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Who stole the American dream?

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For quite a while now I’ve been encouraging people to take charge of their financial destiny as part of their overall plan for a happier life.  I’ve even created an 8-cd audio program, “Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck” to help people understand that we all are in fact, capable of earning whatever income we choose and to help them find ways to do this. 


It frustrates me when I continue to see hardworking people, living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, losing their homes because of a few hundred dollars a month.  Right now, in the US, there are 1,000,000 mortgages in default. It's time we all learned to take charge of our own destiny. As Chris Gardner, author of the Pursuit of Happyness,  said, "The calvary is not coming."

What happened?  Who stole their dream?  

As the title above, borrowed from a book by my friend Burke Hedges suggests, someone actually stole your dream . . .  if . . . you let them.  This didn’t happen over night, nor was it necessarily intentional.  But happen, it most certainly did.  

Our colleges and universities are churning out hordes of well-educated young people who have been conditioned to become “good employees.”  While, on the surface, this seems like a good idea in practice it has taken away people's belief in their own ability to earn income. They are taught that all they earn is what their employer gives them in their paycheck.

 If you follow the history of the United States you will see the progression from the early days following the Revolutionary War, a time when most people owned and operated a small business, to the industrial age, when towns sprung up around factories and people went to a job.  

These were not the ideal jobs, being in factories, mills or mines where people worked long hour hours for low pay and the only ones getting ahead were the “fat cat” owners and managers.  

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It stands to reason that the children of these hard working people would want something better so they went to college and found white collar management jobs in those same factories, wearing shirts and ties and using their brains rather than their brawn.  We then entered the information age, a time when the knowledge worker became the most sought after candidate for the jobs that were available.  At this point, we have several generations of workers who are college educated to perform a function at some company.  

Fortunately, as Dan Pink beautifully points out in his book “A Whole New Mind,” we have moved passed this into the "Creative age," a time when individual creativity and contribution is once again valued.  

Who stole the American dream is of little consequence now, since more and more Americans have taken it back and are starting their own ventures. 

It’s interesting that immigrants who arrive here with virtually nothing and have no preconceived ideas of how it “should be” done, start small business at four times the rate of native born people.  The American dream is still alive and well as long as we are willing to go for it and it's time we all learn to develop additional streams of income and stopped living paycheck to paycheck.

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Jim Donovan, is the author of several critically acclaimed self-help books, published in more than 20 countries, an inspiring motivational speaker and life coach. For a bonus gift and subscription to his "Jim's Jems" ezine visit his Web site.

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Times have changed and not for the better, When I ... by RICHARD SHADE on Monday, Dec 3, 2007 at 2:59:32 AM
Hi:I'm all for working to achieve what you wan... by Jim Donovan on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007 at 12:14:14 PM