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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.

"The clues to your life path are not lost. They are just scattered and hidden."

  Barbara Sher, Wishcraft, Part 3

It is something more. Because "who you are" isn't passive or static or unchanging. It is a vital design, as one philosopher put it, that needs to unfold and express itself through the medium of your whole life. And so that unique pattern of talents and gifts that lies hidden in the things you love is also the map to your own life path.

Did you ever go on a treasure hunt when you were a child, or read Poe's "The Gold Bug"? Then you know that the first thing you have to do before you can find the treasure is find the map. It may be hidden, it may be torn in half, or in a million pieces, but your first job is to find it and put the fragments back together, like a jigsaw puzzle. That's what we're going to be doing for you in the first section of this book.

The clues to your life path are not lost. They are just scattered and hidden--some of them right under your nose, in plain sight. They need to be gathered together and carefully examined before you can begin to know how to design a life that truly fits you, a life that will make you feel like jumping out of bed in the morning to meet the world, a little scared at times, maybe, but fully alive.

If you are low on energy, if you need a lot of sleep and feel like you're always dragging yourself around at half throttle, it may not be because you need vitamins or have low blood sugar. It may be because you have not found your purpose in life. You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.

This is part of the secret of all genuinely successful people: they have found their paths. They also happen to have some very special skills for making their visions come true in reality. That is very important, and it's the purpose of the second part of this book to teach you those skills. But first you must liberate your own ingenuity and drive, and the only way to do that is to discover your own path. It is the only path that will ever truly absorb you. And the treasure at the end is success.

Right now I'd like you to do something symbolic. Take that piece of paper on which you answered the question, "Who do you think you are?" Glance through it one more time. Now crumple it up and throw it in the wastebasket.

This is the only piece of paper I'm going to ask you to do that with, and as I said, you'll have occasion to write on quite a few sheets of paper as we go along. Alternatively, you might want to save this one as a souvenir. It will serve nicely as the first in a pair of "Before and After" pictures. Call it the souvenir of a misconception. Because if you're like most of us, you are not who you think you are.

Who are you really?

You've forgotten--but you knew once--when you were a very small child. So that's the place to start our search for the lost treasure map of your talents: in the first five precious and mysterious years of your life--the greatest learning period you ever had. I'll tell you one thing about who you were then. You were a genius.

Now you're probably laughing, but I'm serious. I don't care what you've accomplished in your life or what your I.Q. is--you were born with your own unique kind of genius. And I mean that in the fullest sense of the word. Not genius with a small 'g' as opposed to Albert Einstein. Big "G" genius, like Albert Einstein.

We confer the honorific title "genius" only on those very rare people who we believe were born with a mysterious something extra: great brilliance, original vision, incredible determination. And we believe that "something extra" cannot help but express itself with such force that it overpowers the most difficult circumstances. Look at Mozart. Born overflowing with music. Look at Picasso--another genius, the sculptor Louise Nevelson, says Picasso was "drawing like an angel in the crib." Those are geniuses, not you and I. Or so the standard reasoning goes.

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