If you have legitimate opportunities to not be poor but choose to remain poor, whether consciously or unconsciously, I think you are being selfish. Imagine the number of lives you could save, the number of jobs you could create, the mouths you could feed, the families you could put smiles on their faces. You become an asset to people around you and to society.
There are poor people who can’t help themselves. They are disadvantaged and downtrodden by virtue of their physical or mental health or conflict ridden communities. These are not the people I’m talking about. I’m talking about you who have your sanity intact; you are physically healthy and are not in chains. You live in a time of abundance and limitless opportunities like never before. There are three important reasons why people who are not supposed to be poor remain poor. That’s what I want to share with you in today’s video. Before we get to it, be sure to subscribe to After School Africa for more insightful videos like this.
Consuming too much Junk
“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.” You’ve heard this over and over before now. It’s nothing new. So I’m not here to tell you something new but to remind you of something you’ve heard before and probably forgotten.
Imagine two people; one eats too much junk food, and the other eats healthy. Who do you think is more likely to be physically healthy? It’s an obvious answer. What we see, read, and watch feeds our minds. Our mind is like fertile soil. It cannot remain empty. Something must grow on it. If you sow junk on it, it will produce junk. If you sow good seed, you will reap a bountiful harvest. And if you do nothing, weed takes over. Earl Nightingale puts it this way, “you become what you think about most of the time”.
You are not supposed to be poor if you are exposed to the vast array of infinite knowledge available today. You are not supposed to be poor if you are really educated. But unfortunately, people who are not supposed to be poor expose and feed their minds with a lot of junk. You’ll find that people who are fond of consuming junk information are often mentally lazy. They barely start anything. And when they do, barely finish what they start.
You see, you cannot give what you don’t have. You cannot dedicate your life to football fanaticism, celebrity worship and gossip, TV and movie series and expect to have a fantastic life. It doesn’t work like that. You see, life comes with opportunity cost. When you say yes to one thing, you are, at the same time, saying no to many other things. When you have 24 hours a day like everyone else, there is a limit to what you can do within 24 hours. And if you consider that some activities, like sleep, are not negotiable, you’re down to about 17 hours. The difference between financially rich and financially poor people is with how they spend their time. and how you spend your time is a function of your mindset. Again, you are not supposed to remain poor if you live in a time like this, have access to enormous information, and can read and write. You are not supposed to remain poor. Start controlling what you feed your mind.
Sleeping too much or too little
Heather Schofield, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania and a group of researchers set out to study if there is a correlation between poor sleep and poverty in India. They designed experiments to test whether better quality sleep can improve factors that influence poverty.
The study found that people who have poor sleep are less productive, prefer instant gratification over delayed gratification, and are more risk-averse. These are all essential qualities you need to perform and succeed in the world. Other studies prove that a regular six or fewer hours of sleep per night reduces cognitive performance. Also, findings from The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show that the effects of lack of sleep could have a great impact on one’s ability to perform well at work, manage personal finances such as saving and planning and making sound decisions.
On the other hand, in a world where so many people are struggling to get enough sleep, sleeping too much might seem like a luxury to aspire to. But you can actually sleep your way into poverty. Sleeping too much is linked with many of the same health risks as sleeping too little, including heart disease, metabolic problems such as diabetes and obesity, and cognitive issues including difficulty with memory.
Sleep is a form of energy for the body and mind and a time for the body to recover from exertion. Sleeping too much causes both physical and mental laziness. It reinforces lack of purpose; not having something to make you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you are a young person and love to oversleep, you may be preparing yourself for a life of underachievement.
Most of us, throughout our adult lifetimes, need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, routinely. You might be a person who needs 6 hours. But it is unlikely most of us can function at our best on consistent 5 hours of nightly sleep or less. This is similarly true at the other end of the range. Some people need 9 hours of sleep a night. But if you’re regularly sleeping more than 9 hours, and still feeling tired and fatigued, that’s an indication you’re oversleeping—and it’s time to take a look at what might be causing it.
Working too hard or too little
There is an unending resentment from the poor towards the rich. In societies that appear to be pro-rich and anti-poor, this resentment appears justified. The rich just seems to be the oppressors of the poor. So it’s justifiable for the poor to resent the rich. Among other reasons, this resentment is fueled by the belief that the poor work too hard with nothing to show for it, while the rich do too little work with too much wealth to show for it. There may be a time and place for this argument but things aren’t always black and white.
You see, what you get from working hard with your two hands, and two legs are probably what you deserve. You see, after the slave trade and feudal systems were abolished, the world’s inequality was cemented with the creation of banks. Instead of each person working with their own little resources in their private space, a smart group of people decided to have everyone bring their money together so that people who are supposedly better at managing money can take a larger chunk of it and build something bigger, and faster for the society. Without this, we wouldn’t have societies as developed as we have them today.
So instead of just working with limited human resources, a few people realized they could now access funds to do ambitious things. So they took loans from this pooled money to build factories, industries, and infrastructures. They created jobs and got rich. They did not rely on their singular hard work; they relied on their ability to manage the capital, human and material resources. Has this system been entirely fair and perfect? Most likely not. In fact, there is a lot of greed and corruption in the system. But at least, we can take from it, lessons on the power of synergy.
If you dedicate your life to only working hard with your two hands and two legs, at most you will have an average life; at worse you’ll remain poor. The point is learning how to access and manage resources. If you need capital for your business, you can borrow from friends and relatives, and start small. If you are employed, focus on developing your mental capacity and abilities. Get better at managing people and learn to put your money to work.
In summary, watch what you let into your mind. Develop healthy sleeping habits and find something that will make you want to get out of bed in the morning. Work smart. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!