Optimism comes in many varieties and throughout the last year, we’ve seen that small business optimism in general has been running high.
In addition to this, a recent targeted survey on optimism has made me even more optimistic about the current streak of optimism running through small business owners. Let me explain my optimistic view of optimism!
A New York life survey reveals that parents who are also small business owners are more optimistic about the future of their children than American parents in general. Seventy-seven percent of small business owner parents believe that when their children become adults they will have a better standard of living then they (the parents) currently have. This is a full 10 percentage points higher when compared to the country’s parents in general.
And, when asked about all the kids in the U.S. (not just their own) 65 percent of small business owners think these youngsters will have a better standard of living than their parents. In the overall population of U.S. parents, this optimism stands at only 54 percent.
There are three important reasons I find these figures among small business owners encouraging:
- The promise of making a better life for our children is a cornerstone of the American Dream. This survey tells me that the American Dream is alive and well among small business owners.
- This optimism should be contagious and lead to more small business starts, which have been down in recent years and small business starts are critical for economic growth.
- This faith in a better life for our children tells me that small business owners are looking toward the future and planning for growth. They aren’t timidly sitting by on the sidelines. This should spur economic activity across the country.
Of course, optimism and reality are two different animals, but optimism is attitude and attitude in large part determines the course of events. If your medium-term memory is okay, you probably recall that not long ago the popular media was chock full or articles talking about the death of the American Dream, like this one in USA Today that starts out by saying:
If the American Dream is defined as earning more money than your parents, today’s young adults are just as likely to have a nightmare as they are to achieve their dream.
Further, I think there is a good reason for small business owner parents to be more optimistic than parents in general: They have more control over their destinies. This is a lesson that I hope the rest of the nation learns from them. And, small business owners not only have the power to grow their businesses, while they do this they are also growing the wealth of their families. This spreads to their children.
This gives small business owner parents the ability to educate their children and perhaps even spare them the incredible student debt burden so many young adults are burdened with today. Further, many small business parents envision their children taking over their companies as they become adults. This goes a long way toward assuring the future financial wellbeing of their kids.
Finally, let me say that this optimism impacts virtually the entire world. If you doubt for a moment that the United States has a special place among the nations of the world, let me point something out. The American Dream is a concept, an ideal, a hope that is known around the world. I don’t mean this to criticize any other nation, but there is no globally recognized French Dream, or Chinese Dream, or South African Dream.
For many generations, the United States has been known as the country where individuals enjoy the opportunity to make better lives for themselves and for their children. Small business ownership is fundamental to this.
Not long ago it looked like the American Dream was on life support. Today it seems to be regaining its health. Let’s all work together to make is stronger than ever before.