The American dream is the pathological belief in self-made men (who despite being born in the right place at the right time seem to believe that they did it all by themselves — with the help of some stolen ideas, cash, and/or property).
It is often assumed that those who don't succeed just didn't try hard enough: poor people are lazy, minorities are too dependent, the homeless really enjoy the freedom of living in the great outdoors (under an overpass), etc. For those who buy into this load of shit (especially those who aren't succeeding) there is a real danger of internalizing the guilt stemming from failure. Instead of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, you are susceptible to submitting to the urge to hang yourself by them. Let's just hope those bootstraps were made in America and not in a third-world sweatshop.