The American Dream is Dead... and It's the Best Thing That Could Happen to You

3 Jun 2024

The American Dream is Dead... and it's the best thing that could happen to you.

That's right. The old model of "go to college, get a job, retire at 65" is officially dead. But don't panic – this is actually the best news you've heard all year.

I recently had a conversation with Dean Graziosi that completely shattered my assumptions about success.

What he revealed is a game-changer, and it's going to change the way you think about your future.

We spoke about:

  • The death of the stable job: Why the old model is holding you back.
  • The rise of the entrepreneurial mindset: How to take control of your destiny.
  • The skills you need to succeed: The new playbook for building wealth and freedom.

This is your wake-up call to a new American Dream.

The American Dream is Dead (But That's Good News for YOU)

I had a mind-bending conversation with Dean Graziosi recently.

We went deep on the state of entrepreneurship, and he dropped a truth bomb that's been rattling around my skull ever since:

The American Dream, as we've known it, is dead.

Now, before you grab your pitchforks, let me clarify.

We're not talking about the spirit of the American Dream – the relentless pursuit of opportunity, the belief that hard work can change your destiny.

That's very much alive.

What's dying is the old model.

The one that said:

  • Get good grades.
  • Go to college.
  • Get a stable job.
  • Work 40+ years.
  • Retire comfortably.

This model was built for a different era – a time of industrialization, mass production, and predictable career paths.

This version of the American Dream is dead in the 21st century, where automation is disrupting industries, the gig economy is booming, and lifelong learning is a necessity.

The Mirage of Stability

For decades, the "stable job" was the holy grail.

But let's be honest – how stable is a job that can be outsourced, automated, or eliminated by a recession?

The illusion of security has lulled us into a false sense of safety and complacency, preventing them from developing the skills and mindset needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

We spoke about how this old model is actually stifling the entrepreneurial spirit.

It conditions people to be risk-averse, to prioritize conformity over creativity, and to settle for mediocrity.

It's like a gilded cage – comfortable, but limiting.

Don’t believe me? Look at the numbers we uncovered paint a stark picture:

  • 44% of Americans believe the American Dream is dead. (Source: YouGov)
  • 71% of Millennials believe it's harder to get ahead than it was for their parents. (Source: Pew Research Center)
  • The average student loan debt is now over $37,000. (Source: Federal Student Aid)
  • Over 50% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. (Source: LendingClub)

This isn't just anecdotal evidence; data confirms it: the traditional path is broken.

The "get good grades, go to college, climb the corporate ladder" model is no longer a reliable route to financial security or personal fulfillment.

But here's the twist: this is a good thing.

It's a wake-up call and an invitation to redefine success on our own terms.

The Rise of the Entrepreneurial Mindset

In the ashes of the old American Dream, a new paradigm is emerging – one driven by entrepreneurship, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of personal freedom.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, new business creation hit a record high in 2020, with over 5.4 million applications filed.

And it's not just about side hustles – 49% of these businesses are expected to be employer businesses, creating jobs and contributing to the economy.

This surge in entrepreneurship is fueled by a generation that's rejecting the outdated notion of a "stable job" in favor of building a life of purpose, autonomy, and financial independence.

Think about it:

  • The gig economy allows you to build a portfolio of skills and income streams, rather than relying on a single employer.
  • The creator economy empowers you to monetize your passions and talents, bypassing traditional gatekeepers.
  • The digital nomad lifestyle gives you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, designing a life on your terms.

These are just a few examples of how the new economy is democratizing opportunity and unlocking human potential.

The American Dream 2.0

Now, I’m not going to drop this idea on you and not give you a playbook on how to compete in this new world.

Here’s what you need to learn (and what we’ll I’ll discuss today).

  1. Combinatorial thinking
  2. New economy skills
  3. Micro skills
  4. Skill stacking

These are the key to the American Dream 2.0.

The Power of Combinatorial Thinking

One of the most exciting aspects of this new era is the rise of combinatorial thinking – the ability to combine seemingly unrelated ideas, skills, and experiences to create something new and valuable.

The old model discouraged this kind of thinking.

It was all about specialization – becoming an expert in one narrow field.

But in the new economy, the most successful entrepreneurs are often those who can connect the dots and see patterns that others miss.

  • They're the ones who can combine their knowledge of marketing with their passion for fitness to create a thriving online coaching business.
  • Or they're the ones who can leverage their coding skills and their understanding of AI technology to build the next generative application.

The possibilities are endless.

The Skillset of the Future

So let’s forget the outdated notion of specializing in one narrow field.

In the new economy, it's all about having a diverse skillset that allows you to adapt to changing circumstances and seize unexpected opportunities.

These are the skills that matter.

  • Digital Literacy: You don't need to be a coding genius, but you should be comfortable with technology and have a basic understanding of how it works.
  • Creativity: The ability to generate new ideas and solve problems in novel ways is more important than ever.
  • Communication: Whether you're pitching investors, negotiating deals, or managing a remote team, strong communication skills are essential.
  • Adaptability: The only constant in the new economy is change.

These are just a few examples, but the takeaway is that the most successful people in the new economy are those who are constantly learning and evolving.

They think differently, and learn different things.

The Rise of "Micro-Skills"

Now, broad skills like digital literacy and communication are important, but to compete in the new economy you need to understand the concept of "micro-skills."

These are laser-focused abilities that can be applied to specific tasks or projects.

Think of them as the building blocks of the larger skill sets I just listed.

For example, within the field of digital marketing, micro-skills might include:

  • Facebook Ad optimization
  • SEO keyword research
  • Email marketing automation
  • Conversion rate optimization

By mastering a few micro-skills, you can become a valuable asset to businesses and entrepreneurs who need help with specific aspects of their operations.

Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Guru make it easy to connect with clients who need your expertise.

The Power of "Skill Stacking"

After you understand the skillsets required to survive and thrive in American Dream 2.0, you can start skill stacking… AKA the art of combining complementary micro-skills to create unique value propositions.

This is where your creativity and combinatorial thinking really come into play.

For example, imagine combining your knowledge of SEO with your passion for fitness.

You could create a niche business that helps fitness professionals optimize their websites for search engines, attracting more clients and growing their businesses.

The key is to identify micro-skills that are in demand and that you enjoy.

By stacking them in unique ways, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and create a lucrative career path.

It's no longer about working for a single employer for 40 years.

Instead, people are building portfolios of projects, gigs, and ventures.

Aquire your skills. Stack them.

This is the new playbook.

Embracing the "Infinite Game"

Finally, I want to leave you with a concept that's been on my mind lately that complements everything we spoke about today: the "infinite game."

This idea comes from the book "Finite and Infinite Games" by James P. Carse.

In a finite game, like football or chess, there are clear rules, a defined endpoint, and winners and losers.

But in an infinite game, like life or business, the goal is to keep playing.

There are no winners or losers, only players who continue to learn, grow, and evolve.

The new economy (American Dream 2.0) is an infinite game.

It's about embracing change, experimenting with new ideas, and constantly challenging yourself to become better.

There is no finish line.


The death of the old American Dream is not a bad thing.

It's a call to action – an invitation to create a new dream that is more aligned with our values, passions, and potential.

By embracing the new economy, developing a skill-stacking mindset, and play the infinite game you’re going to win.


If you want to listen to the full podcast, listen on or on YouTube.