curiosity. Therefore; when choosing a career; intellectual stimulation or the opportunity to advance one’s knowledge base is important. Mundane and routine work will eventually bore an INFJs. The negatives of mundane work will make an INFJ question their role in society and if not careful can lead into hopelessness which leads to a mediocre careers without advancement. Hence it is recommended that INFJs pursue masters or doctorate degrees in fields that can open up intellectual growth opportunities. This will also become important as an INFJ gets older.



Intense Realism to balance the natural Idealist:

Intense realism is the practice of seeing life as is with no filters and covers. Learning to make sound life decisions based on hard reality will always help a natural idealist make better changes in life and career. For career decision making; below factors need to be considered for certain careers you maybe considering:

  • Job outlook – are you choosing a career field that is growing or declining? What types of careers is your generation considering? Just like products and business have life cycles; careers also have life cycles. It should not be looked on with fear but a natural progression of growth. Choose careers that are on the rise for the next 20 to 30 years – expecially fields such as healthcare and technology that offers lots of niche field within a larger field so there are many options to consider.
  • Salary – always do an opportunity cost for your careers. Are you finishing a degree that cost you $40,000 in student debt to be hired as an entry level making $42,000? Is that a fair or normal living standard in your neck of the woods? If you wish to go to masters or doctorate route then is it feasible to get your undergrad in a community college to save money in the long run? Is it worth getting a masters degree for 2 years so you can increase your chances of making a comfortable living 10 to 20 years down the road? INFJs should and need to consider these options as early as possible in their career planning so they have more options in a hectic and unstable economy.
  • Competition – how competitive are the career fields you are considering? Most INFJs love psychology but unless you specialize it is a fairly competitive field to enter into even with a masters. Consider other types of psychology fields that are less competitive like sports psychology or industrial psychology, etc. In order to edge the competition; do research into niche fields that are not widely recognized or advertized. Try your best to not follow the herd if possible.
  • Research – there should be 2 types of very important research needs to be done by INFJs if they are undecided on careers:



  1. Shadow a professional in their work environment for few days to get a clear idea of that career field and ask lots of questions. If that is not possible; find professional career forums in a particular field you are considering and browse their forums. Read about the job satisfaction; issues those professionals face, how much they make, etc and see if anything you find appeals or discourages your interests.
  2. Go and experience them yourself. Internships and volunteer experiences will shed light on certain careers. There are lots of resources to consider when researching a career. This experience will be better than asking people what you should do as a career from people that does not know you on the internet.

Final Advice:

My final advice is to choose careers that takes into the INFJ personality career parameters I discussed earlier with that of the realistic career changes that are happening worldwide. Find a good balance where an INFJs natural tendencies are honored as well as the ability to thrive in career fields that are going to grow and expand in the future. Don’t be afraid to explore unkown career niches and also to expand your knowledge with a higher educational degrees.

Also follow your GOALS not your passions. Goals in a nutshell will entail the type of lifestyle you wish to live. Consider all the details of this lifestyle and what you will or will not do to make it happen. 

Passion and interest can bring joy into our lives but they do not always translate into a well paying and flexible career that can cater to the INFJ personality. Unless you are super talented in your chosen field and have the time and resources to make your dream a reality then good luck to you. Most people can benefit from a stable and comfortable careers that gives them 70% to 80% fulfillment and satisfaction in life while also giving them time to explore and pursue their hobbies and interests on the side as well as providing for their families and living expenses. Understand that your life circumstances and needs will be different when you are in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and making sound decisions based on these considerations can save some people a lot of headache and pain later in life. 

I wish I could figure out who wrote that, I can’t determine the person behind the profile, but I want to send them a whopping THANK YOU.

Now, despite the puttytribe being one example of how it’s not necessarily true that there is a defacto “scanner type”, perhaps INFJs go a little deeper on feeling/experiencing the difficulties outlined. I also think it gives a lot of great insight and advice to anyone experiencing those issues, arguably better than my own recent attempt. Some of those answers I figured out on my own through years of trial and error, and frustration.

