You Would Tell Them This. So Tell Yourself Too

It’s hard to imagine any situation that you would describe to your kid as hopeless—that, sorry, it’s too late for them. If they were falling behind their peers in math, you’d tell them that it was just a matter of work. If they were trying to write themselves off as a baseball player, you’d tell them about how many athletes were late bloomers, that they are still so young, that next year they can come back stronger and better. If they had failed out of college or gotten mixed up with drugs, you’d tell them how they still had their whole lives ahead of them, that they can still fix this, that they can turn things around. 

And you wouldn’t just be saying this. You’d mean it. Because it’s true. Nothing is fixed in this life, that you haven’t fixed yourself. Nothing is permanent. Especially when the person, deep down, is good and decent and full of potential. 

So why are you whispering the exact opposite of this to yourself. Telling yourself that you’ve just got to accept that your dreams are done. Telling yourself that I used to be in good shape—but that’s in the past. Telling yourself that you’re a crappy spouse. Maybe even that you screwed things up with your kids and it can never be made right. 

No! It’s never too late. You still have so much time in front of you. So much agency. So much ability, so much potential to fulfill. You can fix the position you’ve fixed yourself in. It’s up to you. You decide the rest of the story

And this is the important part: the story you decide for yourself is also going to determine what kind of stories your kids believe. Your story is the compass and the map on the journey that will lead them to realism, optimism, skepticism, cynicism, or fatalism.

What will it be? 

This of course is a key idea in Ryan’s newest book, Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors The Brave. It takes courage to decide that you will assert your agency, that you will fix your position, that you will decide the rest of the story. We encourage you to pick up a copy of the new book, and if you pre-order before 9/28, you will get a bunch of cool pre-order bonuses. Learn all about those over at

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