11 February 2013

Renaissance soul or dabbler?

(Monday Musings)

Once you discover your passion, we're told, everything else will fall into place, whether it’s your career, your ministry, your blog or your purpose in life. Knowing what motivates and inspires you at the deepest level will enable you to achieve great things and experience boundless joy and satisfaction. You’ll be in harmony with the universe/God/your inner being. Or something like that.

But what if you have many passions? Or serial passions? What if your greatest passion seems to change from one week to the next? The usual response is “You just haven’t looked hard enough. You’ll know it when you find it.”

Career counsellor Barbara Sher has a different answer. In a book titled “Refuse to Choose” she describes what she calls ‘scanners’. Scanners are people who have multiple interests and gifts. Their ‘passion’ is discovering new things, mastering new skills. They tend to move from one career to another, one hobby to another, or cycle through a long list of obsessions. Being called to settle for just one thing, either as a career choice, a life purpose or a spare time activity, produces acute anxiety.

Margaret Lobenstine refers to these people as Renaissance Souls. She likens them to Leonardo da Vinci, who turned his mind to a multitude of interests and seldom finished anything. As someone who is heading for retirement still trying to decide what to do when I grow up, and wondering if I’ll live long enough to read all the books on my reading list and finish all the projects in my cupboard, I like the idea of being a Renaissance Soul. No-one wants to be known as a dabbler, and 'scanner' sounds too much like a useful but boring piece of technology. But Renaissance Soul will do for me.

However, being a Renaissance Soul makes for a messy blog. Just looking at the tags on the left suggests I can’t make up my mind about what the purpose of this blog should be. What do advertising, the Trinity and the Hubble telescope have in common? Having no real focus makes it difficult to decide what to write. So I’m going to try to be a little more disciplined, and focus on one main area for each day of the week. Monday is for musings, Tuesday for tips, Wednesday for …. well, if I get that far you’ll see.

photo by Bert Kauffman on Flickr

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