Judith M. Bardwick, Ph.D.
America is starved for success; and thus for confidence in itself and its institutions. We need trust in our leadership, and hope for our future. American upward mobility has been the psychological engine of hope for a better future and accounts for the low levels of class warfare in the U.S. Historically, Americans have not envied their more successful neighbors; they just want to join them through good luck and hard work.
At work, as in every other aspect of life, success is the ultimate motivator. Thus the primary aim of society must be to encourage self-sufficiency and enable people to achieve some level of success. No one can give someone confidence, resilience or optimism; these qualities have to be earned by doing something risky, something that you never achieved before.
Some amount of failure is inevitable as people strive to achieve more than they ever had before. But, if, after an initial disappointment they return to the task and succeed, both confidence and resilience will increase far more than if the goal had been easy.
In a world full of risk, learning to handle risk is a critical skill. Without some history of successfully managing risk, there cannot be any real confidence or resilience.
As a people, Americans need to work; in addition to earning money, work is where most people achieve and build confidence and pride in their self. And that will also be the way the people of this and many other nations will find they can restore their belief in their values, their leaders, and their country. If this is achieved it is reasonable to believe that opportunity and risk taking will grow, investment and innovation will flourish, and the Can Do! energy of the people will return.