The American Dream – having the world at your fingertips. Was it ever tangible to the average American? Or was it a story that hard-working laborers told their kids before bed time?
The rags to riches tale everyone has heard. The legends we read about in history books. The icons we awe at behind sparkles of fame.
Some are living proof of this dream while others die chasing it, which makes you wonder, what is it they are chasing?
I think it’s fair to say that the “dream” is different for everyone, but it shares a common finality and that is: wealth.
They say, “Getting there is half the fun” but in all practicality, it’s the most challenging part. Some people aspire fame and literally starve as artists, writers and actors wanting to leave behind a legacy, while others solely aspire the fortune — 50 hour work weeks, 2 heart attacks and a long climb up the corporate ladder later, they finally invest into a retirement plan that they won’t even get to enjoy for too long. Of course, there are the lucky ones who got their big breaks earlier, but even they must have sacrificed something to get where they are. When taking a closer look at the “dream come true” phenomenon, you’ll indefinitely see “sacrifice” in fine print not too far.
Businessmen and entrapaneours risk their money to make money. Firemen and soldiers risk their lives to save lives. The irony lies in the American dream in itself.
Human nature has us programmed to care for one other but somewhere along the way, as time advances, we’re only concerned about our own security — about our own dream. The power we possess to collectively change the world gets diffused into making the world ours – having it at our fingertips. And because so many people are after the same thing, it makes it near impossible for any one person to hold on to for long.
Think, if only the energy we put into chasing this dream was directed toward a greater good, it’d be more likely that everyone would get a piece of the pie and rest satisfied. Or would it?
It’s no secret Americans are the most competitive country in the world. From battle of the brands to keeping up with the Jones, are Americans capable of being satisfied? Or has this economy actually pushed us to settle?
In a poll I conducted amongst my peers, I found that 99% of Americans classify the American dream as having a stable job. You know times are bad when “the dream” just means getting a paycheck every two weeks.
We’ve read enough history books and heard enough stories to change that. All we need is a nudge. What’s your nudge? What’s your dream?