What is Your American Dream?

In his book, The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams became the first to coin the term “American Dream” and define it.

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

Moving up is at the heart of the American Dream, yet ironically we rank below most other developed countries in class mobility. If you’re born poor in America, you are very likely to stay poor.

When someone does “make it,” it is ascribed to hard work alone. But the reality is that there is always an invisible network of people, organizations, institutions, policies and services that create opportunities for that person to get ahead. In other words, we can work hard to climb the ladder, but someone has to build that ladder in the first place.

What did your ladder look like? Take 5 minutes to draw it now. What rungs did you climb to get you where you are?

Learn more about what others think is essential for achieving THE AMERICAN DREAM.

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