Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The ‘Independent Thinking’ of 4th of July: Who are the Americans?

Symbolically, America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine providence on behalf of the human race. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The word "American" which originally meant the English immigrants to the American colonies of the United Kingdom in 1607, today it means an immigrant born on any continent or of immigrant heritage born on any continent or born on the American continents. Simply put, being an American means to live in the geographical boundaries of America. Everything else is left to be defined by each individual.

Symbolically, being American means to carry on the heritage defined in the Declaration of Independence. In essence, what’s the heart or spirit of being an American? What are the positive characteristics of a great American?

1. American is ‘Colorful”

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
– John Lennon

America is a melting pot of people who came from all over the world - a relatively young nation with huge resources and space to expand into. American is colorful. The color of American is not just skin deep, it’s about the color of the character, the color of vision, the color of viewpoints, and the color of taste.

FREEDOM is a platitude description and it depends on which side you look at it. It means the opportunity and citizen right. Having freedom doesn’t mean one should lose the value of discipline.

Culture plays its part but it does not confine us to a single label. American is colorful because every person is unique and every culture has positive traits, the collective spirit of American is just like the rainbow, to embrace the full spectrum of the color theme;

2. American is Open

Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.  ~Louis D. Brandeis

The US is a land of immigrants who gave their heart, soul, and hard work to build something new according to their ideals! One becomes an American with heartfelt love; not just by being born there or having opportunities. American is open not just to enjoy the compliment, but also welcome the constructive criticism.

Being an American means having the ability and courage to live your life and share your values in a transparent manner to the world, being who you are according to what people see, say, and know about you. 

There are respect and honor of the land and its people that go along with being an American. No American that is born deserves any credit for being born an American. And Americans stand for many different things, many in opposition to another. American is open and direct, it doesn't mean Americans couldn't be more diplomatic, thoughtful, objective, and even paradoxical. The spirit of American is freedom, openness, creativity, boldness, and justice.

3. American is Competitive 

From garage-born entrepreneurs to adventurous athletes, Americans are competitive, wild, and even crazy; Being competitive means Americans like to win, enjoy the challenge; love the new things, and make the impossible possible; From “sending a man to the moon” to “I have a dream” inspiration, Americans continue to pioneer and make history

However, being competitive doesn’t always mean to win, being competitive means to continue to carry on the value & principles defined in Declaration of Independence; being competitive means to be open to the continuous improvement; or to sacrifice the short-term win in order to gain long term advantage; it means to be resilient when getting set back, and being confident even not perfect. Being competitive means to keep sharp, not complacent; Being competitive means to be proud but not arrogant; Being thinking big but not grow heavily; being competitive means one can still float like butterfly or stinging like a bee; It’s the change capability, not a status quo.

4. American is Stylish 

From nature wonder as inspiring as Grand Canyon to an artificial miracle as colorful as Golden Gate Bridge; from diversified consumer brands to glamorous Oscar ceremony; America is full of style; the style is from natural beauty, also from aesthetic creativity. 

However, the style shall not replace substance; the heart and soul of America is in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; the substance of America is its great attitude to learning and valley-deep inclusiveness. American Style is neither 'whiteboard' nor 'black & white' painting, American style is rainbow shining on the sky. 

American style is unique and diversified. Still, America may not be the only "land of free and brave"; or the only “gallery of style & aesthetics”, American needs to appreciate the other world wonders and cultural beauty. Americans shouldn’t think that “the world wants to be like us”; instead, every nation & culture needs to keep its quintessential, but continue to upgrade its primitive tradition, in order to develop the constructive humanity friendship and to harmonize the world with full vision.  

5. American is Positive 

I believe in America because we have great dreams – and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true. ~ Wendell L. Wilkie

Being American is, of course, having the official status ( papers),  but is also a matter of the heart, the spirit, the mentality, the positive attitude we are encouraged to uphold, the participation in social cohesiveness, the sharing of cognitive difference. Being positive means to be resilient when negative things happened; to ask WHY in order to hunt for the root cause, not just fixing the symptom. 

 There are of course different concepts, ideologies, perspectives, religions..... Being positive means to respect and open, to breakdown the bias and prejudices; to keep cautiously optimistic; it is a value thinking and strategic thinking; it helps you conquer the current barriers in order to embrace the brighter future; it creates the energy and synergy in pursuit of the long term vision and growth. Being American is truly about advanced perception and progressive behaviors.

6. American is Generous 

American is a giver; from billionaire philanthropist to volunteer in the community, American has the spirit of generosity; Americans are mostly friendly, warm, and polite. The philanthropies are well embedded in education and the social eco-system.   

In order to reach higher maturity, giving attitude needs to be well permeating into as a universal appreciation, from sympathy to empathy, from compassion to intellectual identification; from engagement to influence; Americans are global citizens to bridge the East & West, and mind the gaps between straightforward farmland and sophisticated metropolitan; between segregative industrialization and hyper-connected digitalization, between linear logic and multi-dimensional reasoning.  We are all now living in an interdependent world - RESPECT each other's views - that does not always mean adopt them but sit around the table and share burdens and benefits that we all have to carry.

7. American is Young 

Add caption
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. “ -Franz Kafka

America is celebrating her 237th birthday now, perhaps she is still a teenager in a world of adults; she is a crystal lake in the long river of human history; however, the richness of culture and progressive technology catalyze her growth, she will be mature to serve not only her own citizens but also as trust adviser for global “seniors”; she will be wise to lead, not just through the ‘super-power’, but through her integral global capabilities and persuasive influence.

American is still young, she hasn’t too many historical burdens to stop her from moving forward; America is about change, she is in constant upheaval, she is in everyone's business, trying to make the world a better place, not on her way, but through collective insight.

Who are you, Americans? No matter you are a 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 a journey; also enjoy others’ colorful perception. Symbolically, America is another name for opportunity and fairness And we all wish American is on the journey from good to great 


Post a Comment