If you ask any student coming to the United Students about their goals, most of them will mention the American Dream. This term is quite common among expats and immigrants, but not everybody truly understands what it means. Let’s give it an accurate definition!
What is the American dream?
The American dream is a firm belief that anyone can reach their own version of success no matter where one was born or what class of society one comes from. It’s also believed that the American dream is achieved through sacrifice, hard work and risk-taking. Hence, it has nothing to do with luck and getting things by chance.
The term American dream was invented by James Adams, writer and historian, who first used it in his best-seller Epic of America published in 1931. Initially, he described it as “the dream of a land where life is richer and better for everyone, offering multiple opportunities that correspond to people’s abilities and achievements”.
Adams also said that many people don’t interpret his term adequately. In fact, the American dream is not about having high income and luxurious items. It’s more about a dream of social order, when everybody can reach their fullest potential and get recognition regardless of the circumstances of birth.
As you see, the phrase “American dream” historically represented an ideal society. But over some time, it became associated mainly with economic success that leads to a comfortable life. If you ask students or older people about the American dream today, most of them will describe it as a success story of a self-made man or woman. When it comes to immigrants, many of them would associate the American dream with big achievements and prosperity through determination and hard work.
The American dream in numbers
Nowadays, the American dream is commonly related to homeownership. Many view it a symbol of great independence and absolute financial success. Maybe property owning is not everything one can desire, but it’s definitely a major element of the American Dream. So how close are people living in the United States to their American dream, according to the statistics? The numbers show that the homeownership rate was 65.8% as for the end of 2020. Compared to the previous year, this number reflects an increase of 0.7%.
Obstacles towards the American dream
Not all ambitious people manage to fulfill their American dream. What prevents them from that? The answer is below!
Lack of motivation
Motivation is the first thing that comes to anybody’s mind when talking about dreams and goals. Without it, achieving anything is impossible as motivation works as a driving mechanism. So the question that often arises among young people is how to get motivated? The thing is that a universal answer doesn’t exist. Motivation is a highly individual thing. For example, for students who have just moved to the United States, it could be helpful to read the american dream essays for free since they contain a lot of inspiring real stories of successful immigrants. But for others it wouldn’t work since they tend to get more motivated through communication only. In this case, it would be better to visit some interesting events and talk to successful people.
High stress levels
Psychologists say that stress limits achieving success. For sure, it’s a big obstacle on one’s way towards the life of their dream. When you are stressed out, you are not able to think about the most appropriate behavior strategy that leads to success. What’s more, you are less likely to stick to your plan because of mental exhaustion. On the contrary, a positive outlook helps you realize your full potential and be productive. It also helps to overcome all the difficulties much faster and more easily. To reduce your stress levels, you should incorporate healthy habits. For example, start meditating, get enough sleep and take time to exercise.
Since American education is very expensive compared to other countries, international students usually take a loan to obtain a degree. To pay off that loan, they need to work hard, spending most of their free time at a job. But still, it may take years to earn the necessary amount of money. As you might know, reaching a dream requires a certain extent of financial independence. Most desires can be fulfilled with money, and the American dream is no exception. Therefore, you should learn to manage your finances. Start planning your budget, cut unnecessary spending and make some savings. This way, you will be more likely to reach what you want.
Helen Birk is a life coach and academic tutor working mainly with college students. She helps young people achieve their ambitious goals faster, while keeping a life balance. Helen believes that everybody can fulfill their dreams, no matter how incredible they are.