Living life in America, is one of the greatest blessings there is. Someone once said, “Being born in America is like winning the lottery.” Sorry that I cannot properly attribute this quote, but these words ring true.
There are few places in this world where you have the freedom to fail or succeed in quite the way that you can here. It is said that the streets are paved with gold and for many they are. While today’s headlines reflect the hard economic times this country currently faces, these will pass. Will we return to the type of unbridled economic expansion that we have seen over the past century? Who knows?
What you should be aware of, and what every legal and illegal immigrant already knows, is that this is the land of opportunity. It’s not a guarantee. Nothing in this life is. But if you work hard, if you work smart, if you are willing to take some risks along the way, America can provide you with the opportunity to realize your dreams.
What’s the catch? You have to be present. You have to show up for life. You have to decide what is important and pursue that. Some define success monetarily, some define success spiritually, some define success in terms of freedom, some define success in terms of acquisition, some define success in terms of accomplishment, others in giving.<Unfortunately some people do not even bother to define success but instead bemoan what they do not have. They don't accept responsibility for their life or their decisions, they just say that life is unfair. You know what, life is unfair. My wife likes to say "bloom where you are planted." This is excellent advice. It means that you must work to achieve your best, even if you don’t get or have much to begin with. You can't control others, you can't control the weather, you can't control anything but your own actions and reactions. Remember this the next time you think you want to say that life is unfair. When you arrived in America whether by birth or migration, no one promised you fairness, no one promised you a job, or a nice house, or a fat retirement plan. This life comes with no gaurantee. The promise of America is that you have opportunity, freedom created by the rule of law, the capacity to practice your religion of choice or no religion at all. As well as the freedom to speak your mind, and reap the benefits and consequences of your thoughts, words and actions. We are ,however, also becoming a nation of narcissistic complainers. We will gripe about anything and everything. We choose to define ourselves in ways that segment and separate us from others and we fragment our energy through mindless diversions and the promise of achieving and attaining more through multi-tasking. Maybe we have just lost our path. Where does this path we are on lead us? I don't know the answer, but I am certain that over-consumption (which we are free to do) runs on a tangent to the path, but is not the path.
The freedoms bestowed upon us come with a cost, one that we have typically forgotten about – responsibility. I consider it my responsibility to define my success, and make my fortune, whatever I may decide that to be. I do not consider circumstance to be good luck or bad luck, it just happens to be. I make a conscience effort to not complain about my circumstances. It does me no good. It wastes energy and only serves to annoy those around me. I was not always this way. In fact I spent a significant part of my life blind and ignorant to the good fortune I was born to and found plenty to complain about. You see, I did win the lottery, life's lottery. I was born in America. I work hard, good things happen to me, not so good things happen to me. I try to stay present enough to make good choices, take responsibility for my actions and be kind to those I encounter. Because of this, I am a success by the yardstick I use to measure myself and this is why I choose not to complain.
What could you do if you could?