“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” – James A. Baldwin
Not too long ago, I came across statistics showing the level of poverty in the world today. The numbers are scary and staggering! A billion children live in poverty; 121 million children have no education and with other depressing numbers and pictures on the media too miserable for me to mention detailing the level of poverty in the world, I believe the state of poverty should never be acceptable.
It is true that there are some people in the world who are incapable of changing the terrible situations they are born into because of their country’s unstable political climates. In these countries, you will find citizens in wretched situations. They are enslaved by a few elites who spend the country’s riches outrageously and unashamedly. Even in semi-free countries such as Nigeria, most young people are raised in households with clear reminders of lack and limited resources. And in supposedly free and great countries such as USA, Russia and China, you will find without wasting much time on your search, people who are starving and poor because they cannot afford basic resources every human being deserves to have.
Our world is a world of limited resources. These resources are limited in all sorts of ways. It is important for us to understand how these limited resources can attend to all our unlimited needs. For example, Saudi Arabia is one of the key countries blessed with oil as a national resource. Although there are some areas in the USA where one can find oil, the country does not have enough oil to fuel its energy needs so they partner with countries such as Saudi Arabia so that they can exchange and trade what they have for what they do not have. The same thing is the case on an intellectual level. This is why there are experts in different fields so when we need answers that are outside of our scope of understanding, we seek out professionals in these other fields for answers.
This is also true of wealth and poverty. There are people, as I have expressly explained above, who can do little to nothing to change their terrible situation and there will be people, people like you and I with the ability, the opportunities and the conducive atmosphere to make better our current situations if we wish to see it change. Our determination to change our current situation will not only make a difference in our lives. Our determination has the ability to make a difference in the lives of those people who can do little to nothing to change their poor situations in war torn and politically unstable regions.
But before we start dreaming about transforming the lives of others, it is important to know how we can overcome poverty for ourselves. The steps are not limited to three but for better understanding, they have been simplified into three steps.
1. Love information; spurn ignorance:
The first thing you need to know about poverty is that it comes with a mentality. This mentality supports and encourages limitation in all the ways you can succeed. There are endless scientific studies that prove that a person’s thought pattern influences his health and general well-being. When you engage in negative thinking, in thoughts that tell you that you don’t deserve to be wealthy or that the only way you can be wealthy is to be despicable, you are indirectly embracing ignorance – a disease that must be treated at all cost with information.
The first information here is – no one else deserves to succeed the right way as much as you do. The second information which is crucial to curing the ignorance disease that only brings poverty is to start creating and thinking outside of the box. Statistics can help us see better: Billions of people are poor; a few million are rich. Billions of people think and are caged in the box; a few million think and create outside of the box. Billions of people live from paycheck to paycheck; only 1 out of a 100 people in the world are financially free.
The third information here is that to create something new, something unique, something outside of the cage where billions of people are fighting themselves to make a headway, you need to learn and unlearn. There are so many valuable resources and people who can serve as mentors who can help you see the limitless options you have if you are truly determined to rise above your current level. Information is power. Get information!
2. Make friends with people thinking outside of the box:
There is a role you and your mentors have to play when it comes to overcoming poverty. But the greatest role will be played by your friends and peers. In your journey towards becoming financially free, there will be tough times. Times when you will feel it is easier for you to just give up. Your mentors may be too busy to notice that you are about to fall off track but your friends will always be around you and anything they say can make or mar your progress. Make friends at your financial freedom dream level. Make friends with those who are as determined as you are to rise above poverty. Their iron will sharpen your iron and in no time, you and your friends will realise that you are rising together.
3. Stay grounded:
In order for your wealth to last, you need stability or at least a system you can follow. This system involves your understanding of the fact that being wealthy is not just about being financially free. In addition to financial freedom, taking care of your body by eating nourishing food, getting quality sleep and enough exercise is very important. Also, a wealthy person is one who understands that love is the greatest life saver. Having great relationships with quality friends, your spouse and kids will keep you healthy, happy and rich in ways you cannot quantify.
One of the lessons people learn the hard way on their path to financial freedom is how to stop spending what they don’t have. When you go from nothing to having a little something, be reasonable and stay grounded. Avoid spending too much until you are free financially. Truth is, becoming financially free might take a while. This is why you need to stay grounded and have a system to track and process what you earn and what you save.
There are some things in life you should NEVER settle for. Poverty is one of them.
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This article was first published on 27th October 2015