Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dig into Alphabetic Root in Pursuit of the Spirit of America

Individualism & Independence: means as a society, we value independence and self-reliance, with the right to pursue happiness, appreciate uniqueness and experimentation.

Tomorrow, the United States of America celebrates its 236th birthday. The 4th of July may not just mean another Summer holiday, the barbeque or firework, no matter you are citizen by birth, citizen by choice or citizen in-waiting, it’s a perfect moment for us to revisit the spirit of America via our own lens of value, our own experience of the journey:

When you watch the firework at the night of Independent Day, what do you see? What can you perceive the blossom of firework with these alphabetic letters: A-M-E-R-I-C-A,  shining on the sky?

1. A –Agility, Assimilation, Appreciation

There’re many great “A” words to reflect the contemporary spirit of America, at today’s rapidly changing economic dynamic, either as a fellow citizen or nation as a whole, being learning agile is a strategic imperative.

  • Assimilation for citizens by choice:  for many immigrants, 4th of July is also the ceremonial day to swell as a naturalized citizen, it means you need work hard to assimilate into the mainstream culture; on the other side, at today’s hyper-connected world, it also means you need bring up some fresh, unique value ingredients and blend them into this well-mixed cultural pot, such as innovation or leadership. 

  • Appreciation for citizens by birth: you may need to appreciate your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents to bring you here, to provide you more choices than living in many other places in the world; on the other hand, your birth-right citizenship should not make you become complacent and take everything for granted, should not stop you from being learning agile.   

Achieving More: In essence, the spirit of America is to unite all fellow citizens to achieve more.

2. M--Maturity, Mission, Meaning

Being mature doesn’t mean aged; as individuals, maturity means we are experiencing peak stage of the life cycle, as fellow citizens, being mature means we are not only perceiving what a great or greatest nation looks like, but also pondering our own roles as citizens; being mature means our leaders become deeper than louder; being mature means businesses not only serve their own shareholders, but also make more contribution to the national economy; Being mature means we see the world not just black & white, or bit & byte,  but embracing the full spectrum of color and enjoy learning from the best of the world; Being mature also means our kids not only study hard also smart, to have a competitive accent in the next generation.

As a mature citizen, we may continue to re-visit our purpose of life, the meaning of citizenship, as a mature nation, it’s the great time to rekindle the mission and vision of founding father 236 years ago: “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness”.    

3. E—Enthusiasm, Egalitarianism, Engagement 

Compare to America Revolution 256th years ago, we’ve been living at much more peaceful time today, however, the mature nation should not lose its enthusiasm, and it shouldn’t stop America from making continuous progress, furthermore, it need inspire fellow citizens’ engagement to refine and enforce the core values of United State:

Egalitarianism & Liberty: still one of the key drivers for worldwide talent coming to fulfill the American dreams:  the belief in equality of opportunity -- that everyone in America should have a chance to succeed on his or her merits. Liberty not only means the freedom and determinism to do what we need to do but also involves how we imagine the role and responsibilities of a citizen in society. America is exceptional not because it’s perfect, but because it is different, an outlier embracing a unique set of values.

4. R—Resilience, Reflection, Reliability

Either as individual or nation, resilience is an ineffable quality that allows some to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. From natural disasters to human calamity, for many middle-class families, infrastructural industries, and the nation as a whole, the last decade is a lost decade in the US, however, we may just need to keep our morale on, keep our fingers crossed, be resilient to move forward, be reflective to learn the historical lessons and be reliable to create the new future.

5. I—Independence, Improvement, Insight

Individualism & Independence: means as a society, we value independence and self-reliance, with the right to pursue happiness, appreciate uniqueness and experimentation, but also respect the difference between us, treat others like what we’d like to be treated,

  • Improvement: from one generation to the next generation, the spirit of America also includes how to make continuous progress as a society, to advance culture, education, technology, and humanity.

  • Insight: At today’s over-complex world with exponential information flowing, be insightful means always capture the wisdom from knowledge, recognize character than style, diagnose the root cause, not symptoms, win the heart & mind of fellow citizens.  

6. C--Change, Choice, Creativity

Statistically, America is seventh in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, No. 4 in the labor force, No. 4 in exports, and a dismal 72nd in paying taxes. It means as a nation, 3 "Cs" are needed:

  • Change: with both breadth and depth is imperative, from leadership to education, from economy to politics, change is a journey from good to great and built to last. 

  • Choice: need be provided for fellow citizens to live better, or the national populism is needed to represent ordinary people's needs and wishes

  • Creativity: is in the blood of the nation, America is still creative, still willing to take risks, that is the key character of America.

7. A—Adventure, Aspiration, Advancement

As one of the authors well put:  if you love somebody, send her to America; if you hate someone, send her to America, as it is both heaven and hell. That said:

  • Adventure: What the global talent really admires is Americans' entrepreneurial attitude,  there's a greater appetite for risk and a greater acceptance of failure in the U.S. There's a cultural, go-at-it, you-can-do-it nature.

  • Aspiration: America should continue to be an aspiring country to unite the best, to amplify human capability, and to advance humanity,  

  • Aha Moment: Should the 4th of July, America’s birthday, become such an aha moment to unite our vision and bridge our difference?

Dear fellow citizen by choice, are you creative or courageous enough to declare “ I am more American than American”, as you bring in the fresh seeds and fertilize this free land; dear citizen by birth, are you positively and progressively say: I am American growing with a global mindset, ready to learn from best of mankind”; To all Americans: young or senior, democratic or republican, should we truly get united to achieve more, for our own,  for the next generation, for this great nation, and for humanity as a whole.


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