Not long ago, I found myself in an Uber car being driven from the Phoenix airport to a conference center 40 minutes away. The driver was chatty, and we had plenty of time to talk. He was an American citizen, a legal immigrant to the United States. He was Russian and Jewish. His parents had fled the Soviet Union as soon as it collapsed and they could get out. They moved to Israel, where this man grew up and served in the Israeli army. Eventually he moved to the United States, to the Arizona desert. Now in his late 30s, after starting his own business, he opened an Uber service. His parents still lived in Israel. His only other relative in America was a brother in Philadelphia.
I asked him why he - an ethnic minority, a religious minority, having hardly any family in this country, and not knowing much English - decided to move to the United States. His life in Israel was good. Why in the world did he move?
His answer was simple. He stared at me in the rearview mirror, paused, and said, "Because I wanted to try my hand at the American dream."
And that's exactly what he is doing.
As we celebrate the Fourth of July, we should ask ourselves: what about us? Do we appreciate the opportunities we have, simply as a result of living in the United States? We all have dreams for a bigger future, not a smaller one. Do we spend enough time figuring out what this dream looks like? Do we spend enough time bringing it into being? Leaving it on the shelf isn't enough. It needs to be made real. What do you need to do to make your dream into something that really happens?
The last line of the Declaration of Independence states:
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
The people of 1776 signed their names to this. They signed on the dotted line. To bring your dream into being, at some point you have to sign on the dotted line. Before you do this, you have to spend enough time with your dream to get clarity about what it is. On July 4, we have a whole day's worth of time to start moving toward clarity. Be sure to spend enough time with your dream - not just on July 4, but often.