Can’t Focus? Maybe You’re a Scanner

At one point in my life, I really started to question whether or not I had ADHD. I literally could not get anything accomplished because I could not give one thing my attention for very long. I’d come up with an awesome idea, begin to work on it and right in the middle, I’d come up with a new, different, awesome idea, switch gears, and start to work on that. It was a vicious cycle that resulted in dozens of half completed projects and no real progress.

As I searched for answers and a cure, I came across something that surprised me. There are lots of people like this and they haven’t been diagnosed with any sort of disorder. I read a book by Barbara Sher, “Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams“. She suggests that some people are genetically wired to be interested in many different areas. She labels those who have this kind of mind as “Scanners”, people who scan the horizon, eager to explore everything that they see.

One thing that I’m grateful for is that I do have somewhat of a direction. I know that I have to write. My big problem came when I tried to decide what I should write about. I love fashion, but then I thought, maybe that’s not deep enough, I need to write about something meaningful like finding your purpose. I love technology, but I think I’d get bored if I wrote about it every day. I also wanted to write about dating and friendship and career and yoga and food…things started to get out of hand. I just couldn’t choose one.

Then, one day, I decided to stop fighting against my nature. I have lots of different interests. Why should I have to choose just one and be stuck with it forever? As it turns out, I don’t. I found this beautiful little niche they like to call “lifestyle” and wouldn’t you know that you can cram just about any topic into that category? Now, I get to write about pretty much anything that I want when the mood strikes me. Fashion today, love tomorrow, tech next week, spirituality next month, whatever I like, no compromising who I am. I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

If you think you’re a scanner, your best bet is to try to find some way to explore multiple things in your life. That could mean doing one thing as work and one thing as a hobby. It could mean finding a job that allows you to learn about a different industry every month. That could be having two or three different part-time jobs. It could be consulting part-time and teaching part-time and gardening in your spare time. It could be volunteering in some capacity. It’s all up to you. List out all of the things that you love and are interested in and brainstorm creative ways that you can fit all of those things into your life.

Don’t assume that something that is natural to your character or personality is a flaw just because it’s not what society demands of you. We are all different. We all have different paths. There is a need for every kind of person in this world. Embrace who you are and if you’re a scanner, don’t try to work around it, find a way to make it work for you.

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