There are numerous American imports and influences which we Brits despise: fast food eaten sloppily on public transport or while walking along the street, relentless chewing of gum, the blatant misuse of the word ‘like’, the tendency to be loud and obnoxious, the wearing of white sneakers and baseball caps by middle aged, wealthy tourists… The list could go on. Surely every nation has a catalogue of deplorable habits or practices that are caricatured by outsiders?
But no matter how much one criticises American trends, culture and politics (George W and Sarah Palin being particular recipients of mockery), most of us still remain appreciative of the following: American movies, and sheer optimism.
Yes, love them or loathe them, Americans exude optimism and promote looking on the bright side of life. Unlike the British, renowned for our moaning and complaining (especially over our dull weather), the people on the other side of the Pond have an infectious inclination towards cheerfulness, positivity and resilience.
And why not? It’s running in their genes – the history of their forefathers, who against the odds set out across the Atlantic, suffered extreme weather and multiple setbacks, and went on to build towns and form a nation. Every Thanksgiving is a reminder of their former poverty in the face of their current abundance. The legacy lives on, through the ‘can do’ spirit of those who reject notions of giving up or settling for second best.
Excessive self promotion and flaunting of wealth may well be cause for criticism, along with consumption of too many doughnuts (yes, that’s how we spell it over here!) but in my view there is little more depressing than the constant whining and negative pronouncements from a growing class of disillusioned, disgruntled youth.
The internet age is a time of the greatest opportunity: Anyone can start a blog, sell on eBay, create an app, put a video on Youtube or promote photography on Flickr. The optimistic are pursuing these avenues and seeing how they can realistically make their mark. Is it any wonder that developers from the United States create more successful apps than any other country?*
Optimism is surely the greatest export from the States, not Coca-Cola or any other manufactured thing. Like a breath of pure, fresh air, optimism is refreshing, pleasing to the soul and, best of all, free.
If only it would be promoted more in our education system and work ethic, and revived among the young, rather than the sugary, fizzy substances, which are now frequently peddled in school corridor vending machines.
* “In terms of engagement, American apps reign supreme, securing 70 percent of the total number of users and engagement this year.” (Source: Inc.com)
“Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”, Philippians 4:8, the Bible.