LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20: An atmosphere shot of the cocktail hour during an advance screening of Entourage at the Playboy Mansion on May 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy)

Most of us heard about the American Dream growing up. The white house with the picket fence, a dog, 2.4 kids, Dad working and Mom staying home to raise the little rug rats.

What could be more ideal than that?

The American Nightmare?

Not everyone lived the American Dream. Some lived the American Nightmare. The civil rights conflicts of the 60’s, and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

The discrimination against the Irish and Italians at the turn of the 20th Century. Jewish persecution by the KKK and others.

Not everyone got the dream white house and the knight in shinning armor.

Today’s American Dream

Every generation believes that the next generation won’t do as well as they did. But somehow they always seem to not only do as well — but also better.

Every generation wants their kids to have it better than they did.

But today's generation believes the only way they will be successful is winning a lottery or getting a big inheritance. Few believe that you can make your own lottery by setting goals and working toward them.

So Why Is The American Dream So Elusive?

I don’t think it is. If I took everything you have and dropped you in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the clothes on your back you could probably work your way back to the level you are today within five years.

What does that say? It’s says that based on what you know now, you have the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to find success at the same level you are now.

Why? Because you know how you got there in the first place. You know where the potholes and speed bumps are.

So what makes others do better than just reaching the same level?

Some people have “goals and dreams” and others have “hopes and dreams.” There’s a big difference between the two.

Hoping your situation improves, and setting goals that cause your situation to improve, is what separates the successful from the not so successful.

The American Dream Is Clearly Visible

But in order to reach it you have to build the path to it. And along the way you have to cut some trees and cross some rivers without bridges.

Some have a tougher path to success than others and might take longer to reach their goals but staying the course eventually gets you there.

Many give up the goal before they even start the journey.

Some Final Thoughts

Everyday we hear heartwarming stories of those who overcame a wide variety of challenges. Some mental and some physical.

Those people are an inspiration to others as they should be. We all need inspiration from time to time.

Sometimes we get it from others and sometimes it comes from within. All things being equal those who have something or someone to measure himself or herself against usually go farther faster.

Are you chasing the American Dream? How’s that workin’ for ya??