The American Dream is Alive and Well

What happened to the American Dream? Some people today, think the American Dream is dead. The American Dream was something older people have taken away. Something they hoard and refuse to share. Something that can be looked at, but never be a part of.

For all our access to information, young people miss the big picture. With constant access to information, little time seems to be spent reading about how many millionaires and billionaires were self made. Each and every American Dream is earned, not awarded. Generational money does not last long.

If one is ever lucky enough to observe a CEO in action, watching them is really something to see. Most start on their future before entering their teens. They read, study, and create. Some have a real business while in their teens. I like to think one young boy I mentored is going to be among the group who achieves his American Dream.

The boy was nine years old when I was to be his mentor. It was the beginning of October and the weather was turning cool. He lived with his Mother, and if he knew his Father, he never mentioned him. The first few weeks I spent with him, I wondered how a young boy coming from a poor background with so much against him, would ever manage to break out of poverty and a hard life.

Then came Halloween and my perception of him changed almost overnight. Like every kid who’s candy supply is limited by lack of funds and a candy store, he was out tricker-treating with the best of them. He told me he had about three-fourths of bag of candy for his effort.

He also told me he only ate a few pieces himself. He knew all the other kids he knew and could imagine, ate their candy as fast as they could. By the end of the week, all the kids would have a dim memory of Halloween candy or any candy. His candy was hidden away in his room.

The next week, he told me something astounding. He was selling his candy to the kids in his school! He sold the penny candy for five cents; the other candies sold for ten cents to a quarter depending on the candy. The few candy bars he had, he sold for a dollar each.

I was impressed and thought he would spend his money on a bicycle, electronic game (if he even had a game counsel), or something else he wanted. When I asked him what he was going to do with his money, to say I was surprised was putting it mildly. He told me he had bought packets of beer salt, lime flavored, a box of packets. The price worked out to about three cents a lime salt package. To say the least, I could not imagine why he wanted lime salt packets. I was thinking about all the things he could buy.

Then he told me he was selling the lime packets at his school for a quarter a piece. Sales at a quarter a piece were a little slow, so he was thinking of maybe selling them for twenty cents, and was willing to go down to fifteen cents as his schoolmates access to money was limited.

He went along for a number of weeks, until a student turned him in. He told me many of the kids were angry he got busted, as he was their goodies supplier. He tried to be sneakier, but was found out again. He changed his selling hours to before and after school.

I have no doubt that this little boy is a prosperous man now that he is grown, and probably has kids of his own. Which brings me back to being able to observe a CEO. I was fortunate enough to work for a Fortune 100 company. I never had the opportunity to observe a CEO, but we knew about him. His office was no bigger than the other offices in the building he worked out of. If you didn’t know who he was, you would think he was one of many office workers.

The American Dream is live and well, if you really want a part of it.

I was fortunate enough to see our plant manager in action however, or at least the hours he worked. He did not work as part of the company, as far as he was concerned he was in charge of the company, or so it appeared. When I worked afternoons and evenings, it was not unusual to see him at eight or nine o’clock in the evening, touring his little empire, observing and talking to low level employees.

When I went to day shift, he was onsite and wandering around at six o’clock in the morning, before most employees were even on site. When I came in on my days off, he was there. Seven days a week, sometime sixteen hours a day, this man was working. Not many people have that kind of drive, even though the payoff is huge, if money is your motivator.

He was probably worth several millions of dollars. He could do anything he wanted to do, yet he chose to spend his life working and growing his little section of a big company empire. Work was his life, there were days when I thought he would work for free. Then he hit fifty, retired and dipped his toes into a world he knew little of, everyday life. His kids were going to college, and he was just starting to be a family man.

The American Dream killer is – few people are willing to make the sacrifice and put in the work. It is easier to believe the dream is dead. There is face saving in believing the American Dream is dead. Blame society because one lacks the initiative to work harder than others for a greater reward. Blame the rich, though many of the rich started with little, and created their own slice of the American Dream.

Looking at most of the wealthiest people alive today, and for the last hundred years, many share one common trait. They had a lucky break, but they worked harder and longer than anyone they knew to be successful. The American Dream is out there for everyone. All anyone has to do is want it, work for it, and dream it – to the extreme. What is your Dream and how does it compare to those who made theirs a reality?

Secret to Your Success

What is the reality of your life? Are you suffering from polar reality disorder? Are the things you want from you life working in harmony or conflict? Your success at life as you define it depends on knowing and acting upon your answer.

In the physical world, the world of animals, animal reality is simple. Animals live in earth based reality. Animals eat, sleep, feed, and occasionally play. Animals do not need language as we understand it.

Animals do not need a certain look, live in a certain place because its popular, or hold certain aspects of their lives as more important. Animals live in a simple reality. Be born, eat, sleep, procreate, hopefully grow old, and die.

For we humans, this is not enough. Early in our life, identify what we perceive to be our points of weakness. We spend our days trying to compensate for that weakness. We collect and attempt to control our perceived weak point and make them into strengths.

Just as a rich man and pious man cannot live in harmony, the secret to your success is to determine what is important in your life, and resolve conflicts of polar realities by removing conflicting wants and needs. Spend each and every day making your aligned realities more believable and stronger. It also helps to have other people envy your chosen reality, and want to be just like you.

