What Is The American Dream?

Too often we hear that the American Dream is gone.  Or, we hear that the American Dream isn’t there for everyone.  People try to filter the American Dream or put constraints around it.  “Well, they got where they were because of this.”  I disagree 100%.

People put all kinds of conditions on the American Dream.  They walk into the world and see what isn’t, not what is.  No one promised that everything would be exactly perfect or equal.  It’s not.  Achieving the American Dream is not a guarantee.  But, pursuing it is.  Sometimes in order to pursue it, you have to find your way around the road blocks.  If you try hard enough and do the right things that help you get there, you will.

To often, people think the American Dream is simply about money.  The American Dream isn’t about getting rich.  It’s about having freedom and choice. about opportunity.  Even that word “opportunity” gets clouded and filtered today.  However, no matter where you come from in America, you still have a better chance here than anywhere else.

We all start from different places.  We all have different skills and many have advantages.  But, not everyone uses those skills or uses those advantages.  There are countless stories of American citizens that came from all kinds of places to do all kinds of things and lived out the American Dream.

I consistently meet people of all colors races and creeds that have lived the American Dream.  I meet more everyday that are pursuing it.  Here are some things I read over the past 24 hours that help me understand the American Dream better.   I know it’s alive and well.

This poor woman was so happy to see an American soldier…and I was happy that I was a soldier and that I was doing my part to help liberate these people. It was the highlight of my career, to bring these people a little happiness.-Norman Werbowsky, American Army medic in WW2.

And this story.  How many families can repeat a similar story?

Both of my parents were born to poor families in Cuba. After his mother died when he was nine, my father left school to go work. My mother was one of seven girls raised by a disabled father who struggled to provide for his family.

When they were young, my parents had big dreams for themselves. But because they were not born into wealth or power, their future was destined to be defined by their past. So in 1956 they came here, to the one place on earth where the aspirations of people like them could be more than just dreams-Marco Rubio

Every year around this time, I help the New Venture Challenge classes out.  I judge, mentor, talk to them.  Last night I saw 5 companies pitch.  We had fun.  I learned.  They learned.  They are going after it.  I see entrepreneurs getting after it each and every day.  It inspires me.

If you are here, you have a chance.  But, it’s not up to society to control the outcome.  It’s up to you to take the chance.  I believe in you.  But it doesn’t matter if someone else believes in you or not.  It’s up to you to believe in yourself.   What’s your dream?