The other day I was listening to the “Happier With Gretchen Rubin” podcast (a favorite, by the way) and the topic was “Are You a Hedgehog or a Fox?”. She and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, discussed the idea that people can be divided into two groups – foxes and hedgehogs.
The Hedgehog and the Fox is an essay by Isaiah Berlin. The title refers to a line attributed to the Ancient Greek poet, Archilochus:
“a fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing”
Gretchen and Elizabeth put their own spin on it and describe the two groups like this:
The fox has lots of diverse interests.
The hedgehog is interested in one or two main things.
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Scanners love to read and write, to fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing, and to create the perfect dinner party. (You’ll notice I didn’t use the word “or,”because Scanners don’t love to do one thing or the other; they love them all.)
I’ll never forget how excited I was when I first heard about scanners. That’s me! I am interested in so. Many. Things.
- interior design
- health and nutrition
- all things French
- New Orleans
- green living and the environment
- style and fashion
And the list goes on. And on.
It can be hard for me to focus on any one thing for long because I’m constantly getting ideas for something else I want to do or learn or practice. No, I’m not A.D.D. and I can make myself finish whatever task is at hand. But there in the back of my mind are little thoughts flitting around like fireflies.
Hey, I should start a podcast!
I wonder if I can find a good YouTube video to teach me how to crochet.
I should sign up for an online course on philosophy.
I could put together a resource page about (any number of topics) for the blog.
And speaking of this blog…conventional wisdom is that bloggers should select a fairly specific niche and stick to it. Well, that’s just not going to happen here. While I do have a general focus on “creating a beautiful life”, I feel like that’s broad enough to include most anything I’m interested in. That’s why you’ll find recipes, homemaking tips, music, travel, books, and many other topics covered here. I realize that not everyone who reads Life With Dee will share all of my interests but most people ought to be interested in at least a few. And for those who prefer a narrow, single-topic blog there are many of those out there so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one or more which better suit them.
There was a time when people like me were admired. Consider Leonardo Da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man. While he is best known as an artist, he was also a scientist and an inventor.
An emphasis on liberal arts used to be a respected part of a university education but today many believe there should be a tighter focus on the skills which will lead to a job. And that’s not unreasonable considering the skyrocketing costs of college.
Of course we need people with a laser-like focus and the ability to reach high levels of expertise in their fields. Hedgehogs, if you will.
Still, there’s something to be said for foxes – those of us who seek knowledge and experience in a wide range of pursuits. And not just because we make great Trivial Pursuit partners. I found it very helpful when homeschooling my kids, especially since they both exhibit scanner tendencies, too. In fact, that is part of the reason we drifted into unschooling territory. We all simply found life way too interesting to be happy with any one curriculum source.
I think the reason I love blogging so much is because I can learn something new every day and there are so many aspects to it:
- web design
- social media
- graphic design
And so much more. I’m grateful every day that I am able to indulge my Renaissance soul and that y’all have decided to come along for the ride.
So, what about you? Are you a hedgehog or a fox?
“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all
the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” – John Burroughs
Fox clipart courtesy of EducationScotland.gov.uk
Hedgehog via WPClipart.com.