In time, the definition and implication of the American Dream has morphed to become vastly different than what it represented in the past. Over a century ago, the American Dream was defined by the opportunity to prosper and achieve wealth through hard work. Truly, it seems as if a growing number of individuals today are inclined to ignore the hard work that is required for success.

At East Tennessee State University, I encounter a wide amount of people who claim that they fully support and desire the American Dream without understanding what it fully entails. A wide scope of those close to me have their hindsight set on retirement, marriage, kids and reaching a high socioeconomic class. To many, this is the ultimate goal, and one that seems ridiculous to not want.

I would argue that the American Dream has led more people to accept laziness with the more modern misunderstanding that a prosperous life is achievable with a minimum of effort as time passes. When an individual lives their life with this state of mind, they are prone to burn out and become disappointed due to the impossibility for the fantasy of a perfect later existence to be fully attainable at times.

The American Dream is not supposed to be a mindset of achievement without action; rather, it is inclined to support those who are ambitious in soliciting more of an effort to receive potential compensation for their hard work. Because of this change in the definition of the American Dream, I would challenge you to not view these current years as the unfortunate time containing hard work so that you may have later ease in life. On the contrary, view this present time with the mindset that working hard in the beginning is not necessarily deserving of an early retirement or future comfort, but is a time to develop a healthy mindset in conquering current obstacles.

The change that the modern American Dream has experienced results in people ignoring the present and maintaining wishful thinking for eminent, future prosperity. Indeed, prosperity is here now if you learn to become conscious of the goodness here right now. By making your present more meaningful and purposeful, I find that one’s future tends to shine brighter, and the mental health of an individual is more predisposed to result in a happiness than the improper promise for eventual rest and ease through the new, corrupted American Dream.