The American Dream

The American Dream

The American Dream

The American Dream. While it is a quintessentially American aspiration, each of us has a unique vision of just what it is. For some, the dream is a chance to build a successful business. For others, it’s a home of their own. And for still others, it’s the opportunity to shop until they drop. As alluring as all of these visions are, however, I would respectfully suggest that they are outcomes of the dream and not the dream, itself. The American Dream is actually a state of mind.

We all know, of course, that the American Dream exists because we live in a nation founded on certain extraordinary principles. Much as we take them for granted, deep down inside, every American knows that they are especially fortunate to live in a land where they are accorded an enduring right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. While most of us are very clear about what Life and Liberty mean, however, there is some confusion about the pursuit of Happiness. And it’s that misunderstanding which causes us to misperceive the American Dream.

The founding fathers, themselves, inadvertently provoked this situation with their capitalization choices. They used initial caps on Life, Liberty and Happiness, when what they really meant to enshrine was a commitment to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. In other words, what the American Dream promises is not a right to happiness, but a right to Achieve it on our own.

What does that mean for those of us in the workforce?

Over the past decade or so, social scientists have been trying to figure out just what happiness is and where it comes from. While many of us think the answers to such questions are intuitively obvious, it turns out that we may be selling ourselves short. Humans have the capacity not only to experience happiness, but to experience joy, as well. And those two states are very different.

Joy is an emotional state. It is derived from our relationships with family and friends. When those interactions engage and satisfy us, when they enable us to be the best of ourselves with the others in our Life, we experience joy-one of the human species’ greatest gifts.

Happiness, on the other hand, is a cognitive state. It occurs when we are tested by meaningful challenges that stimulate us to express and experience our fullest natural potential, our talent. These challenges can occur anywhere, but they are most prevalent in the workplace. In other words, our best shot at Achieving happiness occurs when we put ourselves in a position to excel at what we love to do.

That is the essence of the American Dream. It is a personal commitment, a determination to devote our Life and exercise our Liberty to the accomplishment of two tasks:

  • To discovering our natural talent or what we love to do and do best.
  • and

  • To working only where we can use that talent to achieve satisfying goals.
  • The outcome of those tasks will be unique to each of us, but the tasks themselves are the same for all of us. They represent our right to the Pursuit of happiness.

    Those two tasks are also the key to a successful job search and a rewarding career. Whether we’re in transition or currently employed, they enable and empower us to control our destiny, to shape it to an end that is important and fulfilling to us. It is our right, to be sure, but it is also our responsibility. For only we can take the first step, only we can decide to set off on our own personal Pursuit of happiness.

    Why should we bother? Because as wonderful as the joy is in our relationships, we deserve more. We spend at least one-third of our lives at work, and that experience should offer more than frustration, anxiety and despair. It should be, it can be a source of profound fulfillment. Or what the founding fathers called Happiness.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    Visit my blog at Weddles.com/WorkStrong

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about WEDDLE’s Newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will we.

    Give the Gift of a Hopeful Future

    These are tough times for everyone in the workplace. Husbands, wives, partners, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers.

    It doesn’t matter whether you have two or thirty-two years of employment experience, today’s world of work is a risky, even threatening place. And it is also the place where you spend one-third or more of your day.

    So what should you do? Give yourself and everyone else you care about the gift of a hopeful future. Give Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System.

  • If you’re in transition, it will help you heal your career even as you hunt for a new job.
  • If you’re currently employed, it will help you strengthen and protect your career.
  • Click here to get a 34% discount on the book at Amazon.com!

    Or, if you’d like A FREE WORK STRONG WRISTBAND, order the book directly from WEDDLE’s by calling 203.964.1888 or clicking here.

    Don’t delay. Give the gift of a hopeful future. Get Work Strong right away!

    Our Featured Books

    The Best Guides to the Best Job Boards Period

    Get these job search bestsellers today:

  • WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. This Gold Standard of guides to the Web’s 100,000+ job boards and career portals has been completely updated so you can find the best sites for you and your career.

    This edition of the Guide, our 9th, introduces an entirely new format: The Top 100, our pick of the most effective job boards and career portals on the Web, and the Best & the Rest, a directory of over 10,000 sites organized by career field, industry and geographic focus. There’s no better way to know which way to go on the Web!

  • WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide to Association Web Sites. Employers often post their best jobs at the Web-sites of local, state, regional or national professional associations. This one-of-a-kind Guide enables you to determine which of those associations have the job search resources you need to connect with those employers.

    The Association Guide lists over 3,000 associations by the career field, industry or location in which they specialize and indicates whether they have a job database, a resume database and/or a discussion area for professional networking. It is the only book of its kind in print and the only way to find the “hidden job market” on the Web!

  • How can you get these amazing resources? Click here to reach our online bookstore or call 203.964.1888 to order your copies of these truly unique job search guides.

    And don’t forget to share. Get the Guides for your spouse or partner, your sons and daughters, even your working mother or father. These books will help them find their dream job, as well. So, don’t delay; get your WEDDLE’s Guides today!

    To Find the Right Job, Find the Real You First

    If you’re searching for more meaning in your career, if you want the time you spend on-the-job to be more fulfilling and rewarding for you, then read Peter Weddle’s new book Recognizing Richard Rabbit. Amazon described it as “a gentle way to figure out your dreams.”

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults from 22 to 62 and older. It recounts the tale of some forest animals that try to help one of their friends, a rabbit that’s stuck in his hole. Their efforts to free him are laced with humor and insight and ultimately open a pathway to the secret of authentic living. To being your own true self.

    How does that happen? Unlike traditional fables, this story unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can climb out of whatever hole you may have fallen in and become the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for.

    So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 203.964.1888 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.

    Our Featured Employment Web Site

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.

    There are 50,000 job boards and career portals now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2009/10 Guide profiles The Top 100 employment sites on the Web today and provides The Best & the Rest, a listing of over 10,000 such sites worldwide. It’s all of the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    CollegeRecruiter.com

    http://www.collegerecruiter.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Number of jobs: 1,500,000

    Salary levels of jobs: $201-250K/year, $250K+/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: No

    How long are resumes stored: N/A

    Restrictions on who can post: N/A

    Other services for job seekers: Discussion forum for networking, Assessment instruments, Career information, Links to other sites with career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Give the Gift of a Hopeful Future

    These are tough times for everyone in the workplace. Husbands, wives, partners, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers.

    It doesn’t matter whether you have two or thirty-two years of employment experience, today’s world of work is a risky, even threatening place. And it is also the place where you spend one-third or more of your day.

    So what should you do? Give yourself and everyone else you care about the gift of a hopeful future. Give Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System.

  • If you’re in transition, it will help you heal your career even as you hunt for a new job.
  • If you’re currently employed, it will help you strengthen and protect your career.
  • Click here to get a 34% discount on the book at Amazon.com!

    Or, if you’d like A FREE WORK STRONG WRISTBAND, order the book directly from WEDDLE’s by calling 203.964.1888 or clicking here.

    Don’t delay. Give the gift of a hopeful future. Get Work Strong right away!