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What’s Your American Dream?

I am the American Dream. I am the epitome of what the American Dream basically said. It said, you could come from anywhere and be anything you want in this country. That’s exactly what I’ve done. — Whoopi Goldberg

It’s hard to not think of those million souls who have fought for the greatest gift we all cherish — to have liberty, justice and our way of life by pursuing American dream. If you’ve doubts — with the economic meltdown of the past three years — about your American dream, you are not alone!

Despite all the rhetoric from our politicians and close to a double-digit unemployment rate, American dream is still well and alive.

I’ve personally known scores of people from different walks of life succeeding against all odds in the past three years.

I recently stumbled upon a press release from the Washington University in St. Louis about a class they offer. The headline: “American dream still possible, but more difficult to achieve.”

The very attempt to juxtapose words possible and difficult made me think. I am not insinuating that what is taught in this course — I don’t even know the content — is wrong. I am simply challenging the premise that American dream is difficult to achieve.

 American dream is alive.

There are countless people around the globe risking their lives to come to this great nation. They risk it all by escaping tyranny to come to this promise land and build successful businesses.

Henry Taylor from Hattiesburg, Pennsylvania is proving that no matter who you are  and where you come from, American dream is as promising to you as it ever was to those Mayflower immigrants who first arrived to this promise land in November 1620.

This little story of inspiration makes the fabric of the American dream. It’s the quintessential example that academia ignores to teach. In fact, this inspirational story is enough for our young generation to learn from.

This is my humble attempt to dissect essence of what I’ve learned from this story about pursuit of the American dream.

1. Always think of opportunities.

When Henry arrived in Hattiesburg, he didn’t even have a car. So, he had to use taxi service for his transportation needs. He noticed that the service was not good enough. He found an opportunity. That led him to have an American dream to own his tax cab service. He lacked wheels but he didn’t lack courage to spot an opportunity.

Have  you ever squandered the desire to pursue your dream when you noticed an opportunity like the one Henry did? We all have.

We allow our mental block to kill our dream by thinking why we can’t pursue our dream. If you think of adversity, think about Henry. Albeit, he didn’t have even wheels when he spotted an opportunity, he was determined to pursue his dream.

He had little money to invest.  So he ended up buying a junk car first to launch his cab service. If you ever think that money is the reason you can’t pursue your dream, you need to overcome the biggest mental block to move forward.

2. Live it every moment.

Forward ever, backward never.  — Henry Taylor

Henry proves that there is no room for second guessing once start pursuing your American dream. His cab is his office. He gives red carpet treatment to anyone who seeks his cab service.

Squash the bug of negativity; drive forward with vision and fully immersed yourself in the journey with the goal to achieve your destination.

I believe that American dream is alive for those who are happy now with their journey in the present moment; they have mapped out their destination vividly.

3. Have gratitude.

I’m very happy to be in this country, to be in Hattiesburg, and to be in this business.  — Henry Taylor

Despite the success with his business, Henry is humble. He has not forgotten that he is successful not only by his stead fast commitment to pursue his dream but also by his pastor who helped him grow his business.

Most immigrants succeed in their efforts to build successful businesses not because they are greedy or they work to accumulate wealth. They are successful because of their passion and gratitude for the opportunity this nation offers without bias to their race, color or gender.

Most Americans live life way difficult to fathom for the rest of the world. I have immense gratitude for this great nation for giving me the very opportunity when I came here with nothing and successfully achieved my dream.

I wish that, someday,  my daughters will travel the world to experience how people from all walks of life struggle daily to drink even clean water. I know that they will have more gratitude for those great souls who have fought for the justice, freedom and American way of life.

Readers: What is your American dream? Do you believe that American dream is still alive? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’m in a weird band. We’ve done very well. The American Dream is alive and well.  — Gene Simmons


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Comments (24)

This is such a thoughtful post, Shilpan! The Henry Taylor story is fascinating. It’s so ironic that he started out not owning a car, bit in spite of this, started and grew his own taxi service. This shows what having passion and seeing opportunity can do for those who see more in the world that many others don’t even bother to look at.