Sometimes we get lucky and we find the pivotal answers we seek early in our search, other times we may be looking for years or decades until I we find that “aha!” piece of wisdom or insight. I’ve found some answers quickly, and others much later. But between the faster answers and the more delayed ones, I’ve managed to do alright on the overall. It has just taught me to keep reading, exploring, asking questions, and getting better at figuring out what leads to follow and which ones will trail off.

It doesn’t hurt that I know at least a few other people doing the same kind of thing. I’d say at least 80% of the things I post about on here are things that friends of mine or people I know, share, that I read and think are worth sharing here as well.

Here is the shorter version, directed at the poster of the original thread:

I’m going to tell you something that I wish someone told me seven years ago. You don’t “find” passion. You cultivate it. There is no such thing as the ‘right’ career for you and there’s no destiny or personality theory litmus test involved in the process. You can find something you love in every single one of those choices, just as you’ll find something you’ll hate in each. No job is perfect. What it all comes down to is which one of these careers is going to give you the practical means to lead the lifestyle you want. Start with the basic parameters. Consider the salary you’d like to make (how much money would you need per year to be comfortable?), the amount of hours you’d work, the training it’d take, the environment you’d work in, or whether or not you’d be comfortable living out in the wilderness for x number of months in a year away from family and friends (such as is the case with field work in geology). Do you want to settle down and have a family one day? How much will your job depend on networking? How much will licensing cost per year? Is there a future in the industry? 

At this point you also need to consider all that you know about yourself by now. If you have learned that you’re not a self-starter and you can’t function without structure or a steady pay-cheque, you’re probably not going to do well in a freelance position. If you’re not comfortable helping people, as you said, well, you won’t be all to happy in a teaching or service position. If you’re not a risk-taker/very sensitive to rejection, don’t go into sales. 

What I would do in your shoes is that I would interview as many people as possible who work in each of those fields. Ask them pro’s and con’s. Amass a huge list of information and differing perspectives. There is just no substitute for talking to someone who has been there, done that and who has insider knowledge into what it’s like to be in the field–but make sure you ask a variety of people so you’re not getting just one individual bias. 

At the end of the day, however, keep in mind that a job is a job and that’s where you have to do a cost-benefit analysis and figure out what sorts of things you can live with and what sorts of things you absolutely cannot compromise. One way or another we all have to work, we all have to pay the bills. I’m not saying that you should go for the job that pays the most… but at the same time, I kind of am. So long as you can marginally stand it, it will at least allow you to enjoy life outside of work.

For INFJs and Scanners alike, I feel like those 4 paragraphs kind of nail it on the head.

I will say, I also regularly enjoy reading www.reddit.com/r/infj. The questions – and answers – tend to be very thoughtful, honest, and insightful. Even if you aren’t an INFJ, if you want to learn about self-awareness and see how people who are really tuned into themselves think and act, that’s a great place to do some reading. People also go there to ask for advice, either if their partner is an INFJ and confusing/frustrating them, or if they are INFJ and struggling with their non INFJ partner.

Actually, it just occured to me – I’ve always strongly related to the traits bestowed onto people who are Pisces. But Astrology is basically bunk, so I had to accept that years ago. It only just hit me, that many of the same traits attributed to INFJs are also attributed to Pisceans. Huh.

So, whoever searched for my blog with that search term, I hope you found some answers. Next time, this post will be ready and waiting to hopefully give you some.

Are you a scanner? You might be a scanner.

I guess I should have done this post a while ago, seeing as it’s a large part of why this blog exists at all.

What is a scanner? Well, that’s just one name for it. The name “scanner” was coined by Barbara Sher in her book “Refuse to Choose”. Others include Renaissance Soul (by Margaret Lobenstine), Multipotentialite (from Emilie Wapnick) and the classical term Polymath, which originated during the Renaissance. I prefer scanner because it’s the shortest, easiest to say, and invokes the least amount of confusion in people not familiar with the concept.

