We multipotentialites at any given time have a multitude of varied interests and passions swirling around us like so many planets in orbit.
As the New Year begins, we might be looking over our interests, maybe with delight, maybe with excitement and anticipation, but also maybe with a little bit of overwhelm (okay, a lot), and possibly some dread.
There are so many and we want to do them all. But it feels almost impossible to do All The Things. Well, that’s because we can’t actually do All The Things.
We are still human, with human lives that require maintenance: of self, logistics, relationships. We might have twenty interests in the pipe, but really, we can’t do those twenty. At least not well.
But maybe, we could pull off three. Or five. Which means then we are faced with the Multipod Anathema – The Choice. But isn’t being a multipotentialite about “refusing to choose”? The late great Barbara Sher even wrote a book for Scanners called Refuse to Choose.
We Still Gotta “Choose”
However, even Barbara Sher, who had studied multipotentiality for most of her life, knew that we must pare down. We want to choose those things that give us delight, engagement, and depth. And while these primary choices may change, and even quickly, we still can only juggle several at a time.
But what to do with those other clamoring interests? They want their time in the open, to be useful, to be engaged. They are so loud sometimes, that it is hard to focus on the ideas and passions we’ve selected as current primary.
In Refuse to Choose, Barbara Sher offers up a fabulous tool that allows us to collect and honor those other ideas.
The Scanner Daybook
She suggests using a journal to record all our awesome Scanner stuff, including all our interests, thoughts, passions, and wonderful crazy ideas. I highly recommend reading through pages 11 – 20 in Refuse to Choose for more details, but here are the basics.
- Buy a beautiful journal. I have two. A larger unlined Daybook that stays at home and a smaller one that travels in my pocket. For some reason, I find it faster to scribble something down in that rather than my phone.
- Get some fun, creative accessories. A favored writing pen, colored implements, stickers, anything to bling it up.
- Set it up! Make the first page your cover page, date it, say what it’s for (I decorated crazily with a bunch of totally strange and unrelated stickers and drawings all around it my title).
Now, for each of your ideas and interests, you’ll devote two pages in which you will detail that idea or interest to the fullest. And I mean really get into it.
- If it’s an idea, write it out like you were going to go through with it.
- If it’s an interest, describe it in and out, down to the smallest details.
Really think about it and devote those two pages (if you need more, go for it) to your idea. Write, draw, tape in pictures, be creative. Savor the creation, the description, the fullness of it. Let your idea, your interest live and breathe on these pages.
Go wild. Fill in with as many of your clamoring interests as you can, even the primary chosen ones. No matter how “crazy” or “weird” the idea, write it out without judgement.
For example, here is my “Coma Vacations” entry as an example. I leave a larger margin to add notes later if I need to. Sometimes I might sketch or add stickers or tape in cut-outs. Sometimes, I get even more detailed than this, laying out what might be needed to actually create such a crazy idea.
A Place of Their Own
And when you’re done, tell your interests that they get to be here, available at any time. Close the book and with great love and honoring, put it in a special place.
Whenever you have a new idea, enter it in your Scanner Daybook. Occasionally take down your book and look through it. Let those interests and ideas know they are always there and they are wanted.
As you give an intentional place for your interests to live, you might find that their clamoring becomes less. They know they are loved and honored and safely collected.
In this way, you don’t have to make the kind of choice that means the “death” of your interests (setting aside in a way that they are forgotten), but that you can still really give them the space they deserve without them getting into the space that you deserve – freedom to focus where you choose.