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Redefining the American Dream

The American Dream can be traced back to the founding principles of American society. Although the term is not directly connected to the founding and independence of the nation, it highlights the values and principles set by the Founding Fathers. According to the Declaration of Independence, Americans should hold their truths to be self-evident; all people are considered equal and that they are endowed by a unifying creator (Reeves, 2014). Also, the American dream then protected the opportunity of every person to better their lives through the pursuit of happiness that was not self-indulgence (Holt & Greenwood, 2014). Along the way, the definition of happiness changed to material possession and as such, the American dream shifted from a dream of the opportunity to the acquisition of property. Material possessions, specifically home ownership become the dream of most American during this period.

The American dream as a pursuit of material wealth was supported by many generations that come in after 1920s. In the subsequent generations, American dream has been defined as pursuit of properties, good education, health care and a good career (Howe, 2014). The dream was later expanded to encompass entitlement; working hard and adhering to the rules set by the government would lead to the attainment of certain entitlements supported by the government such as good health, education and housing (Holt & Greenwood, 2014). The American dream today is overly different from what was observed in the past generations. The millennial generation marked the major shift in the dream by considering the pursuant of their passion through innovation and creativity as the major component of the American dream (Krystina, 2015). This generation is turning to a new meaning of the American Dream that focus on creating a meaningful life and contributing to the society through self-initiated hard-work. Even though the millennials still view the American dream as acquiring material wealth, they have amended it to focus more on pursuing of one’s passion through creativity and innovation.

Since the beginning of the American history, every generation has had a distinct interpretation of the American Dream. The reaction to the ideals of the American dream has also changed constantly over the years (David, Gelfeld & Rangel, 2017). Today younger generation, the millennials, who are aged between 18-36 years, are increasingly referred to as the most entrepreneurial generation owing to their desire to utilize the technology to improve how people communicate, move, and produce various products and services . This generation is more concerned with achieving their passion in life, as such are more involved in the execution of self-initiated tasks. Contrary to the generation X that are known for their strict adherence to the regulations, policies and stereotypes, millennials embrace creativity in their undertakings thus their decisions are not determined by any pre-set policies or regulations. Even though they have been various changes in the definition of the American dream, full redefinition to focus on an overly different aspect is evident during the millennial generation.

Analysis of the interpretation of the American Dream among the millennial and generation X shows a vast difference in the current principle appreciated by the two generations. Generation X focused more on education and on securing employment with a reduced focus on research and innovation (Collins & Halverson, 2018). Although this generation is the first in the United States to be better than their parents, a lot of talent and potential often goes to waste. Generation X is increasingly concerned about upward mobility such as increased pay and access to luxurious amenities. Their lives and activities continually revolve around planning their survival upon retirement (Diamandis & Kotler, 2014). Thus, their lifestyle and time management (or life management) explain the slow economic growth and reduced job opportunities. This is different from the millennial that focuses on creativity with the goal of engaging in activities that are likely to meet their needs and desires as well as contribute towards the society.

The resilience nature of the millennial generation has enhanced their innovativeness and creativity leading to the redefinition of the American dream. The current generation strongly belief on self-reliant and has thus focus on satisfying their needs before achieving any other goal (Howe, 2014). In an annual research conducted by an insurance firm in the US, it was obtained that there is a significant shift in the priorities of individuals. Initially, equality and happiness was the major focus of most people. However, recent development has seen a better portion of the millennial embrace the “Do-it-yourself” principle that did not only portray the generation as more resilient but also contributed to the redefinition of the American Dream (Collins & Halverson, 2018). The principle also tests the innovativeness and creativity of an individual. To ensure that most if not all activities initiated within the economy is successful, resilience, innovative and creativity are aspects of training that you must possess. Redefinition of the principle of the American Dream is thus justified.

The skills and knowledge that millennials have gained overtime has played a significant role in enhancing their creativity levels. The driving force was to continually improve processes by coming up with systems that enable people and organizations to conduct various operations at the touch of a button. For instance, social media avenues such as Facebook or Instagram are increasingly being used to expand the market share of businesses as they guarantee a wider audience and reduce operational costs. This can guarantee fast and effective responses to the customer’s messages are they are sorted in order of urgency (Meyer, 2015). Locally, the system can be used in depicting the demographic preferences of their clients, while reflecting which countries have the highest demand on the global market. The emergence of these platforms portrays the generation as more focused on creativity as well as more reliant on knowledge acquired to undertake activities that meets their current needs and desire (David, Gelfeld & Rangel, 2017). The redefinition of the American Dream was thus inevitable based on the enhanced creativity of the millennial generation.

