Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher (Rodale, 2007) was written just for me, although I don’t know Barbara Sher and haven’t taken any of her workshops, (but I did read her book Wishcraft a long time ago).
I believe it was just yesterday that I bought Refuse to Choose. It was brand new at the time. But the publishing date says 2007. Where did the time go?
Where did the book go in the last 3-4 years? On my shelf with a lot of other unread books and unfinished projects.
If this sound like you, then this book was written just for you too!
One of the things I love about teaching is that I get to consistently learn new things. I’m very diverse — a renaissance woman — and so lots of things interest me. I say that in an apologetic sort of way, because I’ve always thought that I should have one career — something that I work at forever and become the grand master of. That’s what everyone else seems to have.
Trouble is, I want more than one focus in my life. Sher’s book shows me that this wish is not unusual, and in fact, there are lots of people just like me out there.
Unfortunately, if we’re frustrated with ourselves because we can’t choose, it’s probably because someone told us that we had to throw out our other interests in pursuit of one main thing.
And that’s not true. I have to admit, I did open this book and start reading in 2007. But then I shut it because I was worried I’d have so many more interests than I already do. I should have kept reading.
Sher gives strategies for pursuing your interests one step at a time. She supports creative individuals in their quest for happiness. She makes me feel like I’m just fine the way I am — I only need a plan and organization.
She labels people like me as a “scanner”. Like scanning the horizon for the next interest. She also explains that we’re like bees. We are drawn to the nectar that comes from several different flowers, rather than the flower itself.
One of the best ideas (and there are many in this book) is to create a scanner daybook. In there you write the ideas you come up with, explore them on paper and in person if you wish, and then make notes.
Much like da Vinci’s notebook, your scanner daybook may contain things that never get finished, that have nothing to do with your main job, or that you may never even explore in any depth.
By writing them down and giving yourself permission to have this interest, you may achieve the knowledge or experience that you really wanted in the first place, and you should consider this book a record of your success. Even if you didn’t finish the project. Even if you decided you didn’t even want to start the project. Capture your ideas, and look back at what you have learned from exploring them.
Chances are, your ideas may lead you to a truer life path, an amazing invention, or just let you know that you don’t have to finish every project you start.
I could go on and on about the strategies in this book. I could write a post about it every day for 30 days. But I want to get started on my idea book/scanner daybook! So check it out if you have a chance. And let me know what you think about it!