Are You Having Trouble Moving Up to the Middle Class?

One Reason That May Be Preventing You From Being Successful

Professor Schwartz
6 min readNov 1, 2022

What makes the American Dream so powerful is our ability to move up the economic ladder. The POWER to improve your circumstances regardless of who you are, where you were born or any other factor, is what separates America from every other nation.

But 99% of Americans are facing a problem. The POWER to improve your situation is more challenging in the 21st century.

“Why is it harder to be successful in the 21st century?

To find the answer to that question, you need to look at the situation from a different angle. Are you an “out of the box” thinker? If the answer is yes or you want to learn how to see the world differently, then you should hit the Subscribe button on my account.

I have posted over 150 articles so far on Medium and most of them will show you the 21st century from a completely different angle, and you will learn how the 21st century ACTUALLY works and not how you think it works.

Why People Can’t Climb the Economic Ladder?

In America, we all believe in the “rags to riches” ideal. It’s so ingrained in our culture that even our government exploits it. Take for instance, the NY State Lottery, which used to advertise the lottery with this slogan “It only takes a dollar and a dream.”

There has to be another way to become successful or has America turned into the “Hunger Games.”

The reason life is more difficult in the 21st century is because we are still following the advice of the past. The issue with relying on old advice is that the 21st century does not function the same way as the 19th and 20th centuries.

Becoming Successful in the Past

There was one way to become successful in the past. Maybe you heard the phrase, “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” before? If you have then you know it means relying on yourself. It also meant getting an education.

Unfortunately, if you follow this advice in the 21st century, nothing will happen. Why are 99% of Americans struggling? Why is there a wide income gap between the Top 1% and everyone else?

If you want to know the answers to these questions, you have to start looking at the world from a different angle.

The 21st Century Success Roadmap

If you want to become successful in the 21st century, you first need to understand the 21st century doesn’t work the same way as the 19th and 20th centuries.

Once you admit that truth, you unlock your future potential. If you refuse to admit the 21st century is different, then you are doomed to make the same mistakes 99% of Americans are making right now.

Here’s what you need to know.

The reason the old advice no longer works in the 21st century is because we live in the digital and online age. What that means is that you can’t rely completely on yourself anymore. The way fortunes are made in the 21st century is through team building more than “rugged individualism.”

But there is ONE skill you must acquire and learn if you want to have any shot at being successful in the 21st century.

And that skill is 21st century leadership skills.

What is 21st Century Leadership and Why Do You Need to Have It?

When you think “out of the box” you start to see the world through a different lens. You no longer look at the world like everyone else, but what you are really seeing are the hidden secrets most people miss.

When you develop your 21st century leadership skills, you gain the ability to “think outside the box.” That’s right, if you have 21st century leadership skills, you SEE the world differently than other people.

In fact, once you have 21st century leadership skills, you can see opportunities that NO ONE else can see.

For example, I decided to launch Leaf Academy, the FIRST online school for 21st century skills. Why would I do that? What did I see that no one else could see?

What you might not know about me is that I was one of the first superintendents in America to adopt a 21st century skills curriculum for the K12 district I ran. And what you might not realize is that most high schools and colleges in America DO NOT teach 21st century skills.

Where can you go then to learn 21st century skills?

Solving the Problem

When you see the world differently, you also can see opportunities and solutions that most people miss. That’s what happened when I started researching 21st century skills and where citizens could learn them.

There were no options for you.

If you wanted to learn 21st century skills, you were on your own.

That is why 99% of Americans are struggling right now.

In truth, that is not fair to you. Not only that, but it’s shameful that our government and our educational elite don’t seem to care. But in fairness, all of those people are VERY OLD and they don’t know how the 21st century works.

Which is why I’m hopeful that you will start listening to the advice I’m about to give you.

Unlock Your Future Potential

If you want to see the world differently, if you want to find opportunities that no one else can see, then you need to develop your 21st century leadership skills.

There is no other choice.

When you learn 21st century leadership skills, you learn how to develop your vision for your life. You also learn how to develop a path you should follow. Once you have done both of those things, your life will be less stressful and less anxious.

What causes anxiety? The answer is uncertainty.

How do you feel when you graduate from high school or college? The answer is uncertain. You have no idea what you want to do with your life. You have no idea what direction to move in. You are lost, confused and uncertain about your future.

When you learn 21st century leadership skills, all of that uncertainty goes away. That’s right, part of learning 21st century leadership skills is developing your vision of your life. In other words, you can SEE the path you should follow.

Pursuing your dreams will still be tough and it will not move in a straight line, but what you will eliminate is the STRESS associated with working hard.

If you want to start learning 21st century leadership skills, you can watch two FREE webinars that I hosted for Leaf Academy in 2021. They are both 100% Free because you need to start seeing the world differently.

After you watch the two FREE webinars, you can decide to register for the Beginner Leadership 101 course, which will teach you how to develop your vision and how to chart your path in life.

This is a one-of-a-kind leadership course and there is NO OTHER place you can develop your vision and unlock your future potential.

Because I have 21st century leadership skills, I could see the problem was ACCESS to 21st century education. Yes, your high school and college SHOULD teach 21st century skills, but they aren’t. Is the correct response to complain and be ignored, or is the better response to create the FIRST online school for 21st century skills and give you ACCESS??


When 99% of Americans are struggling, that should start to send up red flags for you. Something else must be going on and the world is not as advertised.

The problem 99% of Americans have is they don’t have the ability to SEE the world as they need to see it. If you can see the world differently, you can start to see opportunities that other people miss.

The only way to develop those skills is by learning 21st century leadership skills. And the only place to learn those 21st century leadership skills is at Leaf Academy.

If you want to unlock your future potential and start climbing the economic ladder, I hope to see you at Leaf Academy!

About the Author:

D. Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. is a former teacher, principal, superintendent and school business administrator who spent 20+ years inside the K12 system. He was one of the first superintendents in the country to adopt a 21st century skills curriculum and he was recognized as an expert 21st century educator in 2017. He heads an education think tank that does educational research and helps superintendents and school districts follow the research and make better data-driven decisions. If you want to learn more, follow the link in the bio.



Professor Schwartz

Helping Schools and Businesses Transform into 21st Century Environments | Performance Coach | Author | Speaker