The American Dream is often considered a central part of American identity. Citizens boast of the ability to work their way up from the bottom to achieve anything and everything they desire. They tell stories of people who have come to the United States with nothing and built a life for themselves in spite of that. Stories of people living out the coveted “American Dream.” What is frequently left out is the individual determination that drives the success found in the stories. This can lead to a misconception of what the American Dream really is. I think it’s important to stress that the American Dream doesn’t mean success for every citizen. Not everyone will end up having the life they wished for. Not everyone will be part of the stories told to inspire others. However, everyone has the possibility for this.
If you’re willing to work for it, America can be the best place to reach your goals. America will provide you with the platform to work your way from the ground up, creating something from nothing. You will have the chance to be who you wish and do what you want, but not if you don’t give your best effort. Because, in America, equality of outcome isn’t guaranteed, equality of opportunity is.
Some people start without anything, coming to America with nothing but the clothes on their back and a tremendous amount of courage. Beginning a life in a different country with so many new challenges to overcome. A new language, a new culture, a new way of life. Others were born in America but face hardships daily, having to work twice as hard and support their family. Resilience, hard work, independence, and ambition are all traits essential to not simply surviving in this environment, but thriving in it. It would be easy to cower from these challenges and let them stop you in your tracks. It would be easy to say it was too hard and the world was against you. You could take your anger out on the world for starting you out at an unfair advantage and not giving you any chance to succeed. However, when you get to America, this argument isn’t so easy to make anymore. In America you do have a chance to succeed, just as much as anybody else. It’s true you may begin in a more difficult position, having to work a little harder to achieve what you want, but what you want is truly achievable. You have all the opportunities, you merely have to believe in yourself enough to take advantage of them. I think that’s what being an American is about: believing you can do anything anyone else can, because newsflash, you can.