Making a wonderful life as a scanner or renaissance soul

Now I understand that being able to do learn quickly and do many things is as valuable as doing one thing well.

You may have heard me speak before about scanners (aka multipotentialites, mulirenaissance souls, people who are into lots of things), but today I want to share some tips from people who identify as scanners on how they create wonderful lives to accommodate their unique way of being in the world.

I asked them “What have you learnt from Barbara Sher’s books/ from your own experiments with scanner living… which has made life as a scanner easier or generally better?”. Here is what they had to say:

“I’ve learned it’s okay to move on. I used to feel terribly guilty about getting bored with projects, work etc… Now I understand that being able to do learn quickly and do many things is as valuable as doing one thing well. I don’t move on too quickly, I push myself to complete some projects. But then I’m ready.” – Shimona Carvalho (from

I’m learning to be OK about who I am and how my brain works. I’ve felt a social pressure to identify an acceptable career path (no, you can’t be a surgeon because you’re a girl, no, not an engineer because you’re not strong enough, try again). Instead of chasing my own dreams I pushed them away because they were ‘wrong’. Being at home with the children has been challenging, but in a way, a chance for a new start.” – Caroline Finnigan (from

“I’ve learnt to mix and match any hobby, career, interest in a structure that suits me. Writing down all I’d like to do and knowing I can fit it all in to a 30+ yr calendar. That now (50+ yrs of age) is the best chapter in my life to do all I want.” – Marianne

“I’ve learned two things, first, I’m not alone. I felt so isolated in my flitting around from idea to idea. Her recounting of schedule of classes at college reminded me of when I got one and marked all the classes that sounded interesting. I would have used FAR less ink if I had just marked the ones I didn’t want to study. The other thing I learned was it didn’t have to be all of something. I could have a taste, a small piece of chocolate of my dreams. One moment of perfect beauty that can sustain me for a while. I juggle by accepting merely that I have many interests and that’s okay and it is a super hero power.” – Done Dennison

“I’ve learnt that: A. It’s okay not to finish things
B. It’s okay to finish something once in a while
C. It’s easier to do things if you don’t make a production out of it. Don’t try to plan a ginormous 200+ hour project. Just do _something_, some small part, for 5 minutes.
D. Uncover what it is about exploring different things that drives you to do it, and then think of ways to create value for other people while doing that. This isn’t easy, and it’s taken me 10+ years just to sort out what fascinates and motivates me no matter what the topic. Figuring out how to turn that into usefulness for other people, though… So far, it means getting to teach or coach others on what I learned. That also happens to fascinate and motivate me. It also means getting to the front of any trend so that I’m the first person occupying that space, such that I can lead it while it’s still a new thing to other people. Once the area gets flooded with other people who have this knowledge or skill, I can leave it to find something else that’s new and unoccupied and needs someone to pioneer.
E. It’s okay not to be an expert in a field if you know D because D cuts across any field, any market, any interest.” – Margaux Yiu (from

“What’s made things easier for me is knowing that there is nothing wrong with my losing interest in a subject once I got the hang of it. Also, I love to connect with like-minded people, which makes scanner groups so valuable—they are an awesome extension of Barbara’s books.” – Steffi from (from

“My life as a Scanner has been better to the core (since discovering Barbara’s books). To know that I‘m not a dysfunctional human being and that someone understand what it’s like to feel the way I feel with various interests. Not feeling guilty everday made life much better and easier. Then the solutions in the book for many aspects of Scanner life started to make sense. The Scanner daybook which keeps all the ideas without fear of loosing them has been a great tool, and now it’s no longer the proof of failure to execute ideas / source to feel guilty like before!” – Patrick 

Are you someone with multiple interests who loves to learn? Have you read any of Barbara Sher books? What have you learnt that helps you thrive as a multi passionate scanner? Let us know below! 

To read more of my musings about scanner life check out these blog posts:

What to do when you have too many ideas

What it feels like to be a scanner

And this interview with me by Terri Connellan on her blog ‘Quiet Life’

Embracing a creative life – a wholehearted story

Image credit: Pexels, artist unknown