Monday, August 13, 2012

Achieving the American Dream

What is the American Dream? How do we achieve it? Have we lost sight of it? Can we reignite the fires of entrepreneurship and renew America to the great country that has led the world?

In an attempt to answer these questions I will be posting a series of inspirational stories of great people that I know. In these cases you will see that obstacles and failures can be turned into the stepping stones to achieving greater success and happiness in life. These people were not content to sit back wallowing in their difficult circumstances and let society care for them. They took charge of their lives and with the help of God and good people around them have become very successful in lift. We need to share these stories with everyone around us so that we can share in the American Dream. We all need to see the pattern for success in life. It is then up to us to do something about it.

Erika and I developed Endowed Prosperity because we saw the devastating effects of getting something for nothing in Ethiopia. People that don't work for what they get do not learn how to work to be successful and never experience the joy of successful work. If fact the greatest joys in successful work usually come after a series of failures in accomplishing a difficult task. That is the American Dream-reaping what you sow!

Can we provide a small social safety net without creating a dependent society? One that doesn't recognize their potential for growth and happiness because they are comfortable living off the labors of others. Successful parents don't provide everything for their older children because they want their children to go out on their own. Do they do this because they hate their children? No! Because they love their children they push them to reach their potential. A safety net is ok but not a feather bed. Families understand the American Dream now lets apply it in society!

I once asked a successful Ethiopian entrepreneur why there was so much poverty and famine in Ethiopia when the country had such a wonderful climate. He told me it was because the people had it too easy. His comment surprised me and I asked for an explanation. He pointed out that the climate is so mild and the food usually so plentiful that many do not work to better their circumstances and prepare for the future. The international community has just made this worse by coming in with extra food whenever there is a famine. Their plan for food shortages is not to plant extra and store for a potential famine but to do the minimum and then plead for assistance when the hard times come. Achieving the American Dream requires hard work!

In the United States we have allowed and in many cases encouraged this type of living. In trying to help immigrants, either legal or otherwise, we have often made it easier to sit and do nothing than to try and learn from experience. We have to allow and encourage all people to reach upward. If they fail we should encourage them to learn from their failure and try again. The American Dream requires persistence!

In order to revitalize our country we have to understand, and work towards achieving, the American Dream. I hope that  by sharing a series of stories of successful people I can help reignite this fire. These are great examples of people that were not content to sit back and let society take care of them. We need to share these stories with our children and our neighbors. We all need to see the pattern for success in life. I hope that you will enjoy.

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