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Six years ago I was living out of my 1998 Jetta. When my wife first met me, I had plastic tubs I bought from Walmart in my trunk that played as my dresser. I was a master at couchsurfing and was on the verge of being homeless. I was 100% broke.
I was wild in my younger years. I had zero direction and purpose. I wasted a lot of time avoiding responsibility. During this time, I was also dead broke and barley ever had money. There were times I remember not knowing how I was going to eat the next day. It wasn’t until I was 24 I really decided to cleanup my life and get serious about growing up.
I’m painting this picture of what my life was like for a very specific reason… I know how it is to have no money. I know what being broke feels like. I even know what being poor feels like. To me, being broke and poor are two very different things. Let’s dive in and discuss.
Poor vs Broke
When we label ourselves or people as “poor” and “broke”, you often hear these words interchanged. But there are some significant differences I’d like to address.
Being broke means you don’t have a lot of money, and you’re prone to quickly run out of money when you do have it. Click here to read the actual definition of broke. Being poor is completely different. Yes, it’s true, you can be both broke and ‘poor’ when you view these words in terms of money. It’s critical to start thinking of being ‘poor’ as a mindset. At its core, being poor means living a low and inferior standard quality of life. Read actual definition here. When you take that into consideration, being poor is much more than “not having money”.
Let me give you two scenarios that display both a poor mindset, and someone who’s just “broke” but they’re not poor. Both these stories are true, and I witness more and more stories like this the more I connect with new people in different aspects of life.
Why Poor Is A Mindset
A few months back I was having a conversation with someone close to me. They were bitching about their job. A normal pastime we all like to do. The typical “fuck the man” my job sucks narrative. We’ve all been guilty of this type of talk.
This person was talking about how they wanted a raise but were afraid they would never get a raise at their current job. They had valid points about housing inflation, rising debt and just the overall cost of everyday life. I get it, they want more money, we all want more money.
So I asked, what are you doing to work towards a raise, or to supplement some extra income? Of course, they didn’t have a plan and couldn’t answer my question. They reverted back to the blame game as to why their job sucked. This person's game plan is to HOPE this job actually pays them what they are worth. It will never happen. When you put your faith in a company’s hand that you don’t have ownership in, very rarely does it work to the employees favor. It just doesn’t happen.
At the end of the day, getting a raise for this person was a pipe dream. It wasn't reality and at the pit of their stomach, they knew it. How sad is that? I won’t mention how much of a raise this person wanted, but were were talking less than two dollars an hour. It’s much easier to supplement that income then it is to hope, pray and bitch that your company actually gets smart and gives you a raise.
The moral of this story is rather easy to understand. This person has a poor mindset. Sure, maybe they’re broke and don’t have a lot of money, sure, but this person's overall mindset is completely poor. They believe they can’t make more money. They’d rather sit around and wait for a raise. They don’t know how to go out and get it. Matter of fact, most people with a poor mindset don’t even consider the possibility of trying to make money on their own. They feel it’s an unreal achievement.
Some might say being poor is translated to being lazy. Although I agree with this for many, it’s also not always the case. Actually, many people I know who are poor, are some of the most active and hardest workers I know. The old adage is true - Working harder isn’t always best. It’s better to learn how to work smarter.
Success Starts With Mindset
