Is The American Dream Dead?

This week Time Magazine’s cover asked the question “Is The American Dream Dead?”

You can guess what is on the inside. Stories of how much harder it is to make it in America today, how the rich are getting richer, the little guy doesn’t stand a chance and how the generations before us had it easier.

Really. Ask people who lived during the Great Depression and WW II if they think we have it too tough.

If the American Dream is dead, why is it 30 million people annually come to this country. (Legally and Illegally) All in search of the American Dream.

A few months ago, I traveled to Miami for my client Perry Marshall. I might have been the only white guy in attendance. When I asked how many people in the room were born in country other than the US, 80% of the room raised their hands. When asked how many of the remaining had parents who were born outside of the country and 99% raised their hands.

To this group, the American Dream is alive and well.

Afterwards a mid 30’s Cuban American came up to me and asked this question to me

“Matt do you know why immigrants to this country are so successful?”

I had a feeling what he was going to say…

“Because most Americans who are born in this country, and are at least 2nd generation are lazy. They don’t know poverty, hunger, what it takes to work to be successful. We come here and see nothing but opportunity. Those who are born here see nothing but road blocks.”

He is right.

I was born, white, into middle America to a father who grew up in the Great Depression, fought in WW II. My mother was born in Great Depression, had a single mom and grew up during WW II.

Me? I grew up in the burbs of Chicago, playing golf and swimming at the country club. It took me a while to figure out work and hard work at that.

The American Dream is alive and well. We still have the largest GDP in the world. We still are a shining city on the hill. A beacon of hope and dreams. We are still where the world dreams to come to live, to make it big.

The American Dream is up to you. Government is going to give it to you. Big Business isn’t gonna put it your retirement account.

You have to have the dream. It has to be your dream, your burning desire to live a better life. Not the dream of someone else.

When my family lost it all in Recession, I’ve vowed to never go hungry again. The burn in my belly has never been stronger. I know what it’s like to struggle, to go without. Nothing like someone who came here from Cuba or Africa, or India. But still I have an inkling.

The American Dream is alive and well. You just have to choose to put into you and start the fire.

Dream on.

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