[Update 1 – June 21, 2014 – I’ve come across data that refutes the validity of the MBTI system, so the reference to INFJ in this post isn’t as relevant anymore]

[Update 2 – Aug 15, 2016 – I have started a new project that if you enjoy this blog post you’ll likely be interested to check out – The Most Interesting Thing Project. Weekly blog post with new interesting facts, and a bi-weekly video talk show episode with interesting guests]

A scanner is a personality type, basically you are interested in many things that may or may not be related, and you have a strong desire to just keep learning (and trying) everything you can. Whether that’s learning new skills, new concepts, or even just learning more about yourself.

The best description/breakdown I have seen of this comes from Joanne Munro’s Career Pioneers blog:

Simply put, Scanner Personalities are people who either have so many interests they find it impossible to decide on just one career – so they don’t make any decision at all for fear of making the wrong choice, or they have lots of projects on the go but seldom finish any of them before they lose interest and move on to the next project.

Scanners are interested in multiple things, they love learning, their brains work very fast, and they are constantly scanning the horizon for new things.

Scanner Personality Traits (from Scanner Central)

  • You have creative ideas all the time, whether it’s for a book, a TV show, an art project, a website, a business, starting a movement, creating a brand, or writing a bestseller
  • You love to learn about new subjects and ideas and then quickly move on to something else
  • You have loads of seemingly unrelated interests
  • Trying to choose between all your ideas, interests and projects stresses you out
  • The thought of concentrating on one job or business for the rest of your life horrifies you
  • You start lots of projects but don’t always finish them before you get into something else

Common problems for Scanners are a reluctance to commit to just one thing for fear of making the wrong choice, and not finishing projects. An analogy I love is comparing Scanners to honey bees. Their purpose it to move from flower to flower getting pollen. They stay at each flower just long enough to get what they came for and nobody can tell them when they should be finished because only the bee knows when it is done.

I only discovered the concept last August (2013), a friend of mine was reading Barbara Sher’s book and told me about it. She was correct in thinking that since her and I are very alike, that I was probably a scanner too. I have since bought and read both books as well as Emilie Wapnick’s “Renaissance Business” – the ultimate impetus for this blog’s birth. Though I don’t currently plan to make this a business, it’s more of a community service.

Discovering this Scanner thing however, was a huge epiphany for me. I’d struggled my whole life professionally because I could never find anything that I enjoyed doing consistently for more than 2 or 3 years maximum in a stretch, and this helped explain why. I mean, I’ve been a musician for nearly 13 years now and have always enjoyed that, but I figured out when I went to school for music business, that it wasn’t going to work for me as a career. Basically, nothing that I find truly fun or interesting, is viable as a career for me, because once someone is telling me what and how to do it, it stops being fun. So I have LOTS of hobbies.

The list of “Careers” I’ve attempted to pursue is long and varied. I’ve only settled on something now out of pure necessity, but I still have several side projects on the go regularly. I did however come up with a brief list for reference:

As a child/kid I wanted to be:
-Astronaut
-—Fireman
-—Police Officer
-Hockey Goaltender (but I sucked)

As a teen/young adult (16-24):
—-Web/Graphic Designer
-—Video Game Programmer
-Music Producer/Audio Engineer

In the last few years:
—-Engineer/Scientist
—-Public Speaker
-Author/Journalist
-Actor/Stand-Up Comedian
—-Board Game Designer
-Psychologist/Neurologist

I’ve been to college 3 different times, for multimedia design, for entertainment administration and for business/finance.

I figured out before I learned of the scanner thing, that I had become a fast learner and a good self-study (or “autodidact”). I figured this out largely due to my rapid success with learning a second language a year ago. And then I taught myself how to use WordPress to make a fancy blog. And this site is clearly an example of the breadth and depth of information I absorb on a weekly basis. I’ve even been complimented that my blog is not boring because of the range of things I post about. Unsurprisingly, I spend a lot of time on wikipedia and google.

