Michael J. Fox is flat on the floor in his Manhattan kitchen. It’s 6:30 a.m. on August 13, 2018. He is supposed to go shoot a scene for the movie See You Yesterday, but he has fallen and broken his arm. For the first time in his life, despite writing three books about optimism, he can’t see a bright side. On that floor now, there’s not even a glimmer. This is how Fox opens his latest book, No Time Like the Future. He knows how it feels to be set back—something everyone has felt, in some way, this year. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 29, in the white heat of his fame. Two decades later, doctors discovered an unrelated tumor that could paralyze him; it took months to recover from the surgery. But even now, he is finding ways to feel positive. In this conversation, he shares how to strive for an enduring optimism.
Take me to that moment on your kitchen floor, with your shattered arm. What were you questioning about optimism?
Optimism was always ready for me. I could just pick it up. But when I had that moment, I thought, I’m reaching for it, and it’s not there. I don’t know that I’ll get it back. Was it just bullshit in the first place? Did I sell optimism as a panacea? Did I commodify it to people? What does it mean, if I can’t get up off the floor?
How did you start to find your way to it again?
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