Realities of money and Christian religion are polar opposites when it comes to creating and living a successful life. The reality of money means putting collecting money above all else. The reality of Christian religion means putting others above self, and money has little value.

Trying to meld polar realities is a study in extreme frustration.The best one can hope for from these two polar realities is to become Pope. The worst outcome, is becoming a transient street preacher living in or wandering from slum to slum. The mediocre outcome is becoming priest or minister of a struggling church in a town or city where no one really wants to live.

Diamonds are not rare, except we choose to pretend they are. Tons of diamonds are mined each year. If more diamonds were needed year to year, they may be manufactured. Diamonds are everywhere. However, we choose to make diamonds valuable in the reality of wealth. Money has no real value except the value we choose to give money. We don’t need money to live. We want money to live better in the reality of money.

Choosing realities which affirm each other rather than polarize, will create a successful life, happening almost as if by magic. Choose polarizing realities and the very best that can hoped for is mediocrity or less.

The summation of realities you choose for your life determine your life path, and the level of success you will enjoy. How well you harmoniously merge and focus on your chosen realities, determines your personal, or life success. The more affirming realities you hold, the more successful you will be.

This simple idea of eliminating polar realties from your life is the secret to your success. Simple on paper, or in the abstract, actually doing this is a monumental task in the day to day aspects of your life. What are you really willing to sacrifice to make your reality come true: family, friends, children, money, or leisure time? In most common realities people choose, in order to stand out, many parts of ones life is either ignored or not important.

Too be successful in the eyes of others choose a reality where the collection of something is important and is the benchmark of a reality. Being the owner of the worlds largest collection of dust bunnies does not garner the admiration of most people. Choose your reality to fit a definable end state of your choosing and which other people will value.

Now you know how to be successful. Examine the realities you are living your life by. Decide which realities are the most important and do not conflict. Spend each and every moment of your day only to further your realities. From time to time bechmark your progress. Start over.

Simple Truths in a Lifetime Learning

When I was a kid, we did not have indoor plumbing. My Sister tells me we could have had a house with indoor plumbing but our Dad chose rustic over more modern. Even though we lived in a rural area I was the only Kid I knew of in school who used an outhouse and water was delivered by a hand pump.

It was kind of hard to know much about life back then. After all I only saw bits and pieces of life, and I thought that was about all there was to the world. The Adults worked, ate, slept, drank, danced and went to parties on the weekend, and did it all over again. I only knew a few families that had a lifestyle higher than the rest. Most of the families were at about the same level.

Kids were abused by their parents. Many were beaten more than they should have been. A few thrown through walls, or across rooms. Most of us would never interrupt an adult conversation or venture an opinion. Doing so was risking a slap or a spanking. Children were to be seen and not heard, unless it came to fetching another beer, or making a mixed (whiskey and water or some such) drink.

Eventually I grew up as we all do. I saw some of the world, and it really did not make a big impact on me. The world looked different but my place in it had not changed. One day I woke and I made some changes. I did not know at the time what those changes would be, but I knew I did not want to go on living as I was. It was boring. Work all week and have little to show for it.

Something changed over the years. Maybe it did for everyone, I am not sure. I stopped doing those things which were not adding positively to my life. I tried other things I thought would benefit me. Some worked and some did not. Change happened so slowly I barely noticed there was change.

I was a boat without a rudder sailing on the ocean without a map. Was having fun more important than looking towards the future? Was it worth saving a few dollars a week hoping it would grow into an amount worth noting? Was pizza and beer really good, or was it really bad for my health. I had seen a few people die from smoking cigarettes. I had know some addicts who were in their last days. These things helped me decide where I was today, wherever that was, was better than where I could have been.

I thought I had skills that would carry me through my work life. I learned them in the military. Trading my innate aggression for other more subtle skills that would help me carve out the ‘Good Life’. Those skills were old within a decade, and today are ancient in the world of technology. But I am far ahead of where I could have been.

When I look around I see the ancient skills are still in demand. Those skills we used over thousands of years, and refine every decade. Cooking, Baking, Creating never go out of fashion. The way we do it changes, but not the fact that we need people who can do these things with foresight and clarity of vision. A good dinner tastes as good or better than it always has. A fine piece of furniture, or a well put together building is still something to respect and perhaps hold in awe. Some things can not be improved upon.

Two things I learned over the years that will never change. The first learning is you do not need to know where you want to end up, you only need to know where you do not want to end up farther down the road. The second learning is, great things, whether they are the best pizza I have ever tasted, the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in, or the finest piece of music ever heard, did not get that way overnight.

If it is worth having, someone put in a lot of pain and sweat to produce it. The fruit of their labor may be ubiquitous now, but before it arrived, a lot of failures happened along the way. The greatest learning perhaps is do not be afraid of failure. Failure is part of the pavement of the road to success.

Self measured success may small in stature, but large in the distance covered. The reason success is large in the distance covered is because success is generally measured using one scale of  measure. To truly judge success everything should be evaluated equally.

A great meal is not made with one item, a beautiful sculpture was not made with one chisel, and captivating melodies were not written in a day. The real measurement of success is a blend of all ingredients brought together in one place, and compared to their independent original raw state. Only then can success be determined.