For our students at Manchester Bidwell, accepting the notion that dreams can come true often requires heroic levels of courage and faith, but we see that kind of heroism every day: a high school kid on the verge of dropping out turns himself around and goes to college; a welfare mother finds a good-paying job that allows her to build a better future; a homeless woman pulls her life together and buys a decent home. In each of those cases, a human being is finding the strength and the optimism to throw off a lifetime of destructive assumptions and refusing to be limited by false ideas of what is possible and what is not.

Of course, the ghetto has no monopoly on self-defeating assumptions. We all labor under false assumptions that have us living lives that are less than they could be. We all are too easily convinced that we lack the capacity to make our dreams come true.

“Impossible” is a frightening word, but my hope, my goal, in writing this book is to help each of you find the valor, the vision, and the conviction to stand up to it and to realize, as so many of our students have, in so many inspiring ways, that you can overcome all the obstacles that stand in your path and live the rich, fulfilling, and meaningfully successful life that all of us, if we are true to our hearts, dream of.