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Excerpted from Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. Copyright © 2006 by Barbara Sher. Excerpted by permission of Rodale, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Let's see if we can get rid of those obstacles one by one and get you into action."

  Barbara Sher, Refuse to Choose, Part 4

When Russia launched Sputnik, the first-ever satellite to be launched into space, the United States went into shock. Immediately our resources were devoted to catching up to and passing Russian technology, and everything else became secondary. University faculties turned into specialized training centers; science and technology -- the realm of specialists -- reigned supreme. Departments of literature, the humanities, even history were seen as irrelevant luxuries. And with that decline in respect came a radical change in the stature of Scanners. No longer described as "well-rounded," "Renaissance people," or "erudite," almost overnight they were seen as irrelevant, silly, irresponsible. Now, regarding Scanners, this change in thinking is complete. Almost everyone in our society takes it as a self-evident truth -- obvious, simple common sense -- that Scanners are doing something wrong. Unfortunately, that has come to include Scanners themselves.

The top obstacles for panicked Scanners

When you hear the clock ticking but you just can't get into action, what's the reason?

1. You fear critics. You feel watched, so you're trying to be perfect. Whatever you do never seems good enough, so you drop it and try something else, but you feel like you're wasting precious time.

2. You've created a "See, it's impossible!" list. Your list of what you want to do has everything on it but "eat breakfast" and "scratch my head." It covers many pages and proves that you'll never get to do what you really want.

3. You've inadvertently made the project too big. You've assumed you'll need a business plan and two PhDs, to say nothing of a huge loan from the bank and 36 hours a day to do all the marketing, selling, bookkeeping, production, publishing, and wall painting that will be necessary -- all of which you'll have to do on your own.

4. You don't feel entitled to just do whatever you want. You think you don't have the right to do what makes you happy. You should be thinking of other people, not just yourself

5. You think you're the problem. You don't have what it takes or you're not really trying. Or something.

6. You're pulled in too many directions. It's impossible to decide which one to take. You're desperately searching for a sign that will at least tell you which one to start with.

If you're nodding your head as you read that list, you've been feeding your sense of panic like dry timber feeds a fire. Let's see if we can get rid of those obstacles one by one and get you into action.

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