What is Poverty?

When I woke up today, looking at my keyboard, the letters P-O-V-E-R-T-Y just glared at me, so I guess I should talk about poverty for some reason.  Now I can’t really say I’ve experienced extreme poverty personally, but I have seen those who have and I may have some supposed solutions.  Poverty is entirely a state of mind.  Always thinking you won’t have enough, always wondering where your next meal will come from, and not really knowing what the future will hold for you.  I know this can be very frustrating, but poverty-promoting thinking will do nothing to get you out of the current state that you are in.  I know this mindset is especially hard to break, even moreso in the families that experience generational poverty.  But it’s the constant thinking about your impoverished situation that perpetuates the cycle and there is a way to stop it, but it takes quite a bit of conscious effort.  Let me share a personal story about state of mind:

I was seventeen and had just gone through the most intensive brain surgery known to man.  I was going through radiation treatments, which caused me to lose all my hair and I had a gigantic window-shaped scar on the back of my head.  I was in excruciating pain every day and I could barely even function.  I remember that there was a period after the radiation and after my initial “feeling good” period, I sunk back down into a state of pain and depression.  I was constatly hurting, my eyes were so pressurized, I considered not going to school every day.  It was around that time that I learned to alter my state of mind in order to create a better life for myself.  The first thing I did to do this was to remove most of my negative thoughts.  I wish I could have removed all of them, but some of them kept coming back.  Every time I had a negative thought, I changed it into thinking in a positive way.  Then I started imagining my circumstances as getting better, moving in a positive direction.  I did not deny that I was in pain, as denial is something that will help nothing, but I imagined that every day I wake up feeling that much better.  I started this and after the first two weeks, I was feeling slightly better.  Then I kept going, as persistance is very important in situations like this.  Eventually, I started visualizing detailed visions of myself feeling great, jumping around with unbridled enthusiasm.  And by Christmas (about two monts after I started this), I was feeling almost perfect.  I continued to use this tactic for much of my life since, but it is very hard to gain conscious control of your thoughts.  It takes practice and it’s easy to stop once you got the result you want, but it is good to try and focus your energy on positive circumstances.

Poverty is not just a lack of money.  It can be a lack of information, a lack of health, a lack of understanding, a lack of anything.  And to really be effective at breaking this scarcity mindset, you must envision your perfect scene and imagine that every day, your situation is moving closer and closer towards your goal.  Look at things in a positive light, not a negative one.  Begin with the end in mind, but don’t forget to do the first thing first.  Plant your seed of abundance.  Surely, if you align yourself with what you want, you will soon enough get it.

Here’s one problem I’ve been having with this whole mindset.  If I want something, I have to make sure that I really want it.  I can’t just think I want it, because it won’t manifest that way it should.  For example, I tried thinking about getting millions and millions of dollars, but I really couldn’t see any merit in doing that because I don’t believe it is what I really need.  Sure, it would be nice to not have to work, but I don’t need 100 million dollars to accomplish that feat.  So I brought my money goal down a bit because I just need enough to live comfortably and be able to express myself full-time.

I hear that money makes you more of who you already are.  And I agree with that statement.  Money allows you to do things that you were previously too timid to do because of the fear of not having enough money.  Same thing with knowledge.  Sometimes people are timid to get into a conversation because of lack of knowledge about the topic.  So they just don’t do anything.  In the past nine months, I have accumulated such a wealth of information about various subjects that it is probablly exponentially more than I learned in college.  Now, I’m not saying college is bad, it is just very limited.  There is always more learning out there.  Albert Einstein had a great quote:  “I never let my education interfere with my learning.”  So if you do experience a lack of knowledge, please start learning today.

We can all work on these things.  Don’t use the excuse, “I don’t have enough time.”  That’s a total cop-out.  You don’t have time to improve your life, but you have time to watch Survivor and Lost (no link necessary).  We all have time.  What do you think technology has doen for us?  It’s made certain tasks either on autopilot or faster to do, so I really can’t understand how we now are looking for meaningless ways to fill our lives, when we could be using that additional time learning more and getting into a better situation.  It’s time for me to take a nature walk :-).

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One Response to What is Poverty?

  1. Dura says:

    This is a great, life affirming page. Positive thinking is not the same as “magical thinking.” The latter is hooky-pooky but the former works!

    Good for you for choosing to be rich in all the important ways.

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