The American Dream is being Updated - Part 5

Today, we watch the courageous surge of experienced professionals, voluntarily and involuntarily, moving towards entrepreneurship. Today’s internet technology has enabled anyone to work, market, and compete globally with low overhead and a high level of flexibility. The attraction to be one’s own boss has a similar ring to the American Dream, but is somewhat different. It’s not just about work, but it is about creating a lifestyle of flexibility and fullness, being your own boss and doing work you love. The sense of false security working for a corporation is replaced by the belief in oneself above anything else.

As the new American Lifestyle continues to evolve, corporate America will as well. The shift from an obsession with work to living a full life will continue to be challenged by every type of worker from entrepreneurs, to skilled talent, to college graduates, to dual career couples and families, women, men, and experienced retirees. The new American lifestyle we speak of, is gaining momentum in every walk of life.

More recently, the global ethical and financial crisis has pushed us to look more closely at how we are living our lives. The spiraling greed and illegal business practices of Enron and the risky behavior of Wall Street were only the tip of the iceberg. We truly don’t know what other surprises will come our way, but we are now aware that nothing will ever be like it was before.  The American Dream was all mom and apple pie—it never spoke of greed, corruption, and the possibility that trusted professionals would be either unethical or laissez-faire about the long-term and global implications of their decisions. The American dream blindly screamed out, if you work hard, it too will come.

Millions of Americans now realize that our lives, our global economy, the world of work, and our institutions have to change. The old rules, the old expectations, and old behaviors are no longer serving our country, ourselves, and our planet. Whether voluntarily or involuntarily we are becoming environmentally conscious and having to change our ways. Our habits of being consumers, focusing on instant gratification, and living with a “we deserve it” mentality have shifted. Our habits of being the “throw-away” society are being closely re-examined.  The simplicity movement has become mainstreamed.  It is no longer about living off the land, but about taking care of our planet and enjoying the simple things in life, first and foremost. It’s about using our natural resources wisely and choosing not to always want more at the expense of what is most important. It’s about living a full, healthy, joyful life and fulfilling our dreams. Our challenge, is riding the wave as the pieces realign towards the new American Lifestyle.  The need to be creators of our own destiny, communities, and planet are more important than ever.

A strong economy, political stability and safety are still critically important, but of equal value is our right to pursue good health, well-being, and happiness.  More specifically, this new American Lifestyle  can be defined as having meaningful work that provides a sense of well-being, living in a safe and healthy environment, being with people you care about and living a pace of life that allows you to pursue other interests. The pendulum is moving from materialism to a full quality life. Overall this sounds like the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness redefined once again as our forefathers intended.

Excerpted from Courage and Croissants, Inspiring Joyful Living by Suzanne Saxe-Roux and Jean P. Roux

Suzanne Saxe-Roux