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The Happiness Choice: The Five Decisions That Will Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Marilyn Tam

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Life Purpose—Yours

These are the two most important days in your life:

1. The day you were born
2. The day you found out why you were born

—A humanitarian upon receiving an award for his work

Do you remember your dreams from when you were a child? You wanted to be some type of hero—someone who was inspiring for you—a cartoon character, a TV personality, a figure from a storybook, an inspiring family member, or some mystical creature that could magically transform your surroundings to the happy, fun place you hoped it would be. What happened to that dream?

Chances are it was squashed by other people's expectations of you. “What are you going to be when you grow up?” people would ask. The acceptable answer usually was what they wanted to hear rather than what you felt was your life's calling. You were supposed to be responsible, aiming for something that other people thought was proper and right for you. Your own hopes, dreams, and talents were almost an afterthought to them in many ways. They were seeing you through the lens of their own conditioning. Oftentimes, what they wanted you to take on was what they did or wished they had done; it had much more to do with their own hopes and fears than yours.

Then there is the media—glamorizing certain roles: movie and TV stars; athletes; rock stars; major business moguls; and the rich, indulged children of people with enormous ...

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