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James Connor

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Is the "ease of life" worth fighting for in the United States or is better to be in a country that strives for its citizens to work to live.

I have been contemplating about the stress and mental exhaustion that many United States citizens experience while trying to succeed for the "American Dream". When I was a kid, my father let me know how important it is to succeed by going to college, having a career, and working hard. Well, to achieve this concept I seen my involvement with colleges end up in financial debt, career changes to meet the employment demand and the stress that comes with all what I have mentioned above to be almost unrewarding. I feel that the American Dream is a money pit that is endless. Is this the ease of life that is mentally sane for people or are we blind to the fact that we are slaves to a misguided ideology of social status and possessions.

I see people that are happy with being able to pay their bills with no ambition of climbing the corporate ladder. These people want to stay as far away from the lifestyle that I mentioned above and I see them happier and pursuing what they love. Inspiring to the ease of life or pursuit of happiness. So my question again, Is the ease of life worth fighting for in the United States?

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    Nov 11 2013: Most people I know think in terms of preparing for a gratifying and meaningful life and then leading a life that includes making a difference and pursuing interests. There are some creative people, though, with a creed of wanting to "die empty," which is to say to live a life of adventure, trying to make things happen, and creative experiment. They love their choice to "work" extremely hard.

    When your father urged you to work hard, what dream do you think he actually had for you? I would have guessed he wanted you to be ready to take care of your own needs and that of a family, maybe, rather than that he wanted you to work 24/7 to achieve luxury. How did you interpret his advice? Is he still alive to ask for clarification?
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      Nov 11 2013: I acknowledge the people that work towards their ambitions. I think when it all comes together we all want to pursue a goal that has substance and integrity for ourselves. What my dilemma is, we live in a country full of opportunity to succeed in so many different ways. In these "ways" we find ourselves maturing towards that goal or being interrupted or discouraged with our lives, which in many cases are afflictions that will come from our society. Such as, if a student that is not well of in our country going to college has financial hard ship with paying tuition, books, board, etc but maintains a gpa that is above the average, why are the assistance for this student not fulfilling enough to provide for this educational path...and if there is a scholarship why is it that we have such a threshold on finances but yet some of our taxes goes towards programs that are futile and do not prosper for society to grow. I just think about things like that and if the emphasis on creating or discovering your career or benefits towards society is misguided here in the United States versus other countries. If so what are those other countries? Can we learn from their models or culture?
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        Nov 11 2013: Are you basically saying that not enough financial aid is available for all students with above average gpas to pursue their greatest interests and that public funds should be reallocated to make that the priority?
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          Nov 12 2013: No, just using that as an example to speculate or examine if we are really putting are "best foot forward" when it comes to giving opportunity to students to succeed without the overbearing of stress that could be brought to a minimum if we had an emphasis on keeping students in schools, universities and so on for the pursuit of higher education to prosper in our society. As I said before the "ease of life" not to be confused with an easy life, is what I was wondering if we can honestly say we practice hear in the United States. Its obtainable but it is almost frowned upon when you take the side of making life practical for the people rather than a social quest to obtain status and recognition.
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        Nov 12 2013: I believe I understand your question but am questioning one common premise in it that I think bears more critical examination. There would in almost any setting, I believe, be almost universal agreement that a life governed by the pursuit of social status via luxurious possessions is often both stressful and quite unfullfiling. Martin Seligman in his TED talk is one who presents research identifying the most important predictors of a happy and fulfilling life.

        What bears closer examination, I think, is the common assumption that a large majority of people, particularly in America, are governed by this relentless pursuit.

        I would ask you only to consider whether that is really the message you have been hearing in school, family, or your community, or whether what you are hearing is that you should prepare yourself to be able to have an interesting life in which you can basically be self-sufficient.

        I have never taken any sort of business course, but I have worked in lots of places and gone to school and taught school, and I have simply never seen anyone urge anyone to build a path aimed at social status and accumulation of possessions.

        I expect some people have given or gotten that message from mentors and peers, but I have seen no evidence that it is at all prevalent in our time. Again, I would be interested in seeing evidence as to the frequency of this message.from those advising students, as your query specifically asks about what we may be telling or doing for students and young people in this area.

        I am pretty sure undergraduate financial aid is in no way tied to what you study.

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