“You can be anything that you want.”
It’s a common phrase of encouragement. It isn’t universally true, because the odds are against some people. The phrase is largely true in the Western world where if there’s an ENDURING AND PERSISTENT will there’s usually also a way.
But even in the West, the phrase is misleading. We use the phrase when telling our youth how to view the future. The message is clear:
“Everything is possible, if you try.”
But doesn’t that sound too easy? It’s too simple and misleading. Because you have to try really, really hard to achieve great things. Most of us fail to achieve big, audacious dreams, because we never try hard for them.
We shouldn’t stop telling kids they “can be anything they want to be”, but we should rephrase it to…
“You can achieve difficult things, even nearly impossible things, but only those which you want so badly that the want defines who you are, at all other endeavors you will fail or settle into mediocrity.”