Mini Newsletter for Scanners

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:15 pm

Got back from Greece and went on a tour of public tv stations, so I haven't had much time to address the Fall Scanner Seminar/Conference/Camp, etc. But during my visit to Greece, with the help of the Success Teams Director from Germany, Gudrun, I was able to walk through exactly what I'd like to do in the fall. I'm writing it up this weekend so Gudrun can send it out with her newsletter, and I'll send it out with mine as well (so make sure you're on the mailing list) but aside from the gorgeous (and perfect) locations for everything to happen, I came up with a program that includes morning and evening meetings and 5 'free' hours between lunch and dinner. I put quotes around the word 'free' because participants can do a number of things: they can walk on the beach, swim and think, or they can hang out with friends. They can present an hour-long teaching experience where they show anyone who's interested how to do something interesting (ballroom dancing, freeform knitting, zen drawing, computer/guitar/language etc.) --or they can be students in someone else's class. And they can spend an hour working on something they've been avoiding, something decided on before they come (so they have the materials) so they can finish something important and/or learn what kind of project structure is best for them. They can use the evening meeting to tell what they did and see if that's what they need to be productive in any way they want. Morning meetings will be all about what's in the book, but tailored to the participants' needs. (The group will be small, under 20 for sure). We'll be setting that up before you arrive, too. It's going to be a model for week-long seminars I plan to start running all over the world, for which I'll be charging about 3 times as much. Soon I'll be looking for hosts or sponsors in places like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Singapore who will put together the group in exchange for participating and perhaps being credentialed as Scanner Coaches. I'm stilll thinking about that. Any ideas or comments?
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What didn't get into Refuse to Choose

