I have always felt that Thanksgiving acknowledges the best American qualities – hard work, diversity as strength, and a focus on solutions not problems. And not coincidentally, these same qualities are the cornerstones of successful entrepreneurship.
As every school boy and girl knows, Thanksgiving traces its origin from a 1621 Pilgrim harvest feast to celebrate surviving an extremely difficult first winter in the New World.
The Pilgrims invited to that harvest the original inhabitants of the area - the Wampanoag Indians – to sit down and break bread in a spirit of friendship and camaraderie. The Pilgrims owed their survival to the goodwill of the Indians, who had taught them how to grow corn and how to fish in the very unfamiliar New England soil and seas.
What a story.
First, let's reflect on the incredible guts, tenacity, sense of adventure, and just unbelievable hard work and perseverance of the Pilgrims. Let's channel the toughness of the Pilgrims when tackling the challenges of our modern day.
And while the history of the European man's treatment of the native peoples of America these last 500 years has been mostly shameful, let's reflect on that happy day of brotherhood.
And let’s be proud of the powerful diversity of modern America. Doubt me? Spend the day as I did yesterday with my 3 and 4 - year old boys at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
As my boys walked with wide-eye wonderment through the amazing display of new cars and technologies, I looked to my left and I saw an intent Indian boy as his father explained to him the new Yokohama tires.
To my right, an African-American girl and her father were engrossed in a demonstration of the Nissan Leaf electric car.
Behind me, a Korean family getting their picture taken in the new Chevy Durango.
As for language, only me with my thick Massachusetts accent spoke anything but perfect English.
There is NOWHERE on Earth this scene repeats itself as often as it does in America, and our embrace of diversity is perhaps our KEY long-term competitive advantage.
So let's give thanks. I am not proud of it, but I am still addicted to reading the Sunday New York Times. And what a tale of woe it is.
Between the dire talk of deficits, unemployment, fading schools, and America falling behind - if you don't catch yourself you can't help but feel sorry for both yourself and for the country.
It is 99% bunk.
Both the world and America have NEVER offered more opportunities for a larger percentage of us to live affluent lives, to do self-expressive, remunerative work, and to be amazed daily by the wonders of modern technology and entertainment than it does right now.
Let’s all be grateful for all that and more.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
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