Why Can’t You Build the Next American Dynasty?

Posted on March 29, 2021 by James Harold Webb
Skyscraper with American flags

That’s at the crux of the “American Dream,” isn’t it? The ability to build something from nothing and make a name and legacy for yourself? And yet, many of us think that reality is completely unrealistic. That’s undoubtedly what people thought of me. If you had looked at the odds when I was born, you would not have bet on me getting to the point where I spend my days pondering the challenges of generational wealth.

I was born to teenage parents in Laurel, Mississippi, a small town in the heart of the Old South, where reputations carry currency, and everybody knows too much about everybody else. Where I come from, there are limited opportunities—a job at the Masonite plant, at Howard Industries making electrical transformers, at Sanderson Farms, or maybe working offshore. If you were ambitious, maybe junior college; the rich kids went to Ole Miss.

Please don’t take that observation as a judgment – this is where I come from, and I love these people more than anything. However, through sheer luck, determination, and bullheaded resilience, I managed to get out of the cycle of low expectations that trapped so many people I knew, and so many of them were just like me.

There Isn’t a Secret Formula to Success – It’s Simply, Hard Work

The thing is, I didn’t have a big plan. It’s not like I used to stay up all night reading business books and designing schemes. I wasn’t a scholar, and I wasn’t a prodigy or some touched-by-God brainiac. In other words, I wasn’t born special. And I don’t believe I am today. But I do know how hard I worked to get to where I am, and I do know how building wealth has given my immediate family an incredible opportunity to contribute to our larger family, to our friends, and to people in need.

Money isn’t the most important accomplishment here; changing one’s fate or a perceived pathway at birth, has ultimately been what I desire to help others do for themselves. After all, that was my goal, the thing that kept me going when the work was hard and the hours were long. It was the desire to change my family’s fate for the long haul that got me back up every time I was knocked down.

If I can attribute one key factor that has been the key to the success I’ve had, it is resilience. If I can pass on anything to our children and to the generations that follow, it’s a resilient spirit, bolstered by family and dedicated to changing the fate of families—ours and others’. Resilience isn’t just about getting back up. Any fool can get back up when they’ve been knocked down. What other choice do you have, besides staying down in the gutter? A resilient person never considers staying down. Getting back up is an instinct, like breathing or blinking. Resilient people never take their eyes off where they’re going, even when they get knocked down.

I’m here to tell you, you can build a legacy that impacts generations to come; you just have to be willing to work for it.