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Excerpted from Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. Copyright © 1979 by Barbara Sher. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, 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.
 

"That is the first important clue to your life design--to the discovery of what you'll be happiest doing."

  Barbara Sher, Wishcraft, Part 5

You have probably forgotten what it was like to walk into the first grade. You'd just had five years of solid experiences--seeing things; knowing things; feeling, hating, and loving things. But schools are not designed to learn from you; they are designed to teach you. Inadvertently, they probably gave the impression that your knowledge, tastes, opinions were of zero value.

Just by ignoring who you were, they cancelled the whole rich inner world you had brought in with you. All they saw was a blank board that they were going to fill up with everything worth knowing. If it was important to you to talk to your best friend, or daydream, or draw, and they were doing multiplication tables, you got punished. If you happened to know how to talk to plants and plants talked back to you, they didn't ask you, "Do you want to learn how to spell, or did you have something else in mind?" They said, "Get away from the plants and let's see how fast you can learn the alphabet."

If you talked to plants, or if you talked to dogs, or if you made sculptures out of mud, or if you were going to be a movie star or ice skate to Eskimo land, you understood very quickly that that didn't count for much. And so, little by little, you forgot it. You developed amnesia about it. Now if you walked out into the world and somebody asked, "What are you good at?" you could easily say, "Nothing," meaning "Nothing that anyone would consider important." Or you might say, "Well, I'm good at math," or "I can type." It would never occur to you to say, "I love plants. I can remember all their names, and I think I understand what makes them happy."

All the people we call "geniuses" are men and women who somehow escaped having to put that curious, wondering child in themselves to sleep. Instead, they devoted their lives to equipping that child with the tools and skills it needed to do its playing on an adult level. Albert Einstein was playing, you know. He was able to make great discoveries precisely because he kept alive the originality and delight of a small child exploring its universe for the first time.

The first thing you will need to do is reawaken those child qualities in yourself. So let's go back and try to get a look at the genius you were. That is the first important clue to your life design--to the discovery of what you'll be happiest doing and what you'll be best at.

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