You are correct Anthony. Opportunities are all around us. We often fail to recognize them. The story has given me new perspective of being open to any opportunity that comes my way.

american dream to me is very much alive. no where else does one have as many opportunities as in the good old USA. hard work, perseverance, – dont understand why most dreams cant come true.

sad part is, just living in american is a dream come true for most.

Agreed. Seizing an opportunity + hard work + persistence = Realizing your American dream.

I am living the American Dream! I was just a kid from humble beginnings who grew up to get a great job, take care of himself financially, and I still have so much further to go with all the ideas I want to fulfull. There is so much out there for the taking; we’ve just to got to be ambitious enough to pursue it.

Well said MMD. There’s no dearth of opportunities to explore. It’s up to us to seize them.

[…] of the achieving the American dream in this stale economy, raise your spirits and check out what’s your American dream over at Street Smart Finance. As somebody who could count their total doctor’s visits on one […]

Shilpan, I think we’ve talked about this a bit but I believe the American Dream is alive and well for people that come from countries outside the US.

Most Americans have become lazy and engulfed in a life of materialism. For them, the dream will be extremely difficult to achieve.

However, for people that have been instilled with a great work ethic and have come from depressed backgrounds (typically people coming in this country from the outside) have a much different look at what America offers and they will have an easier road.

Agreed my friend. What is taught in class room is not always depicting reality. :)

I think it’s still alive, but I think it has become harder to achieve. Upward mobility is becoming less of a selling point for this country as there are other countries making it even more possible for this to happen for its citizens, and are doing a better job of it than the US.

That being said, isn’t everything that’s worth doing difficult? Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and success ultimately means that much more when you exert more effort to achieve it.

Absolutely. Anything worth achieving ought to be difficult.

Of course the American dream is still alive, but you have to work for it! I think that’s where people make a mistake in saying it isn’t alive anymore. I think our country has gotten used to luxury (as compared to other countries), not waiting for anything, and having any option available that they want, and now… and that mindset sets us up to think the American dream is gone because we haven’t acheived it. THe key to getting it is that you have to work and try, very hard!! The American dream isn’t given freely, it’s achieved by those who work for it and want it!

Amen! You are right on the money my friend.

My American Dream is to continue to do whatever I love whenever I want to…and to have the ability to succeed without intervention by the government.


The problem with this post is no mention of the American nightmare. We claim to have a great nation but our constitutional rights are being stripped away from us at every turn. In some states, the fourth amendment is ignored by the police who enter homes at will, take individuals to jail, don’t press charges but leave them in legal limbo for seven years. The Americam dream is dead and the American lie is kept quiet through intimidation. I have lived and worked in communist countries and felt safer there than in American suburbs. To the lucky few who believe in or are living the American dream watch out – they’re coming for you too.

I am speechless. Show me one communist country which is safer than good ole’ America. Show me one country where people around the world wish to live other than America for a brighter future.

You should be furious, not speechless. The fact is that America is no the country we portray it to be to the rest of the world. The sad thing is the old adage, “they came for my neighbor and I said nothing, then they came for me and no one was left to say anything” is a description of America in the 21st century. It’s truly a shame.

Who are they? Let’s get over the rhetoric and show me and my readers facts to support your argument. I gave you real example of a guy who came to this country with nothing but — with hard work and positive attitude — he is living American dream.

I think the American dream is possible for anyone in living in America. There are opportunities everywhere, anybody can make their dream come true, they just have to go for it!

Every new generations has seen more opportunities than previous generations if you glance through the history of America. Opportunities indeed are everywhere. It’s up to you to capitalize on them.

my american dream really didn’t kick into gear until i had kids, but now i want to provide the best life that i can for them and to open up the future.

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