Postby BarbaraSher » Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:20 am

This got clipped from the book because of space, but I thought you should see it: APPENDIX C: What Some Very Smart People Say about Scanners \"My mother-in-law regularly tells me that it is not ability that counts, but stickability. I never know how to answer her.\" Scanners always seem to be on the losing end of a lot of criticism—and much of it has been internalized. Your critics are usually uninformed, but you shouldn’t be. Many excellent studies that vindicate Scanner behavior have come out in the past ten years and can be found in books and on the Internet. The research is about a whole range of issues that matter to you. Here’s a handy little reference guide to some very special people in your corner. If you feel foolish because you’re magnetized by mystery instead of being down-to-earth, you’re in good company. Here’s someone who felt the same way: \"The most beautiful thing is to gaze at a mystery and say why is this here? How does it work? The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. \" Albert Einstein. If you assume you need laser focus and a huge tolerance for tedium to be an authority in any field, lots of respected authorities would disagree. E.R. Curtius, world-renowned scholar of European literature who dedicated his life to writing his masterpiece, 'European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages', attributes the quality of his work to intuition, based purely on our deepest, most subjective feelings: \"Through loving and hating, all intuition and knowledge of value is built up…Applied to the method of scholarship, it means a flair for noticing that certain passages in a text are ‘important’—even if it is not yet clear why…The individual traits that matter cannot be sought out, they must flash upon the mind.\" E.R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, Bollingen Foundation (April, 1990), Intro, pg iii If you think your endless curiosity indicates some form of attention disorder, you might not know that curiosity indicates high intelligence. Psychologist K. Dabrowski, an authority in the field of gifted adults, finds “insatiable curiosity and endless learning” to be common traits among highly intelligent people: \"[Dabrowski] finds supersensitivity and highly developed perceptions in many highly intelligent people. He found the following: 'seemingly endless energy,' 'an extra measure of delight in the use of all the senses,' 'insatiable curiosity and endless learning,' 'daydreaming…visualizing.' \" Jacobsen, Mary Elaine, The Gifted Adult, New York: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (November 2, 1999) If you’ve been told that you get bored easily because you're lazy or there’s something wrong with you, it's important to realize that the contrary is probably true. The ability to be comfortable with rote tasks where there is nothing new to learn is uncommon in people with above-average intelligence. When educators J. Renzulli and T. Hartman try to identity gifted children, one of the characteristics they look for is boredom with routine tasks: \" [Renzulli and Hartman ] spot gifted children by looking for children who ‘see more’ in a story or film, ones who ‘read a lot’ and are ‘easily bored with routine tasks’.\" Jacobsen If your level of enthusiasm is often intense and you feel driven to explore a new interest, it’s not because you’re irresponsible or impulsive. The opposite may be true. \"The subconscious mind of the Everyday Genius is imprinted with a summons, an insistent call that something vital is yet to be discovered [and is pulled by] an intractable sense of urgency and accountability.\" Jacobsen If you were told that sooner or later you must stop playing and buckle down to work, whoever told you didn’t know about recent studies that show that the best work is done when the worker feels he’s playing. Brian Sutton-Smith, professor of education emeritus, University of Pennsylvania, even suggests that if work doesn’t feel like play, it’s bad for your mental health. \"The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression. To play is to act out and be willful, exultant and committed as if one is assured of one’s prospects.\" Jacobsen Educator Dr.Barbara Clark, author of 'Growing Up Gifted', finds that the triggering systems that shut the biochemical gates to optimal functioning are “boredom, threat, anxiety and sameness.” What opens the gates to optimal functioning? “Pleasure and challenge.” M.K, Streznewski, Gifted Grownups, pg 33 Streznewski adds: \"…it is difficult to describe the nameless fog that spreads throughout the perception system when, whatever the job situation, one tries to cope with repetitive tasks that provide nothing new.\" pg. 30 If you despair because you continually replace one passion with another, you should know that there's probably a biological basis for this attraction to novelty. Streznewski sees evidence that the deprivation of new interests can cause irreversible damage to your ability to learn and think: \"The brain/mind functions in a series of phases activated by the stimulation received from the environment…This system continually requires new content. New combinations of cell assemblies need to be formed for the brain/mind to stay organized and continue to function. Deprived of new content, brain activity begins to shut down…The person experiences a disruption in the ability to learn, even to think. Prolonged deprivation can result in irreversible damage. \" [pg. 26 What about careers? If you think the business world has no need for creative people, look again. Times have changed and now there are many alternatives to what one Scanner called “slow death by cubicle.” The research of economist Richard Florida who is regularly consulted by governors and mayors on local economic development, indicates the opposite: \"Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steelmaking. It determines where companies will choose to locate and grow and this …changes the ways cities must compete. \"The economic need for creativity has registered itself in the rise of a new class, which I call the Creative Class. Some 38 million Americans, 30 percent of all employed people, belong to this class…the core [includes] people in science, architecture and design, education…whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content… \"The key difference between the Creative Class and the other classes lies in what they are primarily paid to do. Those in the Working Class and the Service Class are primarily paid to execute according to plan, while those in the Creative Class are primarly paid to create and have considerably more autonomy… \"Another example is the secretary in today's pared-down offices. In many cases this person not only takes on a host of tasks once performed by a large secretarial staff, but becomes a true office manager—channeling flows of information, devising and setting up new systems, often making key decisions on the fly. These people contribute more than intelligence or computer skills. They add creative value.\" Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class, Journalist Daniel Pink, author and analyst of commercial and social trends who writes on economic transformation and business strategy in the New York Times and the Harvard Business Review, confirms Florida’s findings: \"Because of globalization, technology and other forces, we are entering a new age. It is an age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life—one that prizes…'high concept' and 'high touch.' High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction…' \"As one gaming columnist writes: ‘Changes in the way games are built indicate less of a future demand for coders, but more of a demand for artists, producers, story tellers and designers…’\" Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind So, if you're getting a lot of flak from people who don't know about all this, print out this post, hand it to your critics, saying, \"Here, put that in your pipe and smoke it!\" and walk away, holding your Scanner head high. :-)
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Postby BarbaraSher » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:31 am

