Success, as described by Winston Churchill, is “…going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. ” This has taken on greater meaning in our modern day, as the path to success has seemingly become more complex. Is the American dream still valid? I would say yes, considering that we are currently in a recession. The term “American Dream” is used in a number of ways, but really the American Dream is an idea that suggests that all people can succeed through hard work, and that all people have the potential to live happy, successful lives.
Many people have expanded or refined the definition of the American Dream. This concept has also been subject to a fair amount of criticism. Many people believe that in order to reach the idealistic goal of the American Dream, they would have to reach particular standards of success. In my opinion, there are three standards of success: academic success, societal success, and financial success. Academic success is important because it is strongly related to the positive outcomes we all value.
Not surprisingly, research shows that adults with high levels of education are more likely to be employed, and to earn higher salaries (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001; U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1999). The number of jobs requiring a college education is expected to grow more than twice as fast as those not requiring a college education over the next ten to twenty years (Fleetwood & Shelley, 2000; Rentner & Kober, 2001). Academically successful students will have more employment opportunities than those with less education.
Therefore, academic success may mean the difference between working at a job only “because it pays the rent” and working at a job that you actually enjoy. Societal success is something that is reached by desiring to reach your own goals and dreams that support the goals that society has for us. Societal success also has a lot to do with the natural tendencies we as humans have. The typical societal goals that we would naturally have for ourselves would be to meet someone, fall in love and get married. We are also able to identify having good friends with having achieved socially.
Typically, we have achieved societal success if we have met the right person, lived happily, started a family and raised our children well. A part of societal success is also to learn to treat people well; practice the “golden rule. ” We need to fill these goals that society has for us, and attempt to achieve societal success in order to fill our need to belong to society and fit in. Financial success could be different for each person. Personally, I think financial success means not having to worry about money. Not necessarily being wealthy, but to be comfortable, pay bills, and take care of basic necessities.
Most people define it as being debt-free, while others define it as being able to save money for long-term goals such as education and retirement. Several tips to getting ahead in financial success include: sticking to a budget, paying off credit card debt, and having a savings plan (Fowles, 2012). Personal fulfillment is another factor to consider for success. This would be the “Self Actualization” step in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Wikipedia). This concept could be viewed as “being all you can be”, and feeling like you matter and that you’re making a difference.
This is the feeling of what you do and who you are is of importance. If you have the first 3 standards of success, but still feel unfilled and useless, then you don’t enjoy the full meaning of success. Some may see success as sheer luck. In the words of columnist Earl Wilson, “Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure. ” Part of being successful is having the motivation to take risks and play the hand of luck a little more freely than others. So of course there will be times when potentially successful people fail.
And there is certainly a limit of bad luck that nobody would be expected to rise above without a good start to life or a helping hand along the way. But of the people who do achieve success, I say it is luck far more than anything else that drives it. Everyone’s vision of success is different. Wealth, happiness, and fame are all the stereotypical goals of the common person’s so-called “American Dream. ” My American dream includes more of the first two aspects than anything else. Happiness is the most important; without happiness, wealth and fame are useless.
Without happiness, success cannot exist. If you cannot look at yourself in the mirror and evaluate your own life as a success, then why should anyone else consider you successful? Wealth can contribute to happiness. No matter what anyone says, having more material goods makes your standard of living better, which normally is a direct connection to happiness. Fame, to me, isn’t needed but rather acquired through the life of the successful person. A legacy is more honorable than fame, because after death fame is a more humble characteristic.
Changing others lives, after they looked at your life in retrospect, makes fame an irreplaceable part in success. What once was obtained through hard work and perseverance now requires more technical training and business savvy. The markets, once open to the everyday American, now requires a compass to travel through the maze that has become our financial problem, otherwise known to the rest of the world as Capitalism.
Having said that, one should take into account that there are other nations that have increasingly improved infrastructures perhaps better suited to provide what was once known as the “American Dream. Word Count- 947 Process Paragraph I feel that I did much better on this essay than the last. This time I utilized a better outline, which helped me out with the flow of my essay. This time I remembered to include my works cited in my text; still not sure if I cited correctly. I feel that I can still use a lot of work with writing essays. A definition essay seems slightly easier than a proposal essay because it was simply just defining something and giving points rather than trying to persuade someone to agree with something you want them to agree in.
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