The American Dream is the idea that anyone can succeed and achieve their goals no matter their background or circumstance. Founded on the idea that hard work is rewarded, the American Dream purports a system of success based on persistence and merit. It is this very system that has drawn people from all over the world to the US and that has made America the melting pot it is today.
Know Stone Unturned is also part of that dream.
The American Dream is as hot a topic today as ever, with many news sources arguing that the Dream is being gobbled up by the top percentage of earners, leaving little opportunity for the rest. Despite our economic differences, the dream also reminds us that we all share a common thread in the search for prosperity. We are all dreaming, hustling and striving for our goals, whether that’s raising a family, buying a house, writing a novel, recording an album, or becoming the next Michael Jordan.
In this way, the dream is not lost, but it’s likely what we dream about has changed.
Today, the American Dream may be more about living a meaningful life and less about grounded security for young people coming of age in this new world economy. As we were starting Know Stone Unturned, we came across countless travel bloggers with a shared story: that of quitting their corporate jobs to pursue a life of adventure and new experiences.
With the advent of the Internet, and more Americans dreaming of becoming their own bosses, the IT explosion, boom in blogging, Etsy shops, and charity-based businesses have all been on the rise for years. It seems the American Dream is increasingly returning to its entrepreneurial roots, perhaps more reminiscent of the country’s early days when the Dream represented exploration and the allure of the great frontier.
Regardless of the method or the times, what’s craved has remained the same: a sense of freedom that’s achieved through success. Whether looking to become a big executive or start your own business, the American Dream is about the idea that you can make it if you try.
We all know that capitalism drives competition, which can create a kind of ruthless culture around success. Business can be cutthroat, and anyone who really wants to ‘make it’ is taught to work harder and longer than everyone else in order to achieve their goals. Yet, as much as the American Dream is focused on the individual, it is also fundamentally rooted in inclusion, the whole – that is, the opportunity for anyone to succeed and prosper regardless of race, gender, sexuality, class, religion or ethnicity. As we look around at our friends, neighbors, classmates, colleagues and family members all swimming toward their own versions of the American Dream, it is precisely this national ethos of success for all that can drive empathy, because the health of any society is dependent on the health of the individuals that make it up.
We are living in an increasingly divided culture dictated by differing political beliefs, economic opportunities, access to education, and where we live. Yet the American Dream remains a unifying force that can raise our society to great heights if we begin to value our collective success as much as we value our personal prosperity. This is true inclusion, the road to collaboration and cooperation that can enable us to transcend and evolve together as people despite our differences.