Greetings from Guangzhou, China! A few weeks ago, I traveled to Europe with friends. We did a weekend in Amsterdam, spent Sunday night in Belgium, hung in Interlaken, Switzerland during the week, and then finally the boys and girls split and we guys headed to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest (the girls opted for somewhat-less-exciting Paris). It was an utterly epic trip.
Throughout these travels, I met an incredible amount of European men and women, and we often compared lifestyle and culture. No matter what part of Europe I was in, one theme remained constant in each one of these conversations: When I told the other person that I ran my own business, they were absolutely floored and couldn’t have been any more interested.
In America, it’s interesting to meet business-owners, but there are a great number of us, so it’s no big deal. From independent limo drivers to contracting plumbers to wedding photographers to Internet marketers, we’re not that rare.
However, in Europe, that didn’t seem to be the case. The Socialist regimes put a government stamp on basically everything, and everyone is complacent to work their 9-5 job so that they can save up enough to go on “Holiday” for the month of vacation that they’re given. And I’m not one to argue – our measly vacation policies are probably the #1 thing I hate about Corporate America. Europeans don’t have that problem.
In the meantime, someone like me who wants to rise above the masses in Europe has to deal with ridiculously high taxes and unlimited amounts of government bureaucracy. With these obstacles, combined with the fact that you can get taken care of considerably well without using much of your brain, why bother going above and beyond to produce something new to the world? The status quo is fine for most.
However, I was amazed by the amount of attraction I created in women that I talked with. Sure, maybe it was the mustache I rocked that one day, but I think it goes deeper than the physical. In their eyes, here is a guy who does whatever he wants, reports to nobody, and is at least wealthy enough to go on a trip overseas with the sole purpose of drinking beer and throwing Euros around like they’re Monopoly money. On the surface, he’s an alpha male – the leader of his tribe who leads the pack (even if it’s a tribe of 1 – but they don’t know that). And to women, that’s naturally attractive, no matter what society or tax system you live in.
The troubling thing is that our current Administration is steering our great country towards the demotivational mindset of Europe. Right now, the question entrepreneurs ask is, “Why should I hire more employees when I don’t have a clue what kind of health care and welfare I’m going to have to provide this person?”. We have absolutely no foresight into what’s around the corner, and it’s scaring a lot of business owners into inaction. But at the big picture level, while this is hurting our country, it’s not stopping us from starting our own businesses.
I just desperately hope that we stick to our revolutionary roots and change direction before that question becomes “Why should I bother producing something new when there’s a 40% tax and everyone gets spoonfed from the Uncle Sam anyway?” It’s a question that I will actively fight from ever existing in America.
But in the meantime, I will continue to lead my tribe of 1, rise above the masses, and continue to mystify German women who want the unfamiliar – because You Can’t Live the American Dream in Europe.
By Larry October 23, 2010 - 4:42 am
It was the mustache.