Introducing a podcast examining Life Innovators. These are the audacious people who tailor their lives to both daily desires and lifelong passions. Looking beyond the status quo, their stories get us hyped to rethink our own.
00:00 Wall Street [Motion Picture]. 1987. Gordon Gekko “Greed is Good” speech.
00:01 Hilary Clinton (2014). Correct the Record “The American Dream: Hillary Clinton Writing A New Chapter,”
00:03 Kanye West – All Falls Down (2004)
00:07 Lana Del Rey – Damn you
00:10 Donald Trump. “Donald Trump Presidential Announcement” (Jun 16, 2015).
00:12 Fight Club Trailer. (1999). Tyler Durgen.
00:15 Children of the Corn (feat. Big L, McGruff, Killa Kam & Murda Mase) – American Dream (2003)
00:18 “Scarface” Trailer (1983) Narrator
00:20 George Hanson, “Easy Rider” (1969).
00:23 Anita, “West Side Story” (1961).
00:42 The Dream feat. Young Jeezy – I Luv Your Girl
00:55 What is Chill + Ambitious?
2:22 Introducing LIFE INNOVATORS
3:45 The American Dream
– Negative responses had a very specific idea of the American Dream
4:40 Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz (1970)
Origins of the term “American Dream”
4:55 Adams, James Truslow. “The Epic of America” (1931)
9:50 Brand, Russel. “Revolution” (2014) http://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Russell-Brand/dp/1101882913
12:18 Zapp & Roger “Computer Love”
13:45 THINK ABOUT YOUR DREAM!!!!
14:40 Anita, “West Side Story” (1961).
Research used for reference:
Schulte, Brigid. “Millennials want a work-life balance. Their bosses just don’t get why.” (May 5, 2015)
Zakaria, Fareed. “In defense of a try hard generation.” (June 10, 2015) http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/in-defense-of-a-try-hard-generation/394535/
Abrahams, Robin & Groysberg, Boris. “Manage your work, manage your life.” (March, 2014) https://hbr.org/2014/03/manage-your-work-manage-your-life
Parakati, Vania. “The history of work/life balance: it’s not as new as you think” (September 30, 2010)
Henderson, Amy. “When It Comes To the Baby Boomers, It Is Still All About ‘Me’” (Oct. 15, 2014)
Wolfe, Tom. “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening” (Aug. 23, 1976).
“Work-life evolution study” Professor Brad Harrington. Boston College Center for Work & Family (2007).
Ernst and Young, “Global generations: A global study on work-life challenges across generations”.
NO: To Chill & Ambitious. The podcast were we point out shit you didn’t know was relevant.
O: And today that’s going to be the American dream. And what it means to our generation the Millenials. But before we get into that we have an introduction
NO: This is episode zero.
O: And I’m O.
NO: And I’m NO. And you can call us ONO.
NO: O-fucking-NO. Why are we here? That’s a good question. What does Chill & Ambitious mean to you?
O: Chill & Ambitious means trying to balance these two things. Normally, people think of just being chill or just being ambitious and don’t think of them as the same person-that you have to be super cutthroat or you’re not going to get anywhere in your life. (1:22) We refuse to think that’s the only way to do things. And that they’re either a combination of restructuring your life on individual level, looking at things that need to happen politically, things that need to happen socially, that you can make things better while also being able to support yourself.
NO: Yeah. And a lot of that comes down to community, which is actually I think the biggest thing. This whole podcast started because we kind of met each other and realized that we like to talk about all this stuff-we like to talk about social issues and pop culture and sometimes we like to get deep into those social issues. It doesn’t really make us uncomfortable because the purpose of talking about them is figuring out how do we address these issues in the best way.
O: Exactly. That nicely leads us up to our first series. It is on LIFE INNOVATORS. We are going to be talking to LIFE INNOVATORS every week.
NO: And these are people who have figured out how to pursue their interests and make money because nobody ever likes to talk about both things at the same time. They’re like “yeah, sure follow your dreams!” It’s so hyper-inspirational, but where is it pragmatic? How have people done what they like to do and still made a living? So we interview people who’ve done that successfully (2:50) and we kind of pick out what their greatest strengths are and then we contextualize it with some research.
O: Right. So you get the individual story, the anecdotal side, but then you also find out that person isn’t necessarily alone. Throughout history, or maybe a recent study came out that reflects people with that strength, are statistically shown to do better in whatever circumstance.
NO: It’s not enough to just say this person did it. What was successful about it? What can we leverage? And how do we create a community around this idea or a around these people are just thinking a little bit outside of the box? And providing some information that could be useful to you as well.
O: Yeah. It’s so important right now. It seems like everybody’s asking these questions about their life. Especially if you’re from this generation and it brings us two why we want to talk about the American dream and make the case that it is still relevant despite often the connotations that it is dated, that it’s an opiate, that it’s unattainable. (4:02) We noticed that when people have those connotations it’s because they have a specific idea of the American dream.
NO: White picket fence, the two cars, the 2.5 kids, having a stable career. All those things that kind of all came in one package.
O: Or making lots of money.
NO: Yeah, well how are you going to afford your two cars and 2.5 kids? That shit’s crazy expensive.
O: Being super rich.
NO: Or, there actually was a middle-class, you didn’t have to be super rich-but it doesn’t really exist anymore.
O: That’s not actually what the American dream is really about at the core anyways. We did a little research and originally it was coined by a man named James Truslow Addams the great depression. He of course drew from our Founding Father documents and philosophers and he said that it was:
A land in which Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone. With opportunity for each according to ability and achievement regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.
NO: So, what that says to me is that we are all still pursuing the American dream, we just attached one very specific ideal to it.
O: Right. So what does better and richer and fuller mean?
