Cofrin Park

Cofrin Park
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Monday, November 28, 2011

"Refuse to Choose" Book Review, or How to Find your Callings, Design your Lifestyles and Build Careers




Barbara Sher's book Refuse to Choose jumped out at me from the library shelf one day, my mind quickly analyzing the title: "Refuse? To choose? Huh? I know I don't like to choose. I'm interested in pretty much everything! Is it o.k. to refuse to choose? What an interesting title. Bold." I'm a sucker for the subtitle too: You mean I get to use all my interests, passions, and hobbies to create a life and career of my dreams? What the hell are my interests and passions, anyway? I've had so many I forget them now. Ditto with the dreams. I sat down in the library chair and began reading.

Finally, someone who understands me! I knew I wasn't crazy, hazy or lazy! Eureka! I have a name, and that name is Scanner. Scanner is the name Barbara Sher tags those of us who find that doing the same thing or job for life, intolerably cruel and unusual punishment. Sher gives those of us who intuitively scan our horizon for the next new and exciting thing that piques our interest and sparks us into action, a reason to celebrate. No longer need we beat ourselves up for not picking one thing, job or idea and sticking with it to “completion.”

All these years thinking I had a defect, simply because I could not choose one or two things and stick with them! It sounds so easy, so why can’t I pick something? I secretly never wanted to leave college because I loved taking new classes every semester, learning exciting things, meeting new people from all over the world. I was in heaven.

We Scanners are the opposite of those who love to specialize in one or a few subjects, like scientists, for example. Why choose one thing, when there's a whole world out there to uncover and play with? To a Scanner, limiting oneself in that manner would be truly crazy. We love learning for learning's sake, and tend to go off on tangents. We stick with things just until we get what we were looking for, and then move on. It appears we do not "finish" things, according to the "real world;" but we DO finish, according to our internal navigation system that led us to a particular interest in the first place.

In a world that values specialists, our generalist natures may seem to hinder our attempts to fit in. This quandary has made us feel inadequate at best, undervalued and depressed at worst. We feel intensely guilt-ridden and abnormal because we have not been able to pick something and then stay the course.

Barbara Sher's work offers solutions for the Scanners' predicament.

In Refuse to Choose, Sher identifies individual types of Scanners, and provides a plan of action to unearth the treasures within each Scanner. Her tools and exercises help Scanners rediscover their unique talents and abilities, recognize the inherent value of those talents and abilities, categorize and catalogue them, and put them to use in a way that champions the Scanner personality. Sher defines different life style models, career suggestions and the specific tools that work best with each type of Scanner. Sher further demonstrates how Scanners can and do contribute to the world in meaningful and prosperous ways.

Finally, Sher invites Scanners to do their best work. Yes,that means picking one goal with a deadline and going for it, in order to experience the deep satisfaction that comes with the success of goal attainment. The Scanner then follows up by basking in that success before returning to "Scanner mode." Scanners learn to trust their Scanner nature while creating a lifestyle that fosters a body of works that they can share with pride.

Sher doesn't stop there. In addition to the tools in her many books, she has several websites, forums and a Facebook presence, hosts international workshops, and teaches and certifies others to lead workshops. Her programs have helped thousands create a life embracing financial prosperity, freedom from choosing in the traditional sense and freedom to celebrate how a perceived "flaw" is really a fascinating gift.

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