One of the most severe illnesses afflicting many people is the poverty mindset. While it can be cured, the carriers of the disease very rarely wish to be cured and oftentimes, aren’t even aware of the symptoms and their own affliction. Poverty mindset isn’t simply about being poor, it plagues the mind of people who mostly emanated from poverty and are incapable of breaking free of its deathly grasp, sometimes despite having acquired riches. It is the very disease which afflicts many professional athletes, who, after having found wealth, went bankrupt and back to being poor within a few years of enjoying fortune and fame.
While being poor is one component of the poverty mindset, there are many wealthy people who emanated from poverty and even while they were poor and on welfare, they had goals, dreams, visions and a determination that poverty was not their final destination. Those people, while momentarily poor financially, were rich in spirit, drive and determination. Those people, however, seem to be in the minority, while a vast majority of people are actually suffering from poverty mindset.
Poverty mindset, like many other fatal illnesses, robs a person of any real quality of life, serves to maintain a broken spirit, eliminates the desire for excellence and accords the acceptance of a life of poverty. But the poverty mindset is not all negative, there’s one positive to be had from its affliction. It allows the carriers to become perpetual victims and while victimhood is (under ordinary circumstances), a negative, for those afflicted with the poverty mindset, it offers absolution of self-accountability and responsibility and that kind of absolution cannot be underestimated.
Signs That You Are a Carrier of The Poverty Mindset Disease
“Old-fashioned people think you can have a soul without money. They think the less money you have, the more soul you have. Young people nowadays know better. A soul is a very expensive thing to keep: much more so than a motor car.”
― George Bernard Shaw
1. You View Money and Wealth as Inherently Evil.
At times throughout your life you have found yourself repeating the phrase “money is the root of all evil”, without accord for the fact that it is poverty that is the root of all evil. Never have you seen a man in a Ferrari robbing and killing a teenager for the sneakers on his feet or the money in his wallet. It is surely not because rich people are any more honorable human beings than poor people; however, money eliminates the desire or need to commit atrocities out of desperation and destitution. A hungry man will steal to eat, despite how honorable of a person he is, because self-preservation dictates that he eats to avoid death. He will likely be caught and sent to prison for years simply for attempting to stay alive. A rich man will never be found having to make such a choice. Though the rich man will bankrupt a company out of sheer greed – causing all his hundreds of employees to lose their pensions and 401k and then be subjected to poverty; but the rich man has the money to afford high powered attorneys who seek to keep him from becoming the newest resident of “Club Fed”. Money works wonders and have an uncanny way of turning people with money into magicians. Until those afflicted with the disease start viewing money as the answer to many of the world’s problems, poverty mindset shall prove incurable.
2. You Blame Others for Your Lot in Life
“Blame doesn’t empower you. It keeps you stuck in a place you don’t want to be because you don’t want to make the temporary, but painful decision, to be responsible for the outcome of your own life’s happiness.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Surely, some people were born with the proverbial golden spoon in their mouths. For those people, very few things short of death and an act of the good Lord himself would have prevented their success. But most people have had to fight and claw their way up the ladder of success – many having traded parts of them they didn’t set out to trade in the process; for success requires an acceptance that this life you’re given is yours alone to author and create. There are those who make it a habit to blame the government for not having done enough and while this may be true, the government was never instituted to make anyone outside of the government rich. There are many segments of people who have been intentionally subjugated by people in positions of power; but it is important to understand that the system functions off the backs of the poor – regardless of color; that all systems subjugate poor people and were never designed to be beneficial to the least powerful in the society. A man who fully understands that nothing is going to change with any government or institutionalized system sees them for what they are and resigns himself to operating around them. The problem with blaming others whether it is the government, your environment, your parents, or whomever the blame is being shifted to, is that it allows for excuses as to why you cannot and have not succeeded. There is absolutely nothing empowering in blaming anyone else. Seek to be empowered, always. Eliminate the excuses and the blame-shifting and accept full self-accountability over your lot in life from this day forward and watch a new perspective emerge.
3. You Spend Your Time Complaining to Other Complainers
“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”
― Randy Pausch
There are those who find comfort in the company of others equally afflicted with the poverty mindset. Together they congregate and trade war stories of oppression and complain about all the ills in society, their dead-end jobs, their communities, their shared enemies and all their collective plights. Misery loves company is never more evident, as all the complaints are from people in shared situations; each afflicted with the same illness and none able to offer any solutions, positivity or escape route to the group. Never before this point in the Information Age have people been more aware of all the ills in society and the world at large. The media has bombarded every American household with images of injustices and brutality, so that every sane person is aware of all the world’s ills. If your free time is being spent complaining about all that is wrong with the world instead of you edifying yourself about how to make it right for you, then you are poor in spirit and afflicted with poverty mindset.
