Those of you who know me, will know that I often like to get to ranting about the theme of poverty and wealth, such as for example in this article about how I believe in creating your own future and your own economic situation.
Well, this isn’t going to be a treatise on how to get rich fast, how to manifest abundance in your life or any of those other “get-rich-quick”, New Agey, fantasize-a-winning-lottery-ticket-into-your-life pseudo-spiritual philosophies that are currently all the rage.
Here I’m just going to blab on a bit about what I believe about the game of poverty and prosperity here on earth, from the things that I have observed. What I say may or may not make Napoleon Hill fans happy. I wouldn’t know, as unfortunately I got bored in the second chapter of his book and never made it through.
Probably one of the reasons why he was richer than me!
I don’t believe in “effortless” abundance, “effortless” prosperity or effortless anything. That doesn’t mean that I think that you must slave like a mule in order to get anything at all.
But it is true that anything that is worth fighting for, well, must be fought for! If it’s worth achieving, then it’s worth the effort required to achieve it.
A prize that’s handed to you on a silver platter has very little meaning. You feel no pride in it. There’s no sense of accomplishment, no “well I’m worth it, I deserve this” behind such a prize.
It doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. It doesn’t make you feel proud of yourself.
But if you earn it, if you win it justly and true, then it’s yours no matter what happens. You will always know that you knew how to do it, that you had it in you. That you had what it takes.
The Poverty Mentality
Another one of my pet rants is about how poor people often have little money because they MAKE themselves poor, and it's no one else's fault that they are down and out.
Now, by this, I don’t mean that we should turn our backs on indigent people, harden our hearts to the misfortunes of others and blame their situation entirely on them. We are all on the same boat, and we would do best if we all pull together and help each other.
After all, this is life. And in life everyone goes through up times and down times. When you are down, I scratch your back and when the situation is reversed, you can scratch mine.
However, I do stand by the mentality of “teaching people how to fish for themselves”, rather than just giving them fish.
Observing Poor People
Now, I live in a fairly low-income neighbourhood.
It's a low-income, working class neighbourhood, but it's still a WORKING class neighbourhood, as in, a neighbourhood where most people work.
They may not earn a lot of money, but at least they have jobs and earn their keep fair and square.
However, right across the street from me is a very down-trodden, marginal neighbourhood. It's a very poor housing project that I guess must have been designed for VERY POOR (as in unemployed, not working class) people. You can tell that it is quite squalid and that the people who live there are, in general, poverty-stricken.
All of the buildings are very old and run-down, with peeling paint. I can understand that. These people are too destitute to pay for renovations. That's normal enough. I also have no money to spare for renovating anything.
These buildings have NO security at all on them. The front entrance of these apartment buildings is always open (unlike normal buildings where the front entrance is closed and locked and only residents should have the key).
That is, if they even have front doors at all. Because many of these very shoddy constructions don't even have a door in front, just a doorway.
But that's okay too. I understand that doors are expensive, and maybe the residents can't afford to put a door on their building.
Now, if you notice, the residents are always sitting around out on the street in front of their homes, doing nothing. Well, so now things are getting a little odd.
So here they are, down in the dumps, stricken with endless rounds of poverty, with no jobs, no money. So why are they sitting around? Why aren't they out looking for a job, or trying to work free-lance like me?
Do they really expect to get out of poverty this way?
I can understand that they want to sit around outside. After all, they don't have balconies or gardens or swimming pools and obviously they can't afford air conditioning. So it's probably unbearable, hot and stuffy inside their apartments (here in this stupendous, sub-tropical southern Spanish heat).
But if they are sitting around on the street doing nothing, they are doing nothing. They are not looking for a job. They are not trying to earn money in any way. They are not offering their services anywhere.
But what most shows off why these people are penniless, and will always be poverty-stricken, is the GARBAGE! All piled up all over the streets.
The reason is not because city cleaners or garbage trucks don't pass through these neighbourhoods, or because there are no garbage containers in this part of town.
No, the reason is the method these people use to get rid of their trash: they just open their windows and toss the garbage out.
They don't bother to take their garbage bags down like normal, civilized people and put them into a container. Nope, just throw it all out the window. The whole street is your garbage dump.
Well, with a mentality like that, do you EVER expect to get out of poverty??
Why Poverty Is A Mind-Set
That is why I say poverty is a mind-set, not something bad that just sort of "happens" to you.
You might be poor for a while (like I once was). But that is only temporary when you are doing things to try and get out of poverty (like I did, which is why now I've got a job).
But when no matter what happens you are ALWAYS suffering from poverty, and you're not doing anything to try and change that situation, then it's not temporary. It's a mind-set.
And you will never get out of poverty if you don't change your way of thinking. Or your attitudes or behaviour.
If you want something, you have to work for it.
I don't mean that you have to SLAVE AWAY for it. Just put in a reasonable amount of effort.
But these people are impoverished because they just can't be bothered to try and get anything, make anything or do anything. They do nothing but sit around the whole day long and they can't even be bothered to take their garbage out of their homes. They have to throw it out the window.
