What I Have in Common with Leonardo da Vinci


in Creativity,Happiness

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my “squirminess”when people were asking me to define my “one thing.” And, even though I arrived at the conclusion that I didn’t want to, I still quietly fussed and bothered about it.

I even considered whether my virtual presence as “a multitude of things” was wrong. After all, most experts suggest that you find a niche and stick with it. That’s the way you build a following, a tribe, a purpose, a business, an income, a life. That’s just the way you do it.

Unfortunately, it has never been the way I’ve done anything. I am enchanted with ideas. Possibilities. Creating. Learning as much about one thing as I want until I am ready to learn or try something else.

Hardly niche-building.

Except that maybe it is.

Thanks to a tip from a friend, I stumbled on to Barbara Sher’s book, Refuse to Choose. I’m only part of the way through the book but feel as if I have found a home. As if I have been seen.

Sher calls people with multitudes of ideas, talents, and interests “scanners.” Scanners love to “read and write, fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and to sing, and to create the perfect dinner party.”

That is me. (Except perhaps the part about singing!)

Sher mentions that it is only relatively recently in our society that we’ve discounted the virtues associated with having many talents, interests, and ideas. Starting in the 1950’s, she says, everything became about specialization as countries such as the United States focused on technological advances.

Prior to that time, well-rounded “renaissance” people were valued and no-one thought it was abnormal to explore a variety of different subjects and interests. Think Aristotle. Goethe. Benjamin Franklin. Leonardo da Vinci. And on and on.

People who built their lives and living around a multitude of things.

I think I feel a niche coming on.

Thank you, Barbara Sher.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita April 1, 2011 at

Thanks for this post, Andrea. I’ve been feeling some of this myself. My blog is about a bunch of different stuff, and I’ve been wondering if that is to its detriment. I’m sure it makes building an audience more challenging. However, I’m interested in what I’m interested in–which is a lot of things. Thanks for the reminder that there’s an upside to being a bit of a dilettante.
Rita recently posted..Some day wasn’t today- Gratitude 33031


Andrea April 1, 2011 at

There’s definitely an upside, Rita. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out. :)


Kellie J. Walker (@YourLifeInGear) April 1, 2011 at

I’m so glad you found Barbara Sher, Andrea. She gives everyone permission to just be who they are and do what they love, which is an amazing thing.

So, you go on loving all of yourself and sharing whatever draws your eye and your heart with the world.




Andrea April 1, 2011 at

Thanks, Kellie!! I appreciate your kind words and look forward to seeing more of your posts on scanners!


Beth Buelow, ACC, The Introvert Entrepreneur April 1, 2011 at

Woohoo! So wonderful that you found this affirmation of what you already knew: that your curiosity and “refuse to choose” personality is an asset. There are probably lots of unaware scanners who suffer because they are constantly trying to find that professional “soul mate,” and they stay in a dysfunctional “marriage” for too long because that’s what they’re “supposed” to do! Phooey on that! Information is power, and it sounds like you’re armed with new information about yourself that’s going to benefit the world. How cool is that!? :-)
Beth Buelow, ACC, The Introvert Entrepreneur recently posted..Art of Relationship with Sarah Anma


Andrea April 1, 2011 at

Thanks, Beth! I’m so glad you tipped me off about Barbara’s book… things are bubbling… in a totally good way. Watch out world, is right!


Ronna April 1, 2011 at

You are a beautiful, natural, and oh-so-fabulous Scannette. I’m thinking of getting you a T-shirt or a baseball cap or your own wine label.

Stick with ALL that you love; all that you have the capacity and talent to offer. I am SO often the beneficiary of your passions and I want for nothing more than others to know the same.

And you can’t go wrong if aligned with Leonardo da Vinci. :)


Andrea April 2, 2011 at

LOL. I think you’ve got something with the wine label… Love that idea. I’m imagining…. Uh oh. There I go again. Thanks, Ronna!


Vanessa@Luxuria April 2, 2011 at

I’ve been meaning to buy that books for ages. You’ve just inspired me to do so. She has such fab books (I read Wishcraft).
I’m starting to wonder if I am also a “scanner”.
Lovely post Andrea.


Andrea April 2, 2011 at

Vanessa, I think you just might be given what I know about you. What fun! I’ll be interested to see what you think of the book.


Lisa Marie Tsering April 2, 2011 at

I am an entrepreneur, graphic designer, artist, mother, avid reader, inspired individual… and a scanner. Life is beautiful!


Andrea April 2, 2011 at

I’m with you, Lisa! Life is beautiful. Especially when we embrace all of the things we love. Thanks!


Lynn / Power Chicks May 4, 2011 at

When I learned of Barbara’s book, I felt enormous resonance. I’ve always called myself a “dabbler,” but to have this aspect of my personality confirmed … well, it was wonderful! So glad you’ve stumbled upon this concept as well. All the best, Andrea! Lynn


Andrea May 4, 2011 at

Thanks, Lynn! It was amazing to read about myself in the pages of her book. Very affirming and freeing. We should form a club … can you imagine the energy??


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