The Global American Dream Entrepreneurship / Personal / Travel

Recently, American Family Insurance conducted a survey to determine if the American Dream is still alive. They discovered that 90% of Americans still believe in the American Dream, but only 14% feel like they’re living it. It’s no surprise. The most common dreams chosen by respondents were having money and owning a nice car. And the icon used for “living the dream” was a man laying in hammock in between two palm trees, sipping a cocktail. If money, nice cars, and leisure time in tropical destinations define the American Dream, it’s true that few are living it.

What did surprise me was that except for a small percentage of respondents, people would choose “money” and “a fancy job title” over things like “happiness,” “health,” or “friends.” Of course, money can help us attain a degree of happiness, but it seems a strange end goal to me. Encouragingly, “family” was ranked among the top choices for what is “important to your dream.” You can see the complete survey results here or even take the survey yourself, if you’d like.

Interestingly, one word I didn’t see mentioned at all throughout the survey was “freedom.” To me, this is what the American Dream is all about, and is in large part what the country’s first immigrants found so appealing — well, that and lots of cheap land. Prior to the 19th century, most countries were still run like caste systems, giving little chance for success, wealth, or ease to any except those born into a family who already had it. The American opportunity to pursue dreams, avoid religious oppression, and obtain wealth regardless of social class was a beacon to many.

However, a lot of things have changed since those early days. Most countries now respect women’s right to vote. Segregation by race has largely disappeared, and discrimination against different sexual orientations and religions is even beginning to lessen (well, in some places). Most modern countries allow any citizen to own land, create a business, run for political office, and believe whatever they want without fear of losing their rights. True, there is no utopian society on earth, but we are progressing overall, and the opportunity for success — not just in the United States, but globally — is at an all-time high.

Perhaps the survey didn’t mention freedom because we’re so used to it now that we forget we even have it. It seems that somewhere along the way, the Dream has shifted from the freedom to obtain wealth, success, and ease, to actually having those things. Historically speaking, the average person is wealthier than ever, and it’s become increasingly easy to live our dreams, whatever they may be.

But many people are still stuck in caste age thinking, limited only by their beliefs. Some fear that our society is on the brink of disaster. Fiat currency is being devalued in every corner of the globe, and further inflation is inevitable. Employees are losing jobs and many businesses are failing. Our planet is being polluted and its natural resources used up. Health care in the United States is so expensive that insurance is required to get even the most basic care. Some of our freedoms are even being eroded, from unwarranted property seizures, to the illegality of selling raw milk, to the inconvenient and useless “security” procedures at airports.

It seems we have no control over these events and circumstances. Are we doomed, as the pauper of old, to play out our lives with the cards we’ve been dealt and never aspire to do or become more? I say No! With each challenge comes an opportunity to rise above it. Further, I believe that the “New World” that was once America, now encompasses the entire globe. The Land of Opportunity is all around us. With the advent of the Internet, it also sits right in our lap.

People will always be willing to give you something in exchange for something else of equal or greater value. I’ve created an online business that provides value to music teachers, and they gladly pay me each month for the service I provide. Most of these teachers live in the United States, but many of them live in other countries including Australia, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Ireland, Panama, Brazil, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and dozens more.

This business has allowed me to live my American Dream, which at some point may include a big house and fancy car, but for right now, it’s international travel, time to pursue my passions, improve myself, spend time with my family, and help others achieve their dreams. I’m hoping that the book I’m currently writing about how to create an online business will help accomplish that last one.

People everywhere are looking for valuable solutions to their problems. Do you have a solution that could help someone — anyone — somewhere in the world? If so, then you may have an opportunity to start living your American Dream. There is no need to limit yourself to your country of birth, nor to the social class in which you were raised. Borders between countries are imaginary lines, not much different from the lines that stand in between our dreams and our living reality. You can cross those lines and start living your dreams today. No passport required.


Note: I wrote this article to be published at the same time as several other bloggers who all decided to write about the topic of the “American Dream.” Please see the other posts on this topic below.

