Are You Chasing the American Dream? Maybe It’s Time You Stop!

by Jason on January 31, 2011


The American Dream represents everything we could ever want or ask for in this life, right?

Not so fast!  It’s not that the American Dream is bad – in fact, who wouldn’t want material success and prosperity. We all do, to a degree.

But there’s a big irony about the American Dream – most folks mortgage their futures to chase it.

Millionaire Next Door authors Thomas J. Stanley and William Danko, point out in their research that most of the folks whom society would deem as wealthy were simply over-leveraged.

They lived high on the hog, but they weren’t rich. They mortgaged their futures to run around in fancy cars, live in expensive homes and travel the world with grand vacations. Most of the time their net worth was very low.

Sometimes in our pursuit of the American Dream we end up mortgaging our futures and become so saddled with debt that we merely create a facade of success and prosperity.

A Different Way

There is a different way of thinking, however. One that blossoms contentment, improves happiness, and betters the lives of others.

I’m calling it – the New Retirement.

The New Retirement is guided by 10 principles ranging from becoming more entrepreneurial to serving the common good.

The point of the New Retirement is that there is a different way to live. A counter-cultural way of thinking that doesn’t spurn success and prosperity, just thinks about it differently.

Why the New Retirement Improves Happiness and Society

Have you ever gone through your closet to get rid of clothes you don’t wear any more? It’s one of those things you put off for a while, but after you do it, you feel a great sense of accomplishment! You actually feel better because you’ve decluttered.

That’s what the New Retirement does – it declutters.

The New Retirement de-leverages you from your debt, from your pursuit of material wealth and helps you to get organized with what’s most important.

People living for the New Retirement are happier because they start pursuing their passions! They start devoting time and energy to the things they value most like relationships, charities and helping others.

They also start living for True Wealth, which includes the 3 P’s – People, Passion and Purpose.

Instead of living for a bigger bank account, a higher net worth and fancy cars they live life with a defined purpose of building relational equity with their friends and loved ones.

The New Retirement also improves society because there is a focus of serving the common good of one’s community. They become more of a neighbor and a friend to those who need it. They look for ways to become more charitable and lend a helping hand.

They see the potential of a community where each person takes ownership for its welfare and they long to see a better way.

They want society to improve and they spend their time making as big of a difference as they can.

How to Pursue a New Retirement

All this talk about new kind of retirement is exciting, but how do you actually make it happen? Here’s a few paradigm shifts to consider:

  • Life isn’t about you and your prosperity
  • Life is about relationships and seeking the welfare of others
  • Understanding your purpose will help you become a major asset to your community, family and your job

Learn the Lesson of Sam Walton at an Early Age!

Yes, that same Sam Walton that founded Wal-Mart learned a huge lesson at the end of his life. By that time it was a little late.

He realized that he spent too much time building a successful business and not enough time investing into his family. You don’t want to be on your death bed thinking about how you wished you would’ve spent more time with those you love.

Let’s reconsider our pursuit of the American Dream and find something far more valuable to start living for.

This was a post I originally wrote for ChristianPF.com.  You can check out the original here.

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