How to Achieve the American Dream

by Darrin Donnelly on October 14, 2013

You’ve been lied to.

You’ve been told that to achieve financial success, you have to work endless hours and sacrifice a happy family life.  You’ve been told that successful people got to where they are by being ruthless and/or dishonest.  You’ve been told that life is unfair and success is just a matter of random luck.

In short, you’ve been told that the American Dream – the idea of going out and creating a peaceful, happy, and prosperous life – is no longer achievable.

A poll conducted by YouGov earlier this year reports that 63% of Americans now say that the American Dream is either impossible to achieve or that they are unsure whether it’s possible to achieve.  That percentage of negativity is staggering to me.  The poll question didn’t ask if the American Dream was unlikely or difficult, but whether it was IMPOSSIBLE for most people to achieve.  The majority of respondents said it was impossible rather than possible.

I think people with this pessimistic viewpoint have it all wrong.  I believe the American Dream is just as achievable as it ever was – even more so, actually, thanks to the increased opportunities given to us by new technologies.

However, I think people today have been brainwashed by a modern mindset of pessimism, apathy, fear, narcissism, selfishness, busyness, and skepticism.  Such a widely-embraced negative mindset ENSURES that people will fail to achieve the things that truly make them happy and prosperous.

I believe the key to achieving the American Dream begins with the proper mindset.  That means breaking away from the seven negative values mentioned above and replacing them with positive values.

These positive values directly counter those embraced by most people today.  For that reason, they may sound a little old fashioned.  There was a time not so long ago when these POSITIVE values were embraced by American culture.  Not surprisingly, they created a culture of prosperity and “happy days” where the American Dream was believed in, strived for, and achieved by more people every day.

So, here they are, the seven “old school” virtues that make the American Dream a reality.

1) Optimism
Instead of falling into the pessimistic mindset so popular these days, the optimist embraces a can-do, positive attitude.  He or she believes that dreams can come true and that every adversity carries with it a seed of opportunity.

2) Drive
While many people go through life with an apathetic, what’s-the-use mentality, the old school thinker strives to get better every day.  They decide what they truly want out of life and they are determined to persevere until they accomplish their goals.

3) Courage
Most people today live in a constant state of fear and worry.  They’re afraid to take risks and spend their life trying to survive rather than thrive.  It takes courage to overcome these fears and start a business, implement a trading strategy, write a book, go for that dream job, or chase any other worthwhile dream.

4) Humility
In today’s narcissistic culture, egos are bigger than ever and nobody likes to admit failure or share the credit when success is achieved.  But the fact is, life is a TEAM sport and those who can embrace humility by accepting responsibility when they make mistakes and acknowledging the help they received from others when they succeed stand out like never before.  True leaders are humble leaders and they will have no shortage of customers, followers, and friends.

5) Charity
Being charitable means putting people above things.  It means making sacrifices by putting the needs of others above your own.  This type of thinking goes directly against today’s selfish, me-first mentality, but it’s essential to success in any endeavor.  Whether running a business, working for a company, or simply trying to provide for your family, to succeed you must adopt an attitude of service to others.  Zig Ziglar said it best when he stated, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

6) Simplicity
The amount of information and technology we now have instant access to is exciting, but it has also created a culture of commotion that makes it difficult to avoid distractions, noise, and not-so-helpful opinions.  To be successful, you must take time to quiet your mind, to focus your time and energy on the 20% of your actions that produce meaningful results, and to keep your life simple.  Cut out needless busyness and make sure you’re taking the time to enjoy life’s peaceful gifts.

7) Faith
We live in an increasingly skeptical and secular society, yet studies repeatedly show that those who regularly attend religious services make more money, tend to be healthier, and report being happier about life than those who don’t.  The power of faith, particularly in a loving and helpful God, can’t be denied.  While the faithful are often mocked, those who believe they can trust in and rely on God in difficult times are more likely to achieve the American Dream.


The opportunity to achieve the American Dream has not been lost.  What’s been lost is the mindset that makes achieving the American Dream possible.

If you can “go old school” and adopt the virtues listed above as the pillars of your mindset, you will have a tremendous advantage over the mainstream culture of negativity.  You will be able to achieve the American Dream as it was meant to be achieved.

A life of peace, prosperity, and happiness is possible and the secret to achieving it is by embracing the seven old school virtues listed above.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sebastian March 24, 2014 at 5:09 am

Great Site, Great Blog! Couldn’t agree more with the viewpoints in this one ! Keep it up !


Darrin Donnelly March 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

Thank you, I really appreciate that!


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