According to CNNMoney’s recent dream poll, 59% believe that the American dream is unachievable. 63% between the ages of 18-34 have completely given up on the notion. And the same percentage of those polled believe that kids won’t be better off than their parents.
Two things: Lord, we’re disgustingly pessimistic, and two: perhaps our parents’ jobs aren’t our dream.
What is the American Dream anyway?
According to Wikipedia: The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work.
I get that words like ideals, freedom, opportunity, prosperity, success, achievement, and hard work don’t always add up, but UN-achievable to me is like riding my bike to space. That’s effin UN-achievable.
Uncomfortable and scary and really fucking difficult are NOT synonymous with UN-achievable, as far as I’m concerned.
We now have access, at our fingertips, to the mentorship (however distant) of someone who has achieved exactly what we hope and wish to achieve–and likely doing so from further reaches.
I think we should talk to the folks who built Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid about Un-achievable, or what about some of our greatest thinkers who invented some really important shit without the help of the interwebs, perhaps we should discuss with them the meaning of UN-achievable.
So what if our jobs don’t look like our parents or our grandparents. 2 or 3 part-time gigs add up to an awesome fucking job with a great schedule, I should know!
No, I don’t have a pension or retirement account or job security, but I have strong ideals, freedom, all sorts of opportunities that have led to small successes and just enough prosperity.
Am I living the dream? In some senses, absolutely!
Is there room to grow? Always.
What I dislike about polls like this as that those who haven’t built up their toughness will crack. They will see the above infographic and settle. Yet, no big success story ever came from settling. When the game changes, so do the rules.
Are we in a time when we need to be creative and think outside the box? YES, sir!
Dan Pink wrote about this in his A Whole New Mind:Why right-brainers will rule the future.
We are in the age when establishing a niche, becoming an expert and branding ourselves is our job security. Of course this route isn’t for everyone, we still need the world to go around with soldiers, police officers, fireman, teachers, biz-execs, politicians, computer peeps, shop owners and so on. But let’s just say, the word entrepreneur shouldn’t scare the pants off us; we sold lemonade as a kids, we can do it.
So what if we can’t find a job in the subject we majored in. Perhaps it’s not our calling anyway. Maybe we’re being asked to do something greater, something more authentic to our truths … not our parents’.
Please don’t see these numbers and crawl into a heap full of pity. Dreaming takes guts, dreaming takes commitment, and dreaming takes a great deal of trust and intuition.
Perhaps that’s where we falter first, we aren’t living in alignment to clarify and therefore express our dreams. If you’re anything like I was in that, I suggest Po Bronson’s book What Should I Do With My Life?
Sometimes it is our very gifts that become our handicaps. We have the whole world, quite literally, at our fingertips and many of us are more detached from what it is we truly want than ever. We are blessed to have the freedom to ask questions like, what is my purpose? Yet, it is that very freedom that bounds are feet.
I leave you with this: Dream on, my friend. Dream the fuck on!