The United States has always been a country for dreamers. The men who "invented America" dreamed of a new kind of nation where freedom ruled, rather than a king or a particular religion. We tend to forget that our country was created from scratch by a group of British colonial lawyers and intellectuals. It began with an idea of new democratic republic, independent from Britain—a notion that was considered foolish if not absolutely mad by two thirds of their fellow colonists, not to mention the British Parliament. But men like Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin turned their dream into the American Dream.
For the impoverished immigrants and squatters who helped that dream evolve into a world power within a few generations, and for the millions of immigrants who built the United States into a global dominant force by the mid-twentieth century, to dream of achieving more in life than their parents was not difficult.
A country that was made to realize dreams, has somehow now transformed into a country full of dreamers that are scared of expressing their true and wildest dreams due to the fear of striking the rest of us as irrational or arrogant—if not a little bit strange.
How many times do you think Thomas Edison or Walt Disney or Bill Gates heard the words
"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?"
The good American citizen is not supposed to get too big for his britches. The pleasure of shooting doubts, put-downs and fear of failure into big dreamers is not exclusive to Americans. The English have a phrase, "tall poppies": When anyone grows beyond a "normal level", his neighbors should cut him down to size, and fast. The Irish call it "begrudgery." Succeed even a little bit, and everyone in town will come up with a way to knock you down. Almost everywhere the pressure on someone who decides not to stay in lockstep with the majority is equally intense.
I apologize in advance for my vulgarity, but in case anyone tries to shoot your dreams down, or even worst, tries to come for you personally (trust me, it will happen if you happen to be on the rise).
Tell them the following:
"FUCK YOU THEN."
High Performance thinkers ignore their critics and go about their business making history. They use the scorn of naysayers to fuel the quest.
Not so long ago, people boasted about being middle class, "an average American". But what's average these days? A middle-class home owner with 2.45 kids, and a two car garage. Also being an average American is being twenty to thirty pounds overweight, its also being on your third or fourth job; constantly grumbling about your boss; being upside down with credit card debt; divorced or on the verge of a split; having lousy, estranged relationships with your children; and on your way to your first heart attack. If you want more than that in life, then you have to come up with a better American Dream.