Your search for identity

“It takes courage to be creative.”
- Ellis Paul Torrance

How do you see yourself in five years’ time? Or ten years into the future? Where are you living? How are you spending each day? Having an image. To test his theory, Torrance, in 1958, began studying children in fourth and fifth grade. “I asked these children what they were in love with, what they wanted to do when they grew up,” he writes. Some consistently replied, “I don’t know,” while other children kept changing their future images year by year. Following up 22 years later, Torrance found that children who had an image of themselves in the future, and fell in love with this image, were more likely to achieve creatively than even those with the highest grades and scholastic promise. “Many people have no dream, no clear image of the future. Some have a dream, even a clear image of the future but they are not in love with it - they may feel that it is not really them.” He asks: How might one search and discover an identity, or dream, and fall in love with it? Torrance’s advice is: do not be afraid to fall in love with something and pursue it with intensity and depth. “Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, use, exploit, and enjoy your greatest strengths.” Free yourself from the expectations of others and walk away from the games that others try to impose upon you. “Free yourself to ‘play your own game’ in such a way as to make good use of your gifts,” he writes. And don’t waste a lot of precious energy in trying to do things for which you have little ability - or are simply not possible. For Torrance, the search for identity is one of the most important things you’ll ever do.

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