The rich are not oblivious to the ills and isms of the world, they simply seldomly concern themselves with things outside their purview. Instead, they know that they help the world by being successful. They focus on economic and technological successes knowing that the more success they attain, they more they are able to help the world by funding schools, helping the poor, donating to charities and supporting missionary work across the globe. There’s nothing fruitful in complaining except a resignation that this current state is the sum of one’s existence.
4. You Are Financially Illiterate
“If you want to be financially free, you must become a different person than you are today and let go of what has held you back” -Robert Kiyosaki
Perhaps you were raised in a household where your parents struggled to make ends meet which rendered you without the privilege of having been taught how finances really work. As such, you have very little to no respect for money, for budgeting, for sacrificing, for saving, for living within your means and for investing. But there are too many books and videos available for you to continue to perpetuate the lack of respect for money you inherit by virtue of birth. If when you think of money you think of the new gears, purses, shoes or even car you would purchase with it, you are not financially literate. You are stuck in a poverty mindset of the consummate consumer.
If you are not paying yourself minimally ten percent of your weekly or bi-weekly income towards a savings account, at the very least, then you, my friend, are afflicted. Those who were never taught how to save will always hold dear to the idea that they do not make enough to save. Financial literacy is never about how much a person makes, and instead, is about how much a person saves. While saving is not the best tool to wealth acquisition, it is the first step in acting toward breaking the poverty mindset.
The poverty minded save to consume. They save towards a large purchase they intend on making. This is classic of the consummate consumer. True saving is the ability to lock funds away and forget it, unless of course, there is an emergency.
5. You Are Cavalier About Your Credit Score
“If you don’t take good care of your credit, then your credit won’t take good care of you.”
― Tyler Gregory
A credit score is assessed to gauge a person’s level of financial responsibility and risk assessment. The lower the score, the less responsible the person is deemed to be with money and the higher the person’s risk assessment is. People who are financially literate prioritize their credit rating above all else. Without a good credit rating, people are subjected to subprime interest rates when financing purchases and are very rarely able to purchase a home. The exorbitant interest rates assessed by subprime lenders result in paying for purchases twice over. Additionally, wealth is accumulated through the leveraging of good credit.
A failure to prioritize one’s credit rating precludes individuals from renting apartments where a credit check is required, from taking advantage of lowered insurance premiums and in some cases, from job qualification, among other things. Just as a person is judged by their appearance, so are people judged by lenders, banks and other institutions by the rating reflected on their credit score. In an unfair world, the credit score is the great equalizer. Anyone from any background can learn to manage debt and improve their credit ranking. A person afflicted with poverty mindset fails to understand how credit scores impacts every person and is essentially a social score. There is a direct correlation between poor people and poor credit scores and while it is understandable that poor people have a more difficult time paying bills, a bigger problem is the inability to manage and/or eliminate debt. A poor credit rating is a sure indicator of a poverty mindset.
6. You Ingest Harmful and/or Hardly Beneficial Literature
“Idiots author books, too” – Keiko Young-Sang
It has been said that the “old slaves couldn’t read but the new slaves won’t read to save their lives.” At the onset of the Information Age, there has been many movements with the intended purpose of making reading cool again. While it is impressive to see that people are actually reading information that was previously locked away in vaults and hidden from public consumption, if you are merely consuming materials that only serve to enforce the idea that you have been systematically and permanently designated the underclass by some unforeseen hands working in the background to maintain your perpetual subjugation, then you were better off not having read a thing. Knowledge is power, but it is only power if it has practical application. All the knowledge contained in your head is all for naught if it does not enhance your position in the world. If the information being consumed does more to anger you and causes you to blame others for your circumstances, you are merely consuming poison. Granted, there is nothing wrong with being aware of the state of the world, but if it does nothing but demotivate and disempowers you to act, then you are doing yourself a huge disservice; unless of course, your chosen path to success is social activism. Those who have long shed their poverty mindset read materials that serve to retrain their thought process in alignment with success and self-improvement.
7. You are Reluctant to Invest in Your Own Advancement
“Every penny NOT spent on investing in yourself (after basic needs of course) may be a wasted future opportunity from missing learns and connects.”
― Richie Norton
A man’s greatest investment is in himself. If a man doesn’t invest in himself, he is of little use to his woman and his children and will never command the respect that he should desire as a man. There are tons of materials available for personal enhancement, especially for those who truly haven’t found themselves and are merely existing as products of the very environments in which they were molded and shaped. Shedding the poverty mindset requires viewing the world and one’s place in the world from a whole new vantage point. Many times, this will include distancing oneself from the people with whom you share the same mentality. If your physical location or position precludes you from associating with people of a different caliber, then the next best thing is self-improvement programs. Many people are terribly in need of life-coaching since they lack the luxury of having had the kind of parents to instill those foundational values and perspectives in them. There are quality programs available on line and elsewhere that will arm a person afflicted with poverty mindset with the tools they need for growth and evolvement. Nothing in life is free, and definitely not the best things. A man reluctant to invest in his own personal betterment is a man seriously afflicted with poverty mindset and who does not deem himself worthy of improvement.