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Millennials are wrong about the American dream

A new study from Harvard University shows that close to half of those ages 18 through 29 believe the "America Dream" is dead. While education played a role in the opinions of those polled, race or ethnicity didn't matter much.

Let's set the record straight: the American dream is more alive than it's ever been, and it's not going to die anytime soon. In fact, it's so strong that I believe more self-made millionaires will emerge in the next 10 years than ever before.


Statue of Liberty and New York City skyline.
Alison Langley | Getty Images
Statue of Liberty and New York City skyline.

Never has there been more opportunities in this country than there are right now to claim your piece of the pie and make something big for yourself. America is a free market capitalistic society. It's what built this country and it's what will continue to move it forward. We're living in the age of the entrepreneur, and that means anyone can go out there, bring massive value to the marketplace and achieve the American dream.

The Harvard study says millennials' skeptical attitude is in part due to the fact that the younger generation doesn't trust the government and doesn't feel the government is working enough for them. When has government ever been the source of our success? It's ridiculous and delusional. It's easy to want to play the blame game, but where does self-responsibility come into the picture? Stop living in a perpetual waiting game for outside forces to save you.

The good news is anybody can start a business these days, and the startup costs are minimal. Thanks to technology, all you need is a computer and an internet connection and you have a global customer base at your fingertips.

Take a look at your talents and natural abilities and ask: how can I help others? Money is created through ideas that solve problems, and since ideas are infinite, the amount of money you can earn is infinite. Beyond that, there are huge opportunities for selling and brokering used goods like clothes, toys, computers and sporting goods. The wealthy are the largest buyers of personal services. It's a perfect time to start a lawn care service, maid service, handyman business, pool cleaning company, grocery shopping service, etc. The opportunities are endless.

Start by developing the mental toughness and the guts to be optimistic right now. Raise your expectations and start expecting more from your life. If you don't think you can make it you never will. Start thinking about money as freedom to live life on your own terms. Stop listening to other people who try to bring you down and mock your ideas. One day, they'll be asking you for a job.

Since the Harvard study found that most non-college educated people answered that the American dream was dead, let me fill you in on a little secret: formal education should be respected, but it has nothing to do with the ability to be successful and achieve the American dream. Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

The bottom line: the American dream is alive and well. What do you believe? Do you think the American dream is alive or dead? If you want it, it's there for the taking.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "He that waits upon fortune, is never sure for dinner."

Steve Siebold is author of How Rich People Think, and a self-made multi-millionaire who has interviewed more than 1,200 of the world's wealthiest people over the past 30 years. Follow him on Twitter @Siebold.