The gift of poverty

We can often read about how wealth can drives families apart. Fights between siblings over who will own x and y. Spouses becoming venomous over who owns what and who makes x. How grown men commit suicide after losing their accumulated wealth, or how wives will leave their men after a money move didn’t work out as expected. Though, we never really hear about how poverty is a benefit in our lives, or how lacking money allows us to have more time to discover what we are.

Success is not about what we possess, but about accountability to others. Success is about access, and access is about people. It’s about how we can help others and embracing the opportunity to lift them up. And finding a balance means that we need alone time so we can reconfirm our potential for ourselves, so that others can confront where we fall short. Being around others then is about becoming better. Being alone is about revalidating our vision. The mix of the both allow us to strive for our vision ad get better. Just being alone is poverty. Being with others is wealth. Though, poverty has defined some things for me…

Poverty gave me contrast

“He who goes alone goes fast, while he who goes together goes far.”

I decided as a rule of thumb, that if I went through enough difficulty and pain I would eventually learn to see the silver lining. It so happens that, growing through poverty turned out to be helpful to create a mindset of appreciation. Had I been rich, I would have ‘purchased’ my way towards something looking like happiness and I would have had the lifestyle to go with the money, I would most likely have peers who have the same kind of life style and therefore I’d still be in some form of competition towards looking and being a certain way. Poverty, in my sense, cut me off from opportunities. By being isolated, it allowed me to go through my internal conflict much faster and without any external judgement. While going far is important to me, I needed to go fast through all of my internal conflict – in addition to it being something intangible that no one else can really access because it’s in my own head- and being poor allowed me to go through the various iterations of what works and what doesn’t work.

Poverty gave me a new start

Being poor gave me a lot of time (How can I be rich?) to work on myself, to contemplate, to observe… Being poor allowed me to heal. Had I had money, I would have never rested. And, knowing my nature, I tend to want to push and push and I would have worked myself into burnout doing things. Poverty took all my options away and forced me to see what was good in my life, develop gratitude, and appreciate what I did have. Had I just continued with my pursuit for more money, I would most have probably continued seeking for more accumulation rather than more understanding. Being forced to stay in one place allowed me to reevaluate my mindset. I got to read a tone of personal development books, test out ideas, test out business’s…

Poverty made me focus on what is essential

When all your options are stripped away, you’re forced to focus on what is in front of you or imagine what could be possible. Time is your friend, and you have to get creative. When you’re alone, undefined by anyone, you can redefine your internal software, you can define the parameters of your life. So if life isn’t working for you, a period of poverty or isolation can actually do you some good, in that you get to reevaluate the way you go about life, what you’re striving for, and how you’re going to interact with others. When you’re cut off from a social setting or a group, you become distinctly aware of your own bullshit. So, as you have no other option than to be here in the now with your own mindset, it only stands to reason that the pain of poverty pushes us to better ourselves towards being successful.

Poverty helped me to learn decision making

While I dislike looking at prices for most anything I buy, because I don’t like money being a deciding factor for my life decisions or wants. Rather I prefer to make decisions then pay the price because that is what I actually want. Poverty taught me to keep a budget which I find to be helpful as having fewer options forces you to make decisions. I’m not preaching that poverty is great long term, but if you’re poor long enough you learn to find the value.

Poverty helped me to become a better manager of time and ressources

If you only have so much, you essentially have to become a good manager to get by.
Though you also have to make long-term commitments which is a good thing for anyone wanting to work on long projects. If all you can afford is rent, bills, and food then you essentially have long stretches of time to do anything. Some people resort to drugs, or sit around being bored, they blame the state or society and eventually end up in a vicious circle. But poverty doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can be a cocoon for personal evolution. Provided that we do the work and have the ability to see the tools we have at our disposition.

Poverty helped me to address the deeper issues I wasn’t looking at.
Where, if I had money I would have turned out to be an arrogant loud-mouthed idiot. Being forced to remain in my childhood room for health and money reasons, one tends to give up on the luxury of relationships and social niceties and we tend to retreat into a bubble of our own isolation. This can be a good and bad thing depending on our mindset. Where being social helps us up – when we’re ready – being social can also get in the way of deep work.
Being isolated helps our inner conflicts to come up to the surface. Similar to a prison sentence, we’re locked in our conditions with our flawed mindsets or our broken thinking patterns and repressed emotions from childhood and we have no choice but to confront them. Hence why many prison inmates ‘go crazy’ if left in solitary for too long, they’re locked in with their own demons!

Being poor allowed me to be humble and work on myself

I used to be oblivious to other people, in fact, I didn’t care much for others. I just wanted their attention (because I wasn’t able to give attention to myself). Which essentially translated as acting out loud roles every time I was in a group. I wasn’t well adapted. I was living within a shell of thoughts I believed was me. I had become good at people pleasing and knew how to approach women. I was good at talking my way into paper bags and then out. But I had no sense of humility or empathy. So, being forced to accept living with my family I had to address all of the weird contrived ways I’d developped to ‘survive’ in society.
A helpful deconstruction.