Just in case you aren't on my little mailing list for Scanners (or my big one for everyone) and just in case you want to see what I just sent out: From: Barbara Sher [] Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 1:26 PM To: Barbara Sher Subject: Barbara Sher's Scanner Retreat in Puglia, Italy Hello Fellow Scanner First things first: if your name is on this Scanner Retreat list accidentally, please let me know so I can take you off. Apologies, but I'm trying to make sure I don't disappoint anyone who has sent an inquiry. If you've already been to a Scanner Retreat I'm including you just in case, because I've already got 3 signups from other grads of the Corfu Retreats! If you receive more than one copy please understand I'm micro-managing this project using my own peculiar filing system for inquiries and I'm not really good at this stuff, so have mercy. Okay, here we go. You've inquired about the September Scanner Retreat in Puglia, Italy and I want to remind you that the Early Bird discount of $400 will end on Sunday, July 15, at midnight. Also, I'm sending you an FAQ to answer questions you've asked. If you've already gotten one, read it anyway because I keep adding things as people ask new, really good questions. Finally, I'm considering one change in the retreat that you should know about: adding a free day. I'll be sending this idea to the 10 people who have already signed up as well. (There are presently 5 spaces left): ADDING A FREE DAY TO THE RETREAT I'm thinking of extending the length of the retreat by having a free day in the middle. As it stands now, you will arrive on Wednesday, September 26, and the first lecture will be held that evening. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday I had planned to have morning and afternoon sessions, holding the final session on Sunday morning, Sept 30. Now I'd like to make Saturday a free day for all of you. You can wander through the Masseria gardens or the olive groves, thinking or writing, or visit Ostuni or perhaps persuade Matt to schedule the half-day trip for that time. After running 3 retreats I think you might want some time away from learning new things to let your new discoveries, perspective and plans sink in and shift around. That way we'd have a full day Sunday to take care of anything that came up. I'd hold morning and evening sessions on that day and we'd have our final session on Monday morning, October 1, at which time you'd be free to leave for home or go exploring Italy. (Go to Flickr and look at photos of Puglia and be prepared to fall in love.) I think this would be the perfect length for a Scanner Retreat. (I've run 7-day, 6-day, and 4-day retreats but none with a free day in the middle. I have a hunch this might be the best of all.) Let me know what you think (and I hope you haven't booked your tickets too tightly for this yet!) POSSIBLE VISIT TO PALAZZO NEAR BOLOGNA AND FLORENCE: This isn't certain yet, but I've been invited to my friend Clark's Palazzo after Sunday and I'm considering heading up after the retreat to run a half-day Resistance Workshop. Take a look: ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SCANNER RETREAT: Hi Thank you for your interest in Barbara Sher's retreat in Italy, which begins the evening of September 26 and ends at midday on September 30, 2007. For more information and to register, visit this link: For even more information, visit this link: (Be sure to stay alert for any links that lead you to more information. They’re tucked in all over the place.) Below are the answers to frequently asked questions, compiled by Barbara Sher's son, Matthew, who lives near Puglia (in Corfu, Greece). He will be our logistics assistant for the Italian retreat. If you don’t find your answers here, feel free to contact Matt directly at for additional information. When you arrive in Italy, you can reach his cell phone at (333-861-1364). He’ll be coming to Italy on the 25th. How do I get to the Retreat? You'll make your own flight arrangements. The closest airport is BRINDISI. We’ve checked and they have round-trip flights from New York for $960 with Alitalia. There’s also Eurofly, an airline that flies only between the U.S. and Italy, which often has good fares. You can check them out on their English language website at If you're coming on Sept 25th or 26th, we can arrange to pick you up from the Brindisi airport. Before (or after) that, you’ll need to take a taxi from the airport to the Masseria. Let us know if you need instructions. If you decide to fly to Rome you can take an inexpensive train to the Ostuni Station. Contact us for details. Can I come a few days early? I'm afraid not. The Masseria has requested that we send no phone calls their way so I'm not giving out their name to anyone who isn't all signed up. You won't have any problem staying a few extra days, I'm sure, but you might enjoy a night or two in one of the Trulli gnome houses nearby once the retreat is over. (I would!) Will I be rooming with someone or can I stay in a private room? Because the retreat will be so close to off-season, the owner has offered us as many single rooms as we need at no extra charge, so you can have your own room. Please note: The hotel won’t be available before the 25th, so if you plan to come before that time, you’ll have to make their own arrangements for accommodations. We advise you to contact the staff directly instead of going through any travel sites, as they are usually much more expensive. Can you estimate how much will the whole thing will cost me? The tuition for Barbara’s sessions is $2000 (before July 15th, $1600) The hotel will come to 100 euros (US $135) for all 4 nights (light breakfast included). (Please note, I may add a free day in the middle of the retreat, which would require an extra night's lodging at the Masseria, but the rates are very low so I hope it won't be a problem.) Lunch and Dinner are available at the hotel for an extra 25 euros ($33) a day, but we’ll also be eating in the village nearby. So, the total costs should be around $1000 - $1300 for airfare (from New