Home      Intro      Education Series      Advanced Topics      Blog      Giving Back     Services

Overcoming Poverty Consciousness

Poverty is defined by Webster's dictionary as "the state of one who lacks an usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions".  By this definition, there will always be some poverty because unless everyone has an equal share, someone will have a less than the "usual" or "socially" acceptable amount.  Note, a key word in the definition is "socially".  I point this out because poverty is becoming more of a social stigma which can not be cured by welfare programs alone.  Poverty is a state of mind, one of not being as worthy as others.  Poverty does not only affect those that are broke, it can also affect people who appear to be rich.  For example, there are millionaires who still do not feel that they have enough or as much as they should have.  This is poverty consciousness. 

Poverty is passed on from generation to generation not through genes but can be passed by parents subconsciously teaching their children that there is not a way out of poverty.   Parents would not consciously teach their children to live in poverty.  However, learning by example is a way most children learn.   And, unless parents are consciously teaching their children ways to escape being poor by seeking opportunities through taking responsibility, getting an education and increase self-esteem, their children may be picking up the sign that this is all that is for them in life.  By the parents falling victim to the mind set that this is all there is, they pass this on to their children as well.  So poverty has less to do with what type of education one receives in school but rather what type of education is received at home about life.

To overcome poverty, the focus needs to be on one's state of mind.  It is teaching the mind a new thought pattern to overcome poverty consciousness.  The key elements are:

  • Differentiate broke & poverty conscious

    Broke is a financial term which means that you have no money.  As a society, we can try to financially define poverty.  However, poverty is just a financial term that should not define who you are.  If poverty takes on the meaning of being less than others, than this starts an endless cycle of poverty consciousness is passed on from generation to generation.  If a person feels less than others then he will not feel deserving.  If he does not feel deserving, his life is based on desperation and wanting, rather than from joy and abundance.  If one feels abundant, he will have abundance.  If one feels desperate and wanting, he will expand the poverty in his life. 

    One can be broke and feel prosperous.  There are a few homeless people who want to live the life that they do because they have everything that they need (food and shelter) without the worry of working for material possessions.  Many of us would shun the life of the homeless due to the implications of poverty.  Yet, it is our own state of mind that influences what we see and feel rather than how others see us whether it is as a millionaire or as homeless. 

    After hurricane Katrina hit Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, there were comments how third world countries had better refugee centers than America could provide its own citizens.  However, before Katrina there was studies done to investigate the feasibility of setting up tent refugee centers in the United States after a disaster.  The findings were that it would not work because Americans would not tolerate living in tents.  So instead of setting up quick tent communities to provide food and shelter to the evacuees, emergency agencies had to find, staff and open thousands of shelters to house all the evacuees which was a slow and daunting task.  And, even though people found shelter eventually, there were still complaints about how evacuees had to live in places once used as jails but which were void of bars and prisoners, even when the jail provided for their health, food and shelter.  This is poverty consciousness.  Poverty consciousness is about choosing to look at a glass as half empty rather than half full.

  • Know that you are the creator of your circumstances.

    Energy is the source of creation.  When you are the creator of your circumstances, you are putting energy into our life.  If the world creates your circumstances, then you are living life on a run away roller coaster with no energy of your own.  Nothing is formed without energy, whether it is the energy of a storm that creates the rain or the energy you use that creates what you dream about.

    Money is generated based on what we give the world whether it is via our labor (time), our creativity (intellect) or our investment (money).  Money is a symbol of what we have sown on earth.  Money flows to those who use their energy to make things happen.  Many millionaires got to where they are from a lot of hard work and creativity.  

    It takes energy to get a good education that will pay off later.  And, the investment in your future can be in a form other than just getting a high school or college education.  A friend of mine who went into the military after school now works for a computer software company.  He did it by investing time learning how to develop websites and starting his own business with a friend.  Having this ambition showed his current employer how well qualified he was even without a college education and he got the job.

    How can you tell if life is controlling your circumstances, instead of controlling your own life?  Some of the signs are:

      1. Blaming others - if you have control then no one else is to blame
      2. Regretting the past -  the past is history and is only for learning and focusing on regret from the past only takes us away from changing the present
      3. Living in apathy - not caring about an outcome is different from apathy which is caring about an outcome but giving up doing anything about it
      4. Getting angry - being angry is believing that someone else can hurt you, yet if you are in control then no one can hurt you because you are able to protect yourself
  • Practice gratitude
  • To switch your view from pessimistic (poverty) to optimistic (abundance) acknowledge daily what you are grateful for.  In today's world, one usually looks at what he does not have instead of what he actually has.  Many prosperity speakers emphasize that what one focuses on will expands.  Your mind is a creative force in the universe.  If your focus is on what you do not want, then what you do not want is what is created. 

    Take a moment and see what you have and want in your life right now.  Be cautious of focusing exclusively on goals.  Having goals without the gratitude for where you are in life, will lead you to a life of desperation.  Because once you achieve a goal, you will be on to the next goal without enjoying (being grateful) for what you have already achieved.  You will always have desires (goals), yet if you do not smell the roses on the way it is like a hamster on a wheel chasing after different carrots.  In the case of money, it is trying to become prosperous when you already are.  And, if you feel prosperous, that is what will expand.

  • Be persistent

    Many will give their 110% for only a little bit of time and then say "See, it does not work!"  Persistence is about maintaining the energy.  Remember energy is measured by intensity and duration.  It does not do any good to have a short burst of energy when you want a long term change.

    To help you with persistence find role models and mentors.  The old adage is "seeing is believing".  Yet, it should be "believing is seeing".  One of the greatest hindrances that we have towards reaching our goals is having a belief that it can happen.  Having role models and mentors will help you get to believing that you can reach your goals (especially if the goals are ones that they have attained) in order to see your results.  Mentors will help you over the obstacles in order to help you stay on your path.

Topic Menu

The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only.  We make no guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or applicability of any material presented on this website.  This website is not a substitute for individual financial or counseling advice.  You should seek the advice of a professional regarding your particular situation.  My Financial Awareness is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial decisions.

Copyright © 2008 by My Financial Awareness, L.L.C.
E-mail questions and comments to pete @ myfinancialawareness.com