Poverty brought our family together

Luckily, I was born poor. We didn’t have money growing up. And even into my first years of working a job, lack of money was ‘always an issue’. Lacking sufficient income and energy led me to go back home and essentially rework my relationship with my mother. And then something peculiar happened. My sister, whom had no means of money was forced to come home. As a small family unit, we were forced to live side by side in my mothers ol’ rickety house.

Living and having to coexist with one another forced us to confront our relationship problems and dynamics. Being up close with those who push your buttons and know how to trigger you is one of the most infuriating experiences in the world, it’s also a great lesson in self-mastery and empathy. Learning to overcome control issues, anger issues, self-reflect on where we go wrong, and evaluate a better course of action to take, figuring out how to support one another and have empathy. All of these things ultimately make us better human beings, but none of us necessarily wanted to go through them because they were painful. So, when money wasn’t flowing our way, we somehow found our way back to each other and forced to re-evaluate our ways of being.

Learning to trust LOVE without bringing money into the equation.

Money can be a deciding factor for many women. The promise of being taken care of, of an easy jump from harsh beginnings to lush luxury environments. It can also be a reason for distrust in those around you. Having no money will rid you of false expectancies involving whether people like you or not. Being poor forces you to work on your character and become amiable and patient. It also teaches you to appreciate peoples inner qualities more than peoples exteriors. With plastic surgery, a few hours at the gym and a few youtube tutorials, it’s fairly easy for women to look like supermodels today, which is an insane amount of power to have especially for looks or lust. So when money is taken out of the equation, it really demands us to step up our game and look at our traits and skills, insecurities and beliefs, because our money can’t do the talking for us. Which is essentially a good thing as we learn to undo our false beliefs about being liked and we attract good people who are meant for us in spite of our financial condition.

Although, a lot of the time poverty does translate as a lack of purpose, lack of clarity, lack of vision, or lack of devotion towards an outcome and can very easily be interpreted as laziness. And even if our potential isn’t necessarily defined in poverty, a lot of people who are poor seem to not have a clue about their direction in life or simply don’t give a toss about striving for anything because their belief system prevents them from feeling they can have money in their lives.

So, when money isn’t in the picture and someone likes you, a lot of the time it’s because they like you. Or don’t believe they can do better (in a world that seems to be dominated by money) because they have self-esteem issues or they may be lazy. Or simply they see something in you and decide to take the risk of believing in you and that’s when we grow wings of possibility and great relationships happen.

Conclusion of my thought process?

I’m not preaching to be poor for a lifetime, but I believe it’s important to revisit what it means to be poor from a healthy mindset and not from a place of fear of lack. Most rich people fear being poor again, and it seems that to them poverty is equal to distrust in the process of life. I think everyone should experience poverty at least once in their lives to bring them down and ground them a bit. Everyone talks about Dream achievement and Success, but no one masters the living part which is an essential part of being poor. When all you can do is live in the moment, you focus on what matters. Sure, you’re not going to become the next best VC in the world, but I’m pretty sure that the world is full of people who have more money than they know what to do with.

Having money is good though. Let’s not delude ourselves with self-righteousness. I won’t delude anyone by trying to sell the concept of poverty as a lifestyle. But I will preach that going through poverty “as a phase” is beneficial if we develop the right mindset – to learn and make the most of the time we have – to deal with our circumstances. Money can buy so many experiences, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking it will solve our inner problems. And our inner problems are what cause all other problems. Today I was listening to a well known millionaire talk about how since he has money “his life is full of drama“, if I add this statement to another episode where he states that he has “a lot of insecurity“, I can personally conclude that money + insecurities = subtle drama and noise.

Money is a great tool to help us achieve what we want to achieve, its also a great magnifying tool for who we are. It accentuates what we already are. In my view-point, as I decided to go through pain and difficulty and get the skeletons out of the way first, before striving to become rich, I believe that its important to do the hard gritty work that isn’t glamorous first. By doing so, I believe we become rich on solid and healthy foundations. Obviously I still have a lot of work to do on myself, but I’m fairly certain that I’ve delt with my difficult nitty gritty stuff that will cause problems later. Now it’s only about iteration towards betterment. Having tasted the downside of duality, all the things I didn’t want, I’m fairly certain that I’m quite clear about what I want and how to get there and in addition I feel secure enough (without a million dollar portfolio or anything to my name) to strive for the things I want. Going through poverty from the view point of a mature adult, is similar to walking through an old neighbourhood after having become a blackbelt in some martial art. The dark places we once feared no longer hold much over us, because we can’t go much lower than where we are (of course, we can strive to go lower but it would be quite hard to come back from afterwards). With a conscious vision, some good old fashion hard work to update and learn new skills, and a positive mindset most anything is possible, and whats more? We no longer fear the clutches of poverty…

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