This article offers a hypothetical conversation between various authors and creators who have embarked on progressive self-development journeys under the influence of a shared society that intermittently embraces and rejects the structures of the American Dream. While examining the instinctive human motives that cause the radical decision to actualize one’s life, this paper attempts to bridge the psychology of the desire for personal growth to our influential cultural landscape. It explores and analyzes the self-development journeys of individuals such as William Least Heat-Moon and Chris McCandless, as well as the recent message of self-development found in a cinematic pop culture music video, produced by The Lumineers. Through an exploration of how American culture’s fluctuating reactions towards the American Dream influence the motivations that generate self-developmental journeys, this paper aims to define successful personal growth as individuals of a community striving for personal growth in combination with a desire for interconnected social growth.
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Binder, Kelsey. "A Genealogy of Self-Development in Modern America: Influences of the American Dream."