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


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  5. Some cold hard truths in this one. Really gets you thinking.

  6. Isn’t it strange how much we get told all the time that we need so many things that we start to believe it?

  7. […] Brandon Pearce from Fullness of Life – The Global American Dream […]

  8. You bring up so many interesting points in this well thought out post. Many people focus on those negative points and end up complaining without moving forward or bettering their situation. I like how have pointed out the positive opportunity in all of this as well.

    As the daughter of immigrant parents, I see the enormous opportunity that I have over what my parents did in their homeland at the time. And am grateful for it.

    I too think that the American Dream exists in opportunity. Opportunity takes work and a creative mind.

    American Dream = Opportunity, not Expectation.

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  10. This is a great post… I actually took the survey and it really shocked me to see that “Fancy Business Title” was ranked by so many people as important. I do think that people, while limited by circumstances, are still able to push through the imaginary boundaries and rise above and really achieve their dreams- they just need to have the right amount of persistence, passion, time, resources, etc. But it CAN be done.
    I’m so proud of you :)

  11. Great article, Brandon. I wonder if all the oddities in the US, like illegality of selling raw milk OR buying beef directly from a cattle farmer or the ridiculous security loopholes in airports, are part of what distract most from following their dreams. All those seemingly little things add up and push us into overwhelm…and it’s impossible to take action on a dream when overwhelmed.

    Can’t wait to see the book you’re writing. I’m sure it will inspire others with the hope of creating an income that facilitates “living the life” of their dreams.

  12. Wow – we are the same page with this one.

    Great article! And great points.

    I’ll tell you what, you publish that book and I promise I will buy it. I have got my American Dream all set, but I could really use some good info on starting an online biz!

    Thanks for the motivation.

  13. You have some realling interesting view points on the Global American Dream.

    Its amaazing how much your health insurance cost over there. In Australia we have a different Health care system – one that makes you wait for years on a waiting list to recieve free hospital care.

    We havent been hit as hard with finanical issues over here, but unemployment rates are rising all of the time.

    The Australian Dream is almost like the American Dream – to have a life of possessions. I am so glad we broke out of that mold.

    All the best with writing your book – is it going to be an ebook?

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  15. I love how you pointed out that the “American Dream” used to be (and should be) all about freedom. I jumped in and decided to make my own list of what the American Dream is, and coincidentally every single thing on my list was “I want the freedom to…”!!! Also, being someone who makes a living online, I also get to live where ever I want. You have such a great biz website, and it is nice to see someone successful encourage others to also stretch their mind and think of what services they could offer to others that could help free them from the run-of-the-mill-lot!!

  16. Awesome article… actually read it after both of the Kings’ posts and wondered if you guys had all conspired to write on the same topic on the same day. Great idea : )

    I’m so proud of you and excited about the life you’re living – and delighted that I have been able to enter into your new American Dream in Costa Rica, meeting your wonderful friends and experiencing it first hand with you. Hope to be able to continue to do that. You inspire your mom!

  17. […] be more to it than this” Goldie lisa thought." Read the blogBrandon from Fullness of Life: The Global American Dream"I believe that the “New World” that was once America, now encompasses the entire globe. […]

  18. Jennifer Pearce Says: September 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I especially liked your focus on freedom. I think all too often it is easy to get trapped inside a box and to think there are no other options. When we can see that the boxes are simply challenges waiting to be overcome, and opportunities waiting to be taken, a whole new world opens up to us. When we allow ourselves to see all of our options, we can step out of the boxes that limit us, and begin to really take steps toward living our dreams.

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  21. I think you are correct in saying freedom is so important, but you are correct in saying many Americans have forgotten what it feels like. I would love include in the definition, freedom from the mental slavery inherent in the current capitalistic system.

  22. Hear hear! “Freedom from the mental slavery inherent in the current capitalistic system” really says it all!

  23. Here in the police state of California the state is trying to save us from ourselves. There are so many rules it’s hard to think of ourselves as free. Your post is brilliant. I’ve always thought great super powers have only lasted 1 or 200 years. Our time might be up.

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