In Barbara Sher’s book Refuse to Choose she shows those of us who want to be travel writers, entrepreneurs, and trial attorneys while knitting sweaters, mastering yoga, capoeira and kiteboarding, all while dressing fashionably, and bringing about universal peace (guilty as charged) that instead of agonizing over finding our “one true passion,” we should actually refuse to choose and do it all. Scanners aren’t lazy or stupid, she says; they’re uniquely gifted individuals.
The book offers tips & exercises to help scanners find their way and create joyful, interesting & challenging lives.
Refuse to Choose is written in broad strokes–general & inspirational. The advice is a fantastic starting point. It’s a reminder that you don’t have to turn your life upside down, quit your job, or move to an ashram to start making these passions part of your life.
Granted, you have to be incredibly bold, ingenious and intuitive and lucky to be one of those ultra-wealthy lifetsyle-design scanners in the tradition of Tim Ferriss. You need to be able to plan, push yourself, and figure out ways to ride the waves of waxing and waning interest, scanner or not. Reading this book will not make you Tim Ferriss. Some of the vignettes involve people who work as secretaries so that they can spend free evenings and weekends sitting under a tree reading 19th-century literature.
But that’s not the point, my friends. Not every scanner needs to be Tim Ferriss. A lot of people would be very happy simply realizing that they can learn Italian instead of reading People Magazine on the commuter train. Even if they never end up on the total-freedom-lifetstyle design track, their lives are more interesting and enriched for that decision.
Regardless of what your endgame is; lifestyle-design mogul-dom or adding a little more joy to your life, you have to start somewhere. And if you think your only option is to put your entire life on hold before you start–quitting your job, waiting till the kids go off to college–you’ll never start. Sure, it’s harder to orchestrate doing ten million things at once and even harder to roll them all into a profitable, pleasurable lifestyle. But it can be done.
Verdict: Add it to your bookshelf. Read for inspiration & then do your homework.
Ladypants Tip: Instead of keeping 20-30 binders for each of your projects as Sher suggests, keep 20-30 notebooks on Evernote. So much more portable!