It's American as Hollywood, really. A healthy impulse, too -- when backed up by at least a spoonful of substance. Lately though, the other American art -- chutzpah -- is widely practiced in the dying circles of the right. Sheer invention of things.
It's Orwell meets the me generation: let's all make the world up in a free-for-all -- using newspeak like "enhanced interrogation techniques" and "extraordinary rendition."
This of course springs from another part of the mythology:
You can do anything you want in this world, be anything you want.
Now isn't that just a big load of horseshit. Why do we keep propagating this?
Success is a function of personality type more than anything else. As such, it is a form of luck: you are that way or you are not. You don't absolutely have to be born with it: you might be fortunate enough to have lived through a crisis like, say, alcoholism, and have emerged from it with a nice, solid compulsive personality that will not yield. That is also a formula for a kind of success. The kind that rewards persistence and inflexibility.
Until it breaks completely.