Living the Dream
The United States of America is one of the greatest countries on earth. Scratch that…it’s the best.
Most people take their presence in the US for granted and talk about how Europe is so much more sophisticated, how they really get it on the other side of the Atlantic. Seems like the cool thing to talk about these days. So you’ve traveled, stayed at a hostel, became smitten with a foreign beauty and had a fancy meal (or two)? So cultured! And then you come back and tell all your friends about how much better it is over there. Obviously, this sounds extreme, but it’s all to common.
As a disclaimer, I was born in Europe and just took my oath as a US citizen this past week. And how do I feel, you might ask?
I feel like a million bucks!
The American Dream is not wild fantasy only achievable by the upper-crust of society. It should be no surprise that this country was founded by immigrants and that a significant portion of America’s Fortune 500 companies were created by either immigrants or 1st generation Americans. Perhaps it’s in our DNA to live by the following ethos: Go big or go home. I’m aiming to go big right now.
With the recent economic downturn, people have started losing faith in the economy and upward mobility that this great country bestows upon them. As an immigrant and newly sworn-in citizen, I think this attitude is a sorry excuse. This is America! Land of the free and home of the brave. This is the place where people can show up with 5 bucks in their pocket and a dream. You think any other place offers this opportunity? It does not.
I get it. The economy has taken a beating. Millions have lost their jobs. Millions more have lost their hopes and dreams. The latter is likely the hardest to swallow. It downright sucks. It’s no longer about an economic recession but rather about a downright human depression. From an immigrant’s perspective, this type of attitude represents noise. Coming to America is such a feat in itself, there is no turning back. Time to do big things. We all wake up to the same sunrise every morning. It just comes down to what we do.
The problems of this world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were. -JFK
Let’s not become complacent and wait for our problems to be solved by somebody else. Let’s dream again. The bigger the dream, the more likely we’ll get part of the way there. Call me crazy, but when I talk to people, I’m generally not impressed by others’ perception of their success (often measured by their professional achievements), but rather by their ability to dream and challenge the realities that they face on a daily basis.
Entrepreneurs change the world.
New ideas, new businesses and thousands of jobs are created by entrepreneurs every year. Game changers don’t just appear out of nowhere. It’s just that nobody pays attention to their dreams until they become something tangible.
I think it’s time to flip this reality on its head. Start by asking your friends what their dreams are. I presume the question will catch them totally off guard. That’s OK! Then really listen to them. You’ll probably learn something new about them and make them feel like a million bucks. Nobody ever asks somebody what their dreams are. It’s almost like we’ve forgotten how to dream. Let’s change that.
Then do this: Ask yourself what your dreams are. Remember, no dream is too big.
This is America after all.
If this post has inspired you to go big or go home, share it with a friend who could use a push.