Another thing I have noticed about people that keeps them stuck in poverty: being miserly.
I don't mean, as in when you don't pay for something or buy something because you can't afford it.
Of course, that's normal. If you can't pay someone, say, 50€ to style your hair, for example, because you don't have 50€, then of course it's normal that you will look for someone who styles hair for 25€, or just simply don't get your hair styled.
I am talking about, when you can afford something, some service usually, but you just can't bear to part from your money to pay for that service. When you do have the wealth to pay for it.
Because then later we can see that you go out shopping to boutiques and you have money for designer clothes. You have sufficient funds to go to the hair salon all the time. You have money to go out drinking and dining. But you just don't have anything left to spare to pay someone for their services. So you bargain for every single cent from the person who is offering the service that you want.
Miserly people that I have observed are very much like that. They will pay a lot for products of all sorts: clothes, drinks, hair styling, objects to decorate their homes. But they refuse to pay for services.
Nope. Services for free, we're rich but we want services for free. All services for free.
You Don’t Pay Servants a Lot, Do You?
After all, it's not like people who offer services are worth very much, right? People who offer services are like servants. And you don't pay servants a lot, do you?
Now, when I can afford it, I try to be generous. I try to give a big tip, because I know how hard the person works to give me what I want. Not just the food, but how they serve it to me.
Of course when I can't afford it then I don't give big tips. And of course, if the service was lousy, I most CERTAINLY will not give any tip!
But if the person gave great service and I can afford it, I believe in giving them a generous tip, because I really enjoyed what the person did for me.
The Mentality of the Miserly
But miserly people don't have that mentality. They just believe in take-take-take. And they will always be poor.
Related to this is another way of behaviour which I find fairly normal and generalized in circles where poverty reigns, and which in my opinion also contributes a great deal to keeping abundance at bay and as far away from you as possible. And that is the resistance that people have to making money circulate.
Making money circulate means, just that. Using your money, to get things that you want or need.
Now, by that I don’t mean just throwing your funds away or wasting it on silly stuff that you don’t need or consuming just for the sake of consuming.
However, when people accustomed to a scarcity mentality grab a hold of a bit of money, they just hoard it up. They don’t use it to buy something, do something with it or pay for a service. The result is that they are not helping the economy along or, on a more personal note, they are not helping their fellow men and women along.
Fellow men and women who also need a job, or who offer a service and need to get paid for it.
Since these people, when they have money, usually just hoard it all up, they are not doing anything to help honest, decent people get out of poverty. Honest, decent people who have a service or talents or skills to offer, and would be most happy to be providing these services, talents or skills to someone in exchange for their sustenance.
But since no one is willing to pay them for their services, talents or skills, that means that these honest, decent workers can’t get out of poverty. And in the long run that also hurts the miserly people who are hoarding up their money.
Money Must Circulate
Because money circulates. So if you are not circulating money, that means that, eventually, you will also stop receiving money.
If you are getting your money, that you hoard up so zealously, from offering a product or service, and all the people around you are so poor, partly because YOU do not pay THEM, then in the end it will happen that these people, whom you refuse to pay, will eventually have no money left to consume YOUR goods or pay for YOUR services.
That would mean that then you also stop earning money.
And so it goes all around in a vicious cycle.
But then you might object to me: Oh but I earn a fixed salary, I don’t offer a product or service, I’m hired by a company.
Well, this situation applies to you even if you have fixed monthly earnings that don’t depend on how much or how hard you work. You still form very much a part of the global economic situation, because you are still employed by a company.
A company that offers goods or services.
And if these goods or services aren’t selling, then your company will eventually go bankrupt.
And if your company goes bankrupt, because the people out there have no funds to spend on your company, what do you think will happen to you?
The only way to break out of this vicious cycle, is if those people who do have the money and can afford it, would do something to put that money back into circulation again.
Help Out Your Fellow Men and Women
Go out and buy yourself that coffee, and give a generous tip to the waitress who serves you. Or get that plumbing job done in your house that you’ve always been thinking about.
Not only will this help that lowly, hard-working plumber, it will also save you money in the long run, even if you have to pay the plumber. Because in the end you will no longer have to pay the water company so much.
And you will also enjoy your bathroom or kitchen a whole lot more.
And one day, that waitress that you so generously tipped, or that plumber that you were wise enough to hire, will buy something from YOU. Or with the money that you pay them, they will buy something from someone else, who will then go out and buy something from you.
I think it could take centuries, if ever, before people around the world get it through their heads, that if they want to be more prosperous, they have to change their mind-set, their mentality, their way of thinking and behaving.
That poverty is truly a state of mind, and not just "bad luck".
However, you don't need to wait centuries in order to subscribe to this site using either the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" box on the right-hand column, and you can keep up to date on the latest new articles that appear here!
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Sparks said on March 11, 2014:
I uhhh... don't know what to say. I agree with a lot of the rest of the posts. But this one. Ugh, it strikes a nerve.
The opposite is true. Not in the mindset, I mean the way you say they should act.
