How “The American Dream” is really incredible marketing.

Create compliant workers and consumers. That was the goal of the industrial age. It worked incredibly well.

So well, in fact, that it built us into the superpower that the world knows and fears. And through all the building, came the development of “The American Dream.”

Own a house. A big one. Own a car. Or two. Or five. And they better be brand new. Use whatever means it takes to get there as quick as you can so you can impress your neighbor and catch your parents when you’re half their age.

That’s the story we’ve been buying into for years. The one that says “You’re nothing if you don’t look like this. Act like this. Have this.” That’s the story of the industrial age that worked so well. One that we bought into through plenty of schooling, advertising and media exposure. One that brands use to this day to help us buy more and want more.

The problem is, we don’t need more. Many of us don’t even want more. We’re done with more and we don’t even know it. We’re strung out on consumerism and we can’t even tell. That’s the marketing brilliance of the last 100 years.

Marketing tells a story. It always has. It starts by identifying with us and then we take the reigns and run with it. We build out the rest of it. Apple has done it to us. Microsoft, Chick-fil-a, McDonald’s, Walmart, Sears, Coors, Craftsman, Pepsi. They all have a story they started and we grabbed ahold with both hands. Not all of us for each one of then, but at least one or some.

Most of us though, the vast majority of us, grabbed “The American Dream” one. The one that tells us to want more. Bigger. Faster. Stronger.

It’s time we decide to think for ourselves. Maybe the system doesn’t know what’s best. Maybe it’s flawed. Maybe it’s got too much control.

And of course, by maybe, I mean absolutely.

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