Refuse to Choose

For any of you despairing that you will never be able to decide your life purpose I have good news. Two separate sources suggest that you don't have to. Refuse To Choose by Barbara Kerr and Multipreneuring by Tom Gorman both suggest that you can have multiple career paths either serially or in parallel. Multipreneuring has many interesting ideas but I was left wondering if its just a copout for not finding your passion.

Refuse To Choose, on the other hand, takes an almost militant stance against forcing people to choose one life purpose. Ms Sher suggests that specialization is a recent trend. Moreover, language is powerful and the old saying, "jack of all trades, master of none" seductively but wrongly, deters people from pursuing multiple passions. After reading just a few pages of Ms Sher's book, readers will laugh at the idea of bullying people into pursue just one passion. A friend of mine began reading the book at a local bookshop and was embarassed when his eyes welled up in recognition of himself.

Ms Sher even suggests that narrowing your choices down to a single passion or purpose becomes even more difficult the more intelligent one is. Wouldn't that be an irony? She introduces the word 'scanner' to describe a person who wilts under the mundanity of a single pursuit

Refuse To Choose identifies several personality types that need, to a more or less degree, to undertake mulltiple pursuits and gives them memorable names:

Ms Sher defines two broad categories of scanners:

  1. Cyclical Scanners - repeatedly return to previous passions
  2. Sequential Scanners who do one thing intensely for a while, then tire of it and move on

Each broad category has its own variations. Three variations: Double Agents who only need two pursuits, Sybils (named after the famous multiple-personality case) who need many pusuits and Plate Spinners who are happiest doing several things simultaneously are all Cyclical Scanners. The large Sequential Scanner category, one the other hand, has six variations: Serial Speclialists, Serial Masters, Jack-of-All-Trades, Wanderers, Samplers and High-Speed Indecisives. Refuse To Choose has separate, specific tools, techniques and mindsets for each of the nine variations. The Scanner hierarchy looks like this:

  • Cyclical Scanners
    • Double Agents
    • Sybils
    • Plate Spinners
  • Sequential Scanners
    • Serial Speclialists
    • Serial Masters
    • Jack-of-All-Trades
    • Wanderers
    • Samplers
    • High-Speed Indecisives

Here are summarized versions of the descriptions and special instructions for each of the three Cyclical Scanner variations

Double Agents would love to be two people and have two full lives.

Sybils long for many, varied full lives and love revelations and insights.

Plate Spinners enjoy doing many projects at once and solve problems easily.

Here are summarized versions of the description and special instructions for each of the six Sequential Scanner variations

Serial Speclialists immerse themselves deeply and for a long time in a single pursuit.

Serial Masters similar to Serial Specialists but will tackle deep pursuits like music, martial arts, chess...

Jack-of-All-Trades are good at many, many things and considered capable and useful to employers, family, neighbors.

Wanderers love adventure and the new, often change jobs, find fascination in everything.

Samplers want to experience everything and learn best by doing.

High-Speed Indecisives grasp ideas quickly, find it difficult to conform, bite off more than they can chew.

Add new comment