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why youth should set unrealistic goals

I’m not sure if you watched the NCAA Men’s National Championship game between Kansas and North Carolina a few weeks ago, but it was an incredible game.


Kansas got severely outplayed in the first half and went into the locker room down 15 points.


The commentators said for Kansas to win, they would have to make the largest second half comeback in NCAA men's championship history. It was tied for the fourth-largest halftime deficit ever. And North Carolina looked like they could do no wrong.


So why on earth would Kansas big man David McCormack go into their locker room at halftime, down 15 points, smiling?


“I’m like, ‘Why are you smiling, dude?’ Like, we’re down 15,” junior guard Christian Braun said later, "and he’s (McCormack) telling me, like, ‘Keep your head up. Keep going. We’ll be alright, we’ve been here before.’


Spoiler alert: they pulled off the comeback.


I want to focus on that moment where David McCormack is smiling.


At that moment, when just about everyone was saying a comeback was “unrealistic”, David McCormack believed it was possible.


We talk a lot with youth about the importance of setting “unrealistic” goals.


Many people call something impossible, or unrealistic, because they haven’t seen it done before, or they themselves have tried and failed.


But all that matters is that you believe it can be done, and you’re excited enough to do the hard work it will take to make it happen.


There are examples of unrealistic goals all around us every day. The light bulb. An airplane. The iPhone.


There are examples of unrealistic goals achieved by teens.

  • Mo’s Bows: 12-year old founder of a company funded on Shark Tank
  • Flynn McGarry: Chef who owned a $160-per-plate restaurant in NYC at age 16
  • Coco Gauff: 15-year old beats Venus Williams in her first ever Grand Slam match
  • Olivia Hallisey: 16-year old who invented a way to medical test to detect the Ebola virus 

We were told our idea for 220 wouldn’t work many times, but none was more blunt than a man who told us at a conference in 2015, “oh, that will never work.”


A 15-point comeback had never been done before, and even his teammate told him it wasn’t gonna happen.


If your youth want to be leaders, creators or entrepreneurs, don’t tell them that it’s impossible or even unlikely- implicitly or explicitly. Ask them what they need to do to make it happen, and how you can help them get there.


Lean into their excitement and help them unlock their potential with “unrealistic” goals.


Here’s to our youth achieving the unrealistic,




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