Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Crash Course in understanding the Polymath/Scanner personality

So - what is a Polymath? Polymath is Greek, and it's used to describe a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. Many ancient scientists were polymaths: take for instance Leonardo Da Vinci, who was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer.
Yes, he did all those things. Our world has been shaped by polymaths - but it is now a world that benefits "specialists" much more. All polymaths - and specialists- have heard: "You better decide what you want to do for the rest of your life!"
I cannot - and will not - choose.
When I read the opening chapter of Barbara Sher's book 'Refuse to Choose', I cried. She calls us "Scanners" - because we just seem to scan subjects, and put them down again. When I read it, everything suddenly became so clear. I started to embrace the way my brain works, and I tried to understand why I do what I do. I seem to have a different interest every week - it was so hard to decide what to do - not because there wasn't anything to do, but because there was SO MUCH that I liked, I found it too hard to choose.

I have hobbies: drawing, painting, crochet, cross-stitch, reading, writing, blogging, gardening, home brewing, home canning, jewelrymaking and cooking.

I also have Interests: Civil war history, Victorian England, Russian literature, Viking Era history and dress, Medieval history, Zen Buddhism, cake decorating, home decorating, general physics, the childfree lifestyle, survivalism/practical living skills, etc.

I also have what I call "passing in-depth studies" into a subject, where I'll suddenly get interested in it, read all about it, and then never look at it again...until someone mentions it in passing, and I can dig up some interesting facts (usually broad strokes, sometimes more deep understanding)at the drop of a hat. Subjects as diverse as KP (Keratosis Pilaris), circumcision, urban myths, etc.

None of these are full lists. If I sat down to write about everything that I have ever been interested in, it would be an awfully long blog post.
So - does this sound like you? You might want to read the first chapter of Refuse to Choose. Maybe then, you'll get some answers.

Welcome to my new blog - I'll try to update it weekly.

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