York), $300 room and board and another $100 for trips, transfers and extras. That comes to around $3100 for the whole event if you book before July 15th (approx. $3400 after July 15) give or take a few hundred for snacks, purchases, etc. How much time will we actually spend with Barbara Sher during the retreat? Barbara will hold two 3-hour sessions each of the full days, and one on the first evening and the last morning, a total of eight 3-hour sessions. She’ll also join you at most mealtimes and on many visits to the wonderful restaurants of Ostuni and other nearby towns. Some exercises will be led by Gudrun Schwarzer, the Success Teams Director and translator of Barbara’s books in Germany, who will be assisting for her third Scanner Retreat. Gudrun will also be available to answer Scanner questions and will help you with logistical problems. There are no individual sessions with Barbara, but because we keep the group size small, there will be many opportunities to take the floor and get personal attention, allowing everyone to learn from the exchange. Barbara always makes time for questions and answers. In addition, Barbara makes it a point to talk to most participants for a few minutes here and there during the day. How much free time will I have? Before the morning meeting many participants stroll through the gardens or drive to the beach (about 8 kilometers away). The mid-day break will be at least two hours, usually more, and each day's sessions end by 9PM (when the shops in Ostuni are open and restaurants begin to hit their stride). Car rentals are available at airports and most train stations if you'd like to do some exploring on your own. What if I don’t speak Italian? You do not need to speak Italian to participate in this retreat. All sessions are in English and people connected with travel or other tourist concerns – planes, trains, taxis, car rentals, restaurants, etc. -- speak English. Matthew’s Italian is surprisingly good. We haven’t asked Gudrun about her Italian but we know for sure that Barbara’s is nonexistent except for a few half-remembered operatic arias. Do you offer travel or other insurance? No, we don’t. You can contact your insurance agent or your health providers or search for information on the Internet. What if I have to cancel? Because the retreat will be small we will be turning people away once you send your fee, so after Sept 1, there will be no refunds. However you can apply the entire fee to the next Scanner Retreat (which will probably be held in the spring of 2008) or to any U.S. retreats Barbara schedules in the next year. Is the Retreat about careers for Scanners? Scanner Retreats are about any and all issues that the participants want to discuss. Sometimes that means finding the right career but it can also mean pursuing all their many interests, or simply getting past being stuck. Some Scanners want to know how to find the one right path for them, or how to combine all their interests or how to choose among them -- or how to do them all and still be successful. In our most recent retreat, all of the participants wanted to design and live an extraordinary life instead of a life with just a few extraordinary moments. After defining what 'extraordinary' meant to each person, we worked mainly on that goal. Barbara loves responding to whatever comes up and is careful to see that no one individual's issues are overlooked. The other members, being Scanners, always jump in to help too. You’ll be practicing special brainstorming techniques and working with unique and powerful resistance processes that Barbara has developed through the years of her professional life. What do I need to prepare in advance? It's important to read Barbara’s book about Scanners. (Its title is REFUSE TO CHOOSEin the U.S. and WHAT DO I DO WHEN I WANT TO DO EVERYTHING? in England and 'down under') so the retreat can concentrate on individual or advanced work on Scanner issues instead of repeating the material that’s available in her book. However, she’s always happy to explain anything from the book if you have questions. Anything else I should know about the retreat? Spouses or relatives (or friends) are welcome to come with you. There will be plenty of room at the Masseria because the retreat is at the end of September and they will get the same rates as attendees. They can accompany us at mealtimes and side trips and pretty much everything they choose, excepting Barbara's sessions. According to those who have joined us in the past, they'll have a wonderful time, and, if they're not Scanners, it can be an education for them to spend time with the rest of us. As far as you are concerned, one of the most important things you need to know as a Scanner is that there’s nothing wrong with you. You're almost certainly multi-talented and a born learner, And you'll find it's a remarkable experience to be surrounded by other Scanners. You’re going to love the freedom from critics or skepticism about your many interests and will probably choose to spend much of your free time with the other retreaters. If you've never had the experience before, you're going to love being with other Scanners. Almost all Scanners are wonderful company, very bright, enthusiastic about new ideas, inventive with solutions and almost always friendly, generous and interesting. They love to teach and they love to learn and every retreat is full of helpful and encouraging people. You’ll find that your fellow Scanners will probably understand you better and admire you more than people who've known you all your life and you might make some lifelong friends in Puglia this fall. So, all you have to do is sign up, pay the fee to hold your space, and make sure your passport is up to date (I hear it might take more time than it used to, so play it safe by checking early) That’s about it. No other preparation is necessary. Other than that, just be yourself and show up. I look forward to meeting you and working with you, Warm regards, Barbara and staff
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Re: Mini Newsletter for Scanners