Millennials are highly creative and innovative thus capable of working to address the current world challenges. It is believed that this trait was obtained from the frontier heritage who led to critical inventions and innovations during the Industrial Revolution (Howe, 2014). The findings from a survey on millennials by Bentley University revealed that more than half of the respondent’s desire to start their own enterprises (Howe, 2014). The findings further revealed that most of the respondents would desire to undertake more creative businesses. Similar view was presented in the study by Deloitte where the researchers noted that more than half of the study participants would desire to work independently at a given point in their career (Florida, 2014). As of 2013, 8 percent of the private businesses were owned by individuals under the age of 30 (Florida, 2014). Despite being the lowest figures registered by the Federal Reserve since it began its operations, it is an indicator that the young population is increasingly developing a sense of independence and looking for alternatives to addressing the increasing unemployment rates (Krystina, 2015). The generation is moving away from the desire to own properties to the pursuant of their passion, being independent. This change in the ideals of the American Dream marks the millennial generation as the major contributors to the changes observed so far.

A high level of creativity is welcomed in the current American society. It is believed innovations are critical in any business venture, as such; creativity must be encouraged to support the identification of unique business ideas that will fill various gaps in the market (Collins & Halverson, 2018). Different scholars have vividly explained how innovation is likely to restore the traditional, American Dream ((Howe, 2014; Collins & Halverson, 2018). Innovators are the major drivers of the US economy. Through innovations, more jobs are created as well as production of unique commodity, making them more relevant in enhancing the economic growth and development of America. Also, more industries are created as a result of innovation (Krystina, 2015). The high quality products and services obtained as a result of such creativity are also likely to attract more customers, further promoting the sustainable growth of the company (Florida, 2014).  Creativity and innovation moves a nation forward through putting emphasis on the desire to succeed in every endeavor.

Striving for a better tomorrow is only possible through creativity and attainment of maximum independence in every undertaking. Other than just waiting to get acquire material wealth, that may be depleted, it is important to focus on creativity and innovation to receive much independence for the achievement of a better tomorrow (Krystina, 2015). In essence, innovation and creativity are the current American Dream.

A significant number of new start-ups are evident in the current economies due to the innovative and creative nature of the current generation. In order to achieve self-independence the millennial generation has reverted to the creation of new business (Krystina, 2015). Their creative and innovative nature has supported the opening of viable business enterprises that are likely to succeed (Florida, 2014). These sentiments are also emphasized by the Kauffman Foundation asserting that the sharp rise in startups will be pivotal in the transformation of the country’s economic landscape. In the next decade, it is estimated that each enterprise will create at least ten jobs which will help to increase competition in the job market and spur the growth and expansion of the country’s economy (Howe, 2014). In addition, these businesses will promote productivity. The increase in the number of new start-ups will thus be beneficial to the economy through enhanced productivity and increase in job opportunities.

The low levels of productivity growth among most high-income nations reported in the earlier years was attributed to the inability of older firms to keep up and not to sluggish innovations. The generation then was more focused on acquiring property, as such, stuck to the traditional ways of doing business (Biggar & Hood, 2017). The implications were creation of organizations that registered lower productivity. With the emergence of a generation that put emphasis on independence and creativity, most startups in different economies embrace creativity and innovation as vital factors in the management (Taylor, 2016). As a result, most startups are highly productive due to their comparative advantage in the commercialization of radical innovation and extensive utilization of technology to improve their product qualities and create awareness (Collins & Halverson, 2018). Productivity increases with the establishment of high-productivity firms and the collapse of low-productive rivals. With these trends, it is evident that the millennials have transformed the business landscape and that they have contributed significantly towards the redefinition of the American dream.

Nowadays there seems to be an impending need for creative thinkers as businesses strive to flourish in the competitive market, without stumbling on hard staking obstacles or bureaucratic roadblocks. In this light, millennials reveal a natural tendency to come up with innovative solutions and revolutionary discoveries. Diamandis and Kotler (2014) mentioned that engineering and science have assisted in the creation of systems that have improved the quality of healthcare services and fostered security in the United States. The country has witnessed a significant transformation thanks to scientific knowledge and technological progress by reducing its susceptibility to terrorist attacks, economic meltdown, and natural disasters (Howe, 2014). For instance, one of the deadliest threats faced by our society today is hurricanes and floods. Most of the states along the American coastline are under this threat, each year claiming numerous lives and damaged property worth millions of dollars (Krystina, 2015). Currently, a group of students at MIT are coming up with an application that provides real-time alerts to individuals living in areas prone to hurricane attacks and the possible approaches to reach rescue and evacuation teams closest to the area (Howe, 2014). The leading cause of casualty due to this natural disaster is the lack of knowledge and adequate preparation to mitigate its effects. This is but one example where one can take note of how millennials strive to utilize technology in providing solutions to present-day challenges.

