Our nation was founded by risk takers who dared to take on a challenge without any guarantee of success. They failed, time and again, but somehow found the courage to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get right back into the fight. This is the essential American story and, as a recent commencement speaker, one I shared with 350 graduating MBA students.

While studying at Yale University, Fred Smith presented a business idea to his business management class that received a nearly failing grade. The idea was for a parcel service that could deliver packages overnight. Smith ignored the grade and founded FedEx.

Billionaire Mark Cuban failed as a carpenter, as a cook, as a waiter (he couldn't open a bottle of wine). He says of his failures, “I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed. You only have to be right once.”

Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in history (holding over 1,000 U.S. patents), was told as a boy by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything and suggested he go into a field that did not require intelligence. He tried more than 9,000 experiments before he created the first successful light bulb.

Walt Disney was fired by an editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no original ideas.” His first animation company went bankrupt and it's said that he was turned down hundreds of times when he sought financing for Disney World.

Too few Americans today are willing to take risks. We must ask ourselves: do we stay with the status quo, or do we believe that America can and must do better? Do we believe the American Dream is something that used-to-be, or do we believe that anyone can aspire to the American Dream if they are willing to put in the hard work and effort?

Every generation is defined by its actions. I’d like to encourage the generation graduating today be the one that refuses to be limited by the barriers that have been put before them.

The American Dream is not dead — it’s just looking for bold Americans to wake up and believe in its promise once again.

This generation needs to be the one that ignites the American Dream for millions of our citizens that today feel left behind. One thing is certain, as we all pursue our dreams, we help others achieve theirs.

John Quincy Adams once wrote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

It sounds counter intuitive, however, we are not defined by our success, we are crafted by our failures and our ability to recover from them. Do not be afraid. The road to a success is full of twist and turns. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

The examples I presented were of successful people that had one thing in common: they were passionate about their pursuits. They had plenty of setbacks but their passion was so great it was able to overcome anything the world could throw at them.

Passion is the only thing an entrepreneur has in abundance. Our dreams always cost us more and take more time to achieve.

And let’s never forget about the 25 million Americans that are unemployed and under- employed. Many of them have simply given up and stopped looking for work. Our greatest national security threat is the lack of jobs. Not just any job, but good paying jobs.

These are the jobs that create the revenue, generate the tax base, and pay for our schools, universities, highways and hospitals. These are the jobs that give our people hope and keep our country strong and prosperous.

We cannot look toward Washington to solve our problems. We are totally devoid of leadership and locked into partisan paralysis. This is unlikely to change any time soon.

Therefore we must turn to our next generation of entrepreneurs, small-business owners, risk takers and inventors. They are our job creators and the only ones that can get us out of this mess.

America must believe in itself again and recognize our untapped potential.

The vast majority of the world’s wealth has still not been created. It is up to our next generation to create this wealth and deploy it to improve the lives of all of us.

It takes resolve and an open mind to ignite our passion to succeed. The American Dream is not dead — it’s just looking for bold Americans to wake up and believe in its promise once again.


Neal Asbury
About The Author Neal Asbury [Full Bio]
Neal Asbury, chief executive of The Legacy Companies, has published over 200 articles on global trade issues, writes for Newsmax, and is the author of Conscientious Equity. He frequently appears on cable news programs and hosts the nationally syndicated talk radio show Made In America.

Neal Asbury's Made In America

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