Saturday, March 13, 2010

I sometimes get complaints...

Almost all the letters I get from Scanners after reading Refuse To Choose (aka What Do I Do When I Want To Do Everything? in Australia, England & some other mystery locations) are heartwarming. You can see them over at if you read the reviews (my favorite reading on the internet - even for other people's books).

But sometimes I get cranky letters.

Now, I love Scanners. They've been horribly misunderstood and blamed themselves for being undisciplined or lazy, and there's nothing I love better than having them find out there's nothing wrong with them at all! Far from it. On a tip I was asked to search the internet for Gifted Adults and found a mass of psychiatric literature about people with the exact same characteristics as Scanners. That's good enough for me. I knew curiosity was a sign of intelligence, so I was halfway there already.

So when Scanners have problems I want to be the hero that can fix them. It's gratifying because I know they've been attacked and unable to defend themselves for a long time. And I know that, after a while, those attacks come from themselves. They beat themselves up because they can't 'stick to anything,' or 'give up when the hard work shows up.'

And I answer them by saying, 'Scanners don't find anything too hard to do except consent to be bored. When the learning ends, Scanners are finished and ready to leave. They're like designers. It's a bad use of their gifts to execute and maintain.'

And I can almost hear them breathe a sigh of relief.

But sometimes I get a letter from a reader that makes me think, Wait a minute. What did you read? The dust cover? I still try to help, but I can't resist twisting people's shorts, just a little.

Like this letter I got today:

On Mar 13, 2010, at 12:05 PM

City: Jackson
State: MI
Country: United States
Permission: OK to publish
Date: 3/13/2010 11:05:45 AM

Question: Hello, I just finished your book Refuse to Choose. I was stunned at the very beginning as I realized that I am a scanner. Problem is what the heck do I do with it? I started a day book but write down ideas I never intend to do anything with. I realize you say I don't have to but what's the point? I don't think I can exist on just ideas. I want to do something! I would like to find something to do that is fun and I can make money with it. I guess my dream is to be self-employed, being paid to do fun stuff, which for me lasts about 10 minutes. R.

So I answered:

From: Barbara Sher
Date: March 13, 2010 12:31:41 PM EST
To: R

Hi R.

You said: I don't think I can exist on just ideas. I want to do something!

Didn't you see the Epilogue: "Your Best Work" about how you should (and a step by step guide showing how you can) finish one important thing (even if you lose interest) and even throw a party for its completion?

You said: I would like to find something to do that is fun and I can make money with it.

Did you miss the many chapters that give you lists of ways the nine types of Scanners can earn an income and never get bored? To say nothing of Appendix A (with Jobs for people who love travel, to learn, to solve problems, to share ideas, etc. etc.) Or everyone's favorite: the LTTL System: Learn, Try, Teach, Leave.

You said: ... fun stuff...for me lasts about 10 minutes

Didn't you catch the part about 'The High-Speed Indecisives' who make loads of money having fun getting sales forces all excited about new items because they are -- for a short time -- all excited about these new items themselves?

Why do I get the feeling you didn't really read my book?
Or, you only read the beginning? Or just flipped through it?

Give it another try and send me some real questions, and maybe I'll be able to help.

Barbara Sher

Well, that's not so nice. But what the hell is the point of getting to be almost 75 if you can't smack somebody on the hand once in awhile?