So, if you identify as a scanner (or whatever term you prefer), and have been struggling, what should you do? Well, I’m not sure how good of advice I can give, since I’m not necessarily a “Scanner success story”, but i’m figuring it out and doing alright for myself. I’ve done my best to find a way to make my scanner powers work for me (it’s tricky but doable), but I will say that Emilie Wapnick is the only one I think I’ve seen so far who has actually worked to build a supportive community. She created The Puttytribe, which is an offshoot of her blog Puttylike, and wrote “Renaissance Business” which is geared towards trying to help you make a business out of your passions, however eclectic they might be.

The Puttytribe is a gathering place for Multipotentialite with a variety of forums, and they do regular google hangouts and every few months they do a “Puttython”, which is basically a 2 day extravaganza for all “puttypeeps” to tackle some projects that have been on hold. I started this blog as part of the last Puttython. The tribe is really enthusiastic and helpful, of course many of them do run a renaissance business to satisfy their scanner needs. Pro tip – Puttytribe lets new members in for free for one day once every month. Watch puttylike.com for heads up on when that is. I believe you would have to pay starting month #2, but it’s certainly not uber expensive. You can also find a link to buy her book “Renaissance Business” on the site.

I don’t know that I want to try and make this into a business. I just like writing, curating interesting stuff, and my hope is that as more people find this blog, they comment on what is interesting to them, and share resources that they have found that relate. After all, I’ve got quite a bit of stuff on the resources page already, and I keep adding to it.

So, think of this site as kind of a journal, for scanners, by a scanner. Admittedly there are some things I am not (and may never be) interested in that you are, but if you enjoy learning and reading about all kinds of different things, I’m sure you’ll still enjoy this blog.

I am starting to look at ideas for more original posts, “helper” posts as it were (like my help learning a language or help learning wordpress or what’s the deal with polyamory ones), because I do enjoy researching a bunch of options, or research an issue or topic, and then do kind of a report on it to help you know what you need to know and where to start. I guess that is one strength of mine, absorbing a lot of info and then curating the most relevant and important bits and spitting them back out. But again, if someone tells me what to research and how to write it, I don’t want to. Fortunately I have a day job that pays the bills and isn’t completely awful! 🙂

Between “Refuse to Choose” and “Renaissance Soul”, I’d be more inclined to recommend the latter. Renaissance Soul features several exercises (kind of like the Renaissance Business book) to help you figure out what your top interests/values/passions are and tries to help steer you towards those to try and get you focused on a handful of hobbies that you can hopefully parlay into a job or career. Both books serve to try and calm the anxious scanner and provide examples that “it’s not too late” and to talk you off the ledge if you feel overwhelmed by everything. Refuse to Choose’s second half is just about different types of scanners (yes, Barbara breaks it down into multiple types!). So between the two books you get plenty of life coach type advice, you can figure out your “type” (if so you desire) and you get exercises and examples to help you direct yourself better towards a more unified goal. “Renaissance Business” is recommended if you want to go the modern, sophisticated DIY route and start your own web business. Or, like with me, it might just help you figure out a new passion project that you will really love doing and can pool more of your interests into, perhaps bringing together energy that was previously going to several other outlets, into one single one.

Refuse to Choose:
-life coach advice for scanners
-scanner sub-types (like subgenres of music)
-examples of possible scanner careers

Renaissance Soul:
-life coach advice for renaissance souls
-exercises to help unify your thinking (very helpful)
-examples of possible renaissance soul careers

Renaissance Business:
-exercises and advice for starting a web-based business around your multipotentialite passions

PuttyTribe:
-a community for Scanner/Renaissance Soul/Multipotentialites, either just to talk, to share resources, to ask for tips or advice, to network, and to help with goal accountability.

Another Blog post I’ve written more recently: “The Never-Ending Career/Major Dilemma” aka INFJ problems, aka Scanner problems

I also recommend a few other books such as “The E Myth” about starting your own business, Tim Ferriss’ book “Four Hour Workweek” on productivity and lifestyle design/career hacking, and have been recommended some other books. There is also one called “The $100 start up” that I’ve been meaning to pick up.

UPDATE: Here is my presentation from Nerd Nite Toronto, on the subject of being a Scanner/Polymath:

 

Here is my latest project:

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