NO: Well it’s really funny because if you want to talk about it from an immigrant perspective… sometimes you’ll talk to people who will still have a negative view about it… I’m first generation from immigrant parents and my parents think America is the greatest thing ever because of what it stands for. There’s very much this view of America being this place where anything can happen.
O: My parents are the same way. I’m more or less a second generation here in America. To that point, one of the things I really appreciate about America (6:41) is that it is, for better or worse, all about money. It isn’t about where you came from, who your parents are, what your class or race is (obviously those affect whether or not you’re able to show if you are marketable), but at the end of the day people want to know: can you make me money? And if you can they will work with you.
NO: That’s true.
O: It wasn’t always like that in this country, for minorities especially, but today if you can prove on YouTube that you have so many followers and people buy your shit, corporations will work with you. Also, people buy your shit so your business will be supported. And I think that there is something cool about America being able to democratize and businesses being able to democratize things like that.
NO: That’s funny. My friend Catrin-she is from Sweden- when I asked her what she thought the American dream was about, she said that she used to watch Cribs on MTV, and so she thought that the American dream was all about making money and buying a big house and having a bunch of ridiculously expensive things. That’s the perception of America to some. (8:03)
O: Which is problematic.
NO: It’s really just about this idea that you can have anything. And I think that that really coincides with this energy that our age group has. That’s like: we want to do more, we want to explore more, we want to travel more. And we want to figure out: how do we work this way too? How do we fit all these things in? It’s kind of amazing to have this energy. And that to me is the energy of the American dream. I even have a friend from France who is saying that- he’s a developer- when he was in France he had this idea for this app that he was working on with a friend. And everyone was kind of telling him “Oh, you know, maybe you should have some different ambitions. Maybe you should not dream so big.” And he said he came to America and he had to hit the ground running because he came and he had this idea and everyone said “how fast can you go?” And he was saying how beautiful and energizing this was.
O: We have this optimism here, too. Just this American dream has [been] instilled in us from a very early age. Like “you can be anything you want to be.” That’s not everywhere in the world. People are like “what did your dad do?” or “this is the safe thing to do” and you don’t need to find your happiness in your job. Not that you need to necessarily in America, people don’t expect it to be fulfilling.
NO: We also work more here. (9:28) I want to go back to what you just said about being anything you want to be because that is a very American trope in our culture. But I want to say that I don’t think until recently- until the last 10 years- that there wasn’t the support for that because maybe you want to be something but you don’t know how to go about doing it. With the beautiful invention of the Internet, having this technology expanding to what it is today, we’re so educationally rich. (10:00) Any human with the smart phone, at least in America or in a country where the Internet is not censored, has access to more information then the president did 30 years ago. [Russell Brand “Revolution”] So we’re actually smarter, we’re more creative, but we have less opportunity- well we have less opportunity provided to us by others.
O: Good point. More choice than ever before but that puts a responsibility on deciding how you actually want to create your life. Instead, we now have a middle-class of information as I like to think about it. And I as a millennial was lucky enough to take advantage of that. I totally got into fashion because of the Internet. I have a political science major. I didn’t go to fashion school. The only way I was able to do that was with a designer that I found through Model Mayhem. Still going on. And it was a place where you can find models, find hairstylists, make up artists, and people will work with you if you can build each other’s portfolios. So I actually built my portfolio for free with a lot of time and energy making stuff.
O: Right. I paid for the fabric.
NO: And you paid with time.
O: And I paid with time. (11:30) But I created a portfolio with photo shoot and everything, and I guess I have some talent so people wanted to work with me. I really learned [that] even if you’re nobody, if you can sell your idea, if you can sell your talent, if you can sell that you have something to offer, I learned very quickly that people will work for you- work with you- because they’ll be benefiting from what you can contribute. Yeah, so totally. Because of the Internet I was able to make this transition to fashion. I’ve designed for The Gap, Kate Spade, works for all these brands that normally you would have to go to all these prestigious schools…
NO: Once you have industry experience, it doesn’t matter.
O: Yeah. Exactly. It was hard getting in. That was through some social engineering to do that too.
NO: It’s hard getting in even when you went to a very fancy 4 year school, too. (Art school). So yeah. Thank you Internet for helping further along the American dream. Totally. That’s what Chill & Ambitious is about. This is what the LIFE INNOVATOR series is about. We have a wonderful array of friends because of her weird interest in all of the things- in ALL the things. We built this really amazing network of people who’ve really figured this out and we’re fortunate enough that they’re sharing that with us, that they’re allowing us to interview them and then pull out the best bits and share it with you, our audience. And we want you to be part of our community. We want to build this community and share. Every week we will be interviewing a person, pulling out these beautiful bits of information and also having resources for every one of our LIFE INNOVATORS. Some people work half a year and don’t work half the year, some people have started their own nonprofits, some people are like really, really successful business owners. But, you know, we are going to talk about all of the bits. The ugly bits, the hardest bits, and what they learned.
O: In the meantime, we’d like to invite you to think about your dream. You know we’ve been talking about the American dream and all the history that’s here around this whole concept, you know of course you don’t have to be in America, it’s really just about having a dream and defining it for yourself so that someone else doesn’t define it for you.
O: It’s gonna be a fun time and we’d love for you to join us. We’re going to be airing every Wednesday. You can follow us on Instagram.
NO: And on the Twitter, and on the Facebook. We know people don’t really use the Facebook, but you can follow us there. Our website is chillandambitious.com.
O: There you can find show notes, you can find citations to the lovely audio clips we use throughout the show as resources.
NO: And if you’d like to follow us on social media it’s @chillambitious because nobody has time for all those extra words. Well…
O: I’m O.
NO: And I’m NO. And thanks for listening.