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Excerpted from Live the Life You Love by Barbara Sher. Copyright © 1996 by Barbara Sher. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, 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.

"What you love is as unique to you as your fingerprints."

Barbara Sher, 
Live the Life You Love,
Part 1

What would it take to make you really happy?

Would you have to be a huge financial success? Have the biggest house in town? Own your own helicopter? That's what advertisers tell us is the key to happiness.

Well, I think they're totally wrong.

Unless you have some innate, personal love of big houses or helicopters, don't let yourself buy into someone else's idea of the good life. If you do, you're in for a big letdown. Because no one but you has any idea what will make you happy.

What you love is as unique to you as your fingerprints. You need to know that because nothing will make you really happy but doing what you love. Just look at people who are actually living their dreams. You can see a calm focus in their eyes and patience in their actions. They know they're in the right place, doing the right thing.

I know a man who loves getting up in the morning, going out into his kennel and checking on his Jack Russell terriers. "I can't wait to get out there and say hello, see if they're okay, have them say hello to me."

I know a fourth grade art teacher who says, "I love to create an atmosphere that makes the children open up. You should see what they paint. I think they're the greatest artists in the world!"

And I know the owner of a cafe who loves to go to work every day. "There's nothing like having your own place. I like everything about it, grinding the coffee, talking to customers, even wiping the counter."

Somewhere inside yourself you know what you love, too. You dream of starting your own business, or traveling the world, or finding the right mate; you wish you could ride the horses on your own ranch, or lead your party to victory as a senator; or go diving off the Great Barrier Reef with a fabulous underwater camera.

Or maybe you don't know exactly what your dreams are, but you can sense them somewhere deep within you. Even when they're not clearly defined, they're never far away. As a matter of fact, dreams are almost impossible to get rid of. They trouble and tempt you. They keep reminding you that you're not satisfied with your life, that something crucial is missing.

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