American Aspirations

World’s biggest investor says businesses have a responsibility to society

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, announced that it would begin evaluating companies based on their contributions ...

How BMe Community uses narrative to shape identity and action

BMe Community is a national network of leaders working to build and strengthen communities inspired by African American men. At its first gathering ...

Inspirational language can change negative narratives that drive inequality in America

The way nonprofits and foundations sometimes communicate about the people and communities they serve undermines their own goals and values ...

7 out of 10 Americans believe government should make the economy work for all

A dominant narrative says government works best when it cuts taxes and regulations. This narrative driven by business leaders and politicians ...

Business must be responsible to society according to 8 out of 10 Americans

In 1962, economist Milton Friedman’s book Capitalism and Freedom popularized today’s dominant narrative that the sole responsibility of business ...

Bring people together by celebrating “hard work” of all kinds

In interviews and focus groups with Americans of all walks of life, 9 out of 10 people said that being a “hardworking” person is central to their identity ...

How to motivate people to support your cause with inspiring language

Motivations like providing for our families and making a difference in the world drive us, shape our decision-making and behavior, and give us meaning ...

Most Americans say our shared hopes and values define us

When discussing what it means to be an American, we often hear things like, “Real Americans speak English” or “America is a Christian nation” ...

How to move the conversation on responsibility past self-reliance

Self-reliance is value central to American personal and national identity—we revere the idea of the rugged individual who pulls themself up ...

There’s good news about Americans’ belief that “the system” is rigged

Talk about “the system” is common in America today—whether it’s rigged, broken, or ought to be destroyed, its on our minds ...

Do you have a moral message?

Psychological research shows that our attitudes and behaviors are shaped by “moral intuition:” When confronted with a story or situation ...

How “othering” language can hurt your cause

Language used to describe people can encourage empathy—or trigger harmful stereotypes. People living in poverty, for example, are labeled as “poor” ...

This one value is the key to unifying a diverse nation

“Diverse” was the second most common choice to describe Americans in an American Aspirations focus group, but Americans have competing ideas about ...

Move beyond zero-sum thinking to motivate your audience

Zero-sum thinking, which says one group’s gains come at the expense of another’s, is associated with the perception that tomorrow’s generations ...

Motivate millions of Americans by bringing people together

Many Americans see the country as overwhelmingly divided, but when asked in a focus group to draw what they wanted the country to look like ...

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