American in the 21st Century

Today represents a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. In 1776, on July 2nd the Declaration of Independence was approved. 2 days later, it was signed. I love this moment more than the 4th of July for numerous reasons. The main reason is that it was the Start-Up launch of America. The reasons why America became America are what I think are missing in today’s version of America. During the time period of the 13 Colonies, America was seen as an expansive opportunity. Although previously tied to Great Britain, with limited control of production, America decided to produce for itself. A nation of entrepreneurs. Looking to build a new land of opportunity. That they did. But today majority of Americans don’t like there job, a large number a depressed and many wonder about the Why of their life. Cough cough midlife crisis. We work and work and work to retirement, saddled with bills, counting on the mid 60’s to enjoy life.

For most people, they feel that fulfillment of basic needs requires one to sacrifice their time in a job, that only creates spending habits. Even myself, as a pro athlete, would at times, shut down after work. I went through periods of no investment into self, but relaxing and preparing for the next day. I watched sports, I went to games, I hung out, I was enjoying my success. Than I realized it was all a lie. The idea of 6%-12% returns on earned income deployed in the stock market seems like success, indeed the passive income is. But America isn’t passive by nature, it’s active. Now I do understand, that not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur or a businessman. But each of us has something special that the world is in need of. But we have to have the moral courage to do what we know we need to do.

Leaving the NFL was that thing for me. I had a choice. To continue to exploit my body by increasing my risk of loss of quality of life, collect $900k-$2-3 million a year for a few years. But for whatever reason, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel right committing 10 months out the year to a sport, while kids were struggling right were they are. I realized that making money, makes no difference. Acquiring things make no difference. And even donating money at times can have less than the intended impact. I felt it was my responsibility to do something about it. A look into my personal civic duty. This changed my life. I stopped worrying about what America could do for me, and focused on what I could do for America. Yes, I have understand that I have to take care of myself and my family. But what good is material security in a messed up world? To me, not much at all.

In feeling like this, I felt that to fulfill my civic duty as an America, I needed to leave the NFL. Although it wasn’t easy, I decided to do the necessary work to put myself in a position to solve problems with the money I earned, rather than focusing on spending it or holding onto it for later use. Now, I’m not throwing it away, it’s all being deployed strategically, with the bet being that the long term reward is not merely income but impact. I believe being American means upholding our civic duty to make our country better within our means.

Knowing that poverty is dragging down the American economic output, hasn’t been enough to rectify it. If you knew that EVERYONE could enjoy a better quality of life if we worked together as Americans would you do it? I would. I see China surpassing the US in preparation for the 22nd century. We are focused on making money and spending money. Not production. At least not anymore. It seems like the book, ‘The Triple Package’ is tight. After two generations of assimilation, the third generation loses its edge. Just think about how hard your grandparents had to work to get the same things we get now? Are we willing to work as hard as that generation? I don’t know. Because our work is different, it’s about more than equality and equality of opportunity. It’s also about equity. This is why we have to produce.

America was about production. Now it’s about consumption. China was impoverished, but now, they produce for the world. They are building a new Silk Road, creating their own space program which has alliances with many nations. They realize the time for them is now. We have to realize our time is now. As we grow into the future, we are going to need to compete on an international level with production. The right thing to do as an American, is to help build the future, not let time and capital collect dust or settle for 6-12% process. Being American is about taking the necessary risk to live the life you envision for yourself. America is about opportunity, to be American should mean one that seized opportunity for the greater good. But we are missing the point. We aren’t, as a people creating the companies we enjoy supporting. Immigrants dominate the STEM industries which are the modern gateway to new opportunities. It’s the new language of the world. These companies talk about the lack of American talent. Our civic duty is to help make America better. Are you just enjoying your citizenship? Or do you fight for yourself like our Founding Fathers fought to establish a New Land of opportunity.

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