In late December 2010, between Xmas and New Years, I was reading a book called Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. This book described me and my personality just perfectly. It said that I was a Scanner, that I liked or was interested in a lot of things and that I hated being tied down to just one career or area of interest because I might be missing out on something else. I was astounded. This was definitely me!! The book went on to describe the Scanner Personality in some detail.

Barbara Sher first coined the term Scanner in her 1994 book 'I Could do Anything If I only Knew what it Was', and then wrote 'Refuse to Choose' just for Scanners. She is an author and life coach, specialising in the Scanner Personality. Her books have sold millions of copies. She says that a scanner personality is hard-wired to have many passionate interests rather than just one single driving passion (which is what she calls a "diver" personality trait). Famous scanners include Leonardo da Vinci (artist and inventor, the original Renaissance Man) and Benjamin Franklin (writer, publisher, inventor, statesman among other things). Scanners living today may be considered to be unfocused dilettantes, or amateurs who starts many projects and who just can't finish anything. Not true! Scanners can not only do anything they want, they can do EVERYTHING they want!

First of all, you'll need to know what kind of scanner you are. In 'Refuse to Choose' Sher describes eleven different types of scanners, and shows each, how to have a rich and varied life. For example, a 'Plate Spinner' likes to be challenged by keeping many projects on the go at once - never feeling rushed or overwhelmed. A 'Serial Specialist' involves themself deeply in one area for many months at a time, only to suddenly up and change direction, to become a master of another field. A Cyclical scanner will cycle through several areas of interest, always coming back to revisit them every few months or years. I have discovered that I am a Cyclical Scanner. All of these people are scanners, but none of them would enjoy the other's lifestyle. Sher's book 'Refuse to Choose' shows each type of scanner how to identify which type they are (most people are a blend), and then describes tools and techniques to get them back into enjoying life, and maybe even finding a new career.

Refuse to Choose identifies people who have, "intense curiosity about numerous unrelated subjects," who "love to read and write, to fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing, and to create the perfect dinner party," as being Scanners, and that it is duty and privilege of said persons to not limit themselves by believing that they should just stick to one thing all their life. Scanners are encouraged to embrace their curiosity, inquisitiveness, and passion for learning just for the pure physical/mental/emotional pleasure that comes from it. and all this no matter if they don't get paid for it or if they can turn it into a life-long career. Sher suggests that Scanners keep, what she calls, a Scanner's Daybook, or a "place to capture your best ideas and also the tangents that pull you off those ideas," that are similar in style to Da Vinci's notebooks.

Once I began looking for my version of a daybook, I found Squidoo. Squidoo was a Scanners Dream. It was a place where I could write about all my many interests and passions and earn money at the same time. Two years later, I was becoming irritated by all the new restrictions that were being announced. The final straw came when Squidoo announced that lenses or pages were strongly recommended to have a sales unit near the top of the page, and that those lenses with sales units at the top would be seen and indexed much more favourably by Google. Now Squidoo was telling me how to design my pages? For two years, I had always put my sales units at the bottom of the page, so that I was not forcing my readers to read a sales pitch before they could read any further information. Any time I came across a lens with the sales unit at the top and therefore being pushed into my face, I never bothered to read that lens. This was the absolute last straw, and so in March 2013, I chose to leave. During my 2 years on Squidoo I made around 260 Lenses or pages on various different topics. It is ironic that less than 2 years after I left, Squidoo was sold to its biggest competitor - HubPages.

I still had the urge to write about all my various different interests and for a few months, I had a free website run by 000webhost for a while. Unfortunately I found their page templates too restrictive, so I continued looking. Finally in May 2014, I found Neocities. which allowed me to have total and complete control over the webpages I made, just like Geocities used to do back in the 1990's and early 2000s. I also liked their annual flat fee subscription so I paid to get a website with more space. The best decision I ever made. Now I have 10 GB of space with which to add many many more Pages. Neocities has now become MY Scanner Daybook!!!

One thing Barbara has repeated many times, is that "scanners love to learn and tend to need to be creative". I think my creativity comes from the urge to write, and that also feeds the need for me to teach, even though I have no formal teaching qualifications. So now I Write to Teach. Heck, I dont even have a degree!! But, as Barbara has said, many times,
If you feel a drive to constantly be feeding your mind and expressing or creating, rather than being 'satisfied' by a repetitive or regimented schedule or job... well then, that makes you a Scanner.

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