I wrote this introduction for my book a while ago. It's probably not the final version, but I thought I'd share it with you all. Thinking of adding in some more thoughts about the actual interviews and what that journey was like.
UPDATE: The book is now published! The final intro looks a bit different, so go check it out here.
We all have our own stories. Many of us think life is the way it is, set in stone by our circumstances. We adopt stories that other people tell us, like that we’ll never amount to anything because there are too many odds stacked against us. I used to fall prey to this lie.
The lie that I had no control in how my life turned out. I thought success was determined by your innate qualities and static environment. However, after reading countless self-improvement books and interacting with hundreds of people who have shared their stories of perseverance, my beliefs have changed.
In 2018 I traveled to Ireland, Thailand, and Bali, interviewing people with incredible stories of how they fought through adversity to create a life they knew they deserved. After hearing their experiences and going through my own journey, my views on what is malleable in life have changed. I now believe that every single person has the opportunity to improve his or her life.
im·prove | \ im-ˈprüv \
to enhance in value or quality : make better
I am on a mission to get the message out to youth that no matter where they come from, they can become somebody. As I embark on this new journey of being an author and speaker, I fully intend on showing them how to do just that. I believe that real positive influence starts with Les Brown’s famous saying “It’s possible.”
Youth need to know that despite all of the hardship in the world, it’s possible to rise up. It’s possible to not let your circumstances determine the outcome of your life. It’s possible to create a life you love. It’s possible to become somebody.
Anyone, at any age, can make real change in this world, but that change first starts with the individual improving him or herself. Only then, with access to useful resources and supportive mentorship, will teenagers grasp the concepts of self-awareness, self-belief, self-management, and independent thinking.
I believe that by giving teens personal development tools, we can prepare them to navigate life happily and independently. To help bring these tools directly to young people, I’ve spent the last two years interviewing accomplished people on what success means and how teens can become successful. As you read, you’ll encounter lessons I’ve learned in my life, as well as pieces of advice from valuable, unique individuals.
My story starts off in a pretty dangerous place in my life, but I think it’s important to be completely raw and honest. I’ve since grown into the mentor I wish I had as a teenager, and highlighting where my internal conflict began is a part of my journey.
To the teens who are struggling: life does get better. You are already on your way to greatness. You’ve taken a monumental step forward by picking up this book. You may not realize it now, but the principles you encounter here will start you on a life-changing path to improve who you are.
Once you realize that you have the power to create your own story, you’ll be able to transform your own life. Then, as soon as you understand that your circumstances don’t define you, you will become unstoppable.