I pay the absolute minimum for the SAME PRODUCT if there is more than a marginal difference in price. I won't drive 10 miles to save .02 on gas. But I will order a product online, rather than pay 40 bucks more in a store.
And I always tip. Because LOVE and FORGIVENESS should circulate. So many people demean their servers, then get pissed when a single mother of two who's on her second shift gets an attitude.
She catches shit from both directions. Don't punish her, while you buy an overpriced pair of "stylish sneakers". We have ALL had a bad day at work. How many times have you been docked because of it? Oh, 0? Unless you depend on tips.
And how do you think that waitress will feel when you leave your .02c to be clever and "show her"? Chipper the next day?
You have no idea what that person has been through that day. I would rather pay the extra 10% (I always tip 30%), regardless of service, and give that waitress a nice surprise to end her shitty day. You know, rather than have that hateful attitude bleed into the next.
If I have been there and it's always like that, well then I will either request a diff server, or not attend that establishment.
And don't tell me, oh that's too expensive. Because, if it is, maybe you should have saved your money and eaten at home. Or McDonalds. I hear they're cheap.
But that PERSON provided you a service. Whereas those sneakers you bought? A corporation is taking 90% of the profits, and hoarding them. Or reinvesting... with his friends. (GW JR anyone?)
Hrmmm, person? Or item? Which is more valuable? And yet you still buy the sneakers even if the sales guy is a jerk.
And you don't dock his pay a damn bit.
(Here in the US waiters are paid 3.75/hr. The employer is only OBLIGATED to pay that much. Minimum wage is 8.75... think about it.)
So you are not only docking this person his bonus, you are docking him his reasonable pay for a reasonable amount of work. And he never gets a shot at a bonus.
This is not true of higher end establishments, as they add gratuity. If you add it, and it's required, I rarely pay more than that, except when it's like a pit stop at my table. But 70% at least of restaurants here are under 10 bucks a plate.
The servers at Sonic, also share this wage. Seriously.
You CAN make quite a bit. You can also make 3.75 an hour. So that one day you walked out with a hundred bucks... negated by the 4 where you walk out with 12.
+3.75/hr = 5.75 (6 hour shift). Jury duty pays better, with less hassle.
The Seas Of Mintaka said on March 22, 2014:
Hi, Sparks. Well I'm not too sure where your rant is coming from, or what it is exactly that you are ranting against. I do agree that in general waiters don't usually earn a great salary. However, in this article, I'm explaining that NO ONE is OBLIGED to remain a poor waiter all his life. He has the CHOICE to try and do something to improve his income and position. He can look for a better job, go back to school, start up a home business on the side, get a second job...... The possibilities are endless, and even more so if he lives in the States.
You might object that it takes money to start up a business or time to go back to school. Well, you can start an online business for only $300 a year (that is how much it costs to set up a website with a good webhost, for example). I have heard of people who have thrived by doing handicraft like selling homemade yogurt or hand-made soap that they make at home. That only costs a few cents to produce.
You can go back to school studying part time or by correspondence, so you don't have to attend classes in person if you don't have time to do it. You can follow the lessons at your pace.
The point is that if you REALLY want to do something, you can find the way to do it. You are never STUCK in poverty for the rest of your life - unless you choose to be, or you live in Ethiopia (no offense meant to people living in Ethiopia).
As for tipping waiters or other service providers, well, I personally usually try to tip, but sometimes, since there have been times in my life when my economy wasn't exactly what you would call buoyant, and even so I still wished to (or needed to) use some service like take a taxi after midnight or take my kids to a restaurant for a treat (because being poor doesn't mean that you have to make your kids hole away in your house all their lives and never go out), well, sometimes there are these sorts of occasions where you just simply can't afford to offer a very generous tip, I'm afraid. Being generous, thinking of how the waiter is going to feel, etc., wouldn't change your situation that if you only have, say, 10 dollars to spare that month, and you order 3 meals that together cost $9.95, you're only going to have 5 cents left to give as a tip.
Yes, you are absolutely right. If a waiter or other service provider is a complete *** (expletive best not used on respectable websites) with you, instead of getting mad, you should LOVE and RESPECT them. I'm afraid I'm not quite that enlightened and spiritually advanced yet, however. If a service provider is a complete *** with me, I usually return the favour.
You are also right, sometimes someone is a complete *** because they've just had a rough day. However, that doesn't give them the right to take out all their "nasty stuff" on me. I usually tip taxi drivers generously, but once I took a taxi where the driver seemed to on purpose and deliberately do the opposite of whatever I asked him to do. If I asked him to turn right, because I knew that it was the fastest route to where I wanted to go, he would turn left. When I asked him to stop and let me out at a certain corner, he refused, and insisted on continuing the ride a bit longer. It was clear he was just trying to bump up the meter a bit higher. When I asked him if he was aware that we had already passed the address where I wanted to go, he screamed a few obscenities and insults at me. Well, you might be a very lofty and advanced soul and you might feel inclined to LOVING and FORGIVING this poor bloke. I'm a bit more lowly human being and I feel a bit more inclined to just walking out without paying him a cent! (As well as returning his insults and obscenities with a barrage of my own!)