Should America be More Like Europe

I’ve never written ANYTHING about politics, and I don’t intend to start doing so. But since I’ve been traveling around the world, I’m inevitably brought to some interesting reflections about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in this modern world, and which countries are the best places to do that.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada (where I’m from), and also in the United States. I’ve also traveled and studied to Europe and have been there over 10 times.

It seems to me that a lot of people in Europe are very skeptical about everything American, while Americans themselves tend to imagine that life is so much better in Europe and that they should be more like Europeans.

There’s also a lot of Europeans who have never been to North America and tend to have a very negative image of the United States, that is in my opinion quite incorrect.

There’s no doubt that the social climates in Europe and North America are completely different. The main source of that difference is that America was founded by Europeans we were fed up with the system, fed up with high taxes in their countries, fed up with the lack of opportunities, and decided to seek a better life somewhere else and brought their entrepreneurial spirit with them.

Europe is much older, with many more established traditions and therefore each country is much more homogenized and has its own distinct character.

It’s quite obvious that Europe (especially Northern Europe) is a much more organized, conformist society.

The social pressure to be like everybody else is much stronger, and generally most people don’t tend to try a different approach and would prefer stick with their expected role in society.

Overall, the governments of European countries and the general social climate in Europe doesn’t really encourage individuals to become entrepreneurs, to go their own way, to take risks and reap giant rewards if they succeed, or fail miserably if they don’t (and that being an “okay” thing).

There’s the absurdly high taxation that comes into play (in Denmark, there’s a Value-Added Tax of 25% on everything, including groceries, and that’s on top of a very high income tax!), but again it’s the general social climate that makes people less inclined to start their own businesses.

On the other hand, it’s true that it can “feel good” to live in Europe, because you can easily find your place in society and follow the established route that has been drawn for you.

The “American Spirit” (which I will apply to the entire North American continent), is much more one of risk-taking, entrepreneurship and innovation. Individualism and personal success is much more encouraged (or tolerated), and people view failure as more of a “personal learning experience” than a devastating event.

On the other hand, it’s also true that North Americans tend to feel more isolated, more lost and looking for answers.

When I say “American Spirit”, I really mean the spirit that the founders of America and the immigrants that came to the country, rather than the mediocrity mentality that some Americans now share. I’m talking about the driving force of the country, even though it’s being squashed and destroyed by the day.

If you want to get in touch with this “American Spirit” go to Los Angeles, where every other person you meet hopes to make it in Hollywood. They might not all succeed, but the “dream” is alive.

Go to San Francisco, where every other kid is starting a new social media site and hopes to become the next Facebook or Twitter.

You could even go to Toronto, and witness the entrepreneurial spirit of the many immigrants the city welcomes every year.

Even some countries in Europe have this entrepreneurial spirit, but overall you’ll find that most places in Europe don’t have a climate that is as friendly for entrepreneurs as North America.

If you want to succeed making a living doing what you love, you have to connect with this “American Spirit”.

Like I said, the American Spirit has nothing to do with American foreign policies, or even American culture and fast food, but rather the spirit of entrepreneurship that went into the fantastic creation of this country.

I’m not even American myself, but I’ve connected with this spirit and it’s what drives me every day.

When you want to make a living doing what you love, you don’t count on handouts from the state. You’re willing to take risks, and you’re willing to fail. And if you succeed fabulously, you should be able to enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

Beware! If you succeed, others are going to be mad at you. They’re going to call you a liar and a cheater, they’re going to be angry at your “sneaky” marketing techniques, and will even ask you to give away your best stuff for free, instead of selling it.

They will never be able to see all the hard work that went into your work. They will never be willing to take the risks that you took. Naturally, they will never be able to enjoy the life that you enjoy, and will resent you for it.

If you want to succeed making a living doing what you love, it’s imperative that you connect with this entrepreneurial spirit.

To do so, you have to spend time with other entrepreneurs, and visit places where you can feel that the “entrepreneurial energy” is just bubbling.

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So should America be more like Europe?

I love the best aspects of Europe, the culture, the people… but let’s not squash the Entrepreneurial spirit. There’s very little of it left in the world, and it would be a tragedy if it disappeared from America.