Postby BarbaraSher » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:47 am

I just finished moving to a charming town in Germany (after 5 years in France) and in the packing and unpacking of papers I found a wonderful poem. Was determined to post it somewhere and wondered where it had been since I was sure I'd seen it before. Now today, looking through this Scanner forum, I found it again! It's from 2006!! 9 years ago!!

So today I'm sending this poem to three Scanner Facebook pages right now. I'll tell you which ones they are as soon as I actually get the job done.


an empowered scanner's response to Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken".

That particular poem has always been my favorite because I so strongly identify with the melancholy feeling represented by the poet's "sigh" at the end. All scanners live with the frustration of knowing that there are so many wonderful options to choose from in life and only limited time to do them all... but your book gives us permission to do just that!

So, I wanted to thank you for identifying the source of my frustration and giving me some tools to overcome it. Here's my poem:

The Roads Both Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and happy that I could travel both
and be one traveller; now I could!
I scanner planned them fast as I could
because my life's an opportunity for growth.

I knew both paths were equally fair,
and now my unique style had a name
because of the wisdom Sher had shared.
No longer feeling goal-impaired,
I surrendered all my thoughts of failure, guilt, and shame.

Both paths that morning equally lay
in leaves no steps had trodden black.
Oh! I kept the first for another day--
and now that I use the scanner planner way,
I know that I can always come back!

I shall be telling this with a sigh
some day ages and ages hence.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
plan to take thousands more before I die!
And that has made all the difference. -------

Please feel free to publish my poem in any way you'd like. Thanks again for your inspiring words!

Sandi Lerman (ESL Teacher, ASL Interpreter, ASL Teacher, Literacy Consultant, Workshop Facilitator, Spanish Speaker, World Traveler, Poet, Novelist, Singer, Actress, Aunt, Sister, Pet Owner... and now, maybe Motivational Speaker???)
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