The millennials’ dream of economic stability has assisted in depicting the drawbacks in the previous model of the American dream concerning housing. Legislations have played a significant role in increased homeownership among individuals from different social and economic backgrounds (Krystina, 2015). However, the United States still faces numerous challenges such as the crashing of the housing market, social isolation, and suburban sprawl. It is due to these challenges that the promoted American dream has proven to be environmentally, socially, and economically unstable (Diamandis & Kotler, 2014). The redefinition of the American dream asserts that the freedoms and benefits are possible beyond traditional ownership practices that were increasingly promoted. This dream can be offered through different structural types and ownership that can assist in satisfying the housing wants and needs of Americans without disregarding the mission and goals of the American dream.

The achievement of today’s model of the American dream in relation to housing is attributed to the interstate highway system and modern automobile. The availability of various automobiles and expansion of roads encouraged developers to come up with infrastructure development into suburbs further from cities (Cashin, 2004). This type of housing approach is increasingly seen as an environmentally-friendly solution to mitigate the effects of packed and polluted cities. The implementation of the Fair Housing Act, Home Mortgage Discrimination Act, and Equal Credit Opportunity Act ensured that every individual irrespective of their racial and socioeconomic status had access to loans (Diamandis & Kotler, 2014). Initially, minority groups were denied access due to reduced access to healthcare and jobs. Although the millennials are not facing most of these challenges as most of them were addressed by baby boomers and generation Xers, there is still a need to come up with designs that emphasize the utilization of recyclable materials in construction and promote environmental conservation (Cashin, 2004). Such designs should result in maximizing the utilization of space, while minimizing construction costs. In this regard, it is vivid that millennials contribute to the transformation of the housing sector by coming up with alternatives that make it affordable for persons from diverse social and economic backgrounds to own homes and lead more comfortable lives.

Although the primary goals of the millennial’s American dream are similar to those of previous generations, their actualization is quite different owing to the dynamics at hand. They are not only focused on being creative and innovative but are also involved in formation of businesses in their process of achieving independence (Florida, 2014). The millennial believe that self-employment enables individuals to achieve most of their goals because they are not confided in a particular setting. Furthermore, individuals can direct their activities and practices making it easy to engage in practices that will result in the timely attainment of their vision and goals. Florida (2014) asserts that the rise of the creative class played a significant role in the development of this new approach to things.

Most millennials understand and appreciate the significance of education and training in improving an individual’s wellbeing, and as such, they intend to start families once they are financially stable (Meyer, 2015). Despite stiff opposition from parents, millennials argue that the only way to guarantee their children with quality education and access to amenities is to ensure that they are financially and emotionally stable. Research has shown that the millennials in the United States spend part of their early years in single-parent households and would strongly prefer to avoid such recurrence (Cashin, 2004). To them, parenting by two-career couples assists in improving the family’s possibility of success due to its financial security. Although this seems quite difficult with the increased unemployment rates in the United States, millennials believe that it is possible to start joint businesses that will help to provide income to them and their future children (Cashin, 2004). This also illustrates that this generation has redefined the definition of success at the workplace from having the biggest paycheck or being continually rewarded by the boss.

Most millennials referred to success at work as doing something they enjoy or as engaging in activities that assist in improving the lives and wellbeing of individuals in the society. Diamandis & Kotler (2014) also mentioned Close to 70 percent of the respondents also mentioned that they desired a workplace that felt like a family, an environment where individuals readily shared their problems and supported one another (Collins & Halverson, 2018). In addition, employers have noted that this generation readily leaves work if they are not receiving what they want, or if the position does not contribute towards their career goals. In this regard, it is evident that millennials are more concerned with personal satisfaction than with financial achievements.

Moreover, this group asserts that there is still a lot of room for improvement in the different institutions and companies they have inherited. Their increased desire for innovation coupled with the need for efficiency enables them to identify possible loopholes in the systems that have undermined high productivity (Collins & Halverson, 2018). For instance, they oppose organizational management structures with numerous managers because they limit growth and innovation (Collins & Halverson, 2018). Although these managers may seem to provide direction and interpretation of the company’s goals, they inhibit the development and implementation of new ideas and strategies that will catapult the organization to greater heights because they are less likely to adopt new management practices. To them, the implementation of technological systems constitutes a threat to their existence since most of the operations will be conducted simultaneously with the touch of a button (Collins & Halverson, 2018). At the same time, they disregard private sectors that do not pay attention to social problems, which can contribute towards inequality. Millennials argue that private organizations should assist in the provision of social amenities such as medical care and food to the poor as a way of promoting corporate social responsibility. With such practices, they will transform the lives of thousands in the society.

In conclusion, it is evident that millennials have redefined the American dream by coming up with new ideas and practices that maximize efficiency and improve the wellbeing of the public. Their creativity and innovativeness have contributed to the success in entrepreneurship and consequently creation of jobs and promotion of innovation in various sectors. Moreover, technology is the pillar of their success, as it enables the millenials to research and develop systems that reduce the overall amount of time taken to offer a service or to manufacture a product. This use of technology has also assisted businesses in creating better marketing strategies, which in turn have increased the public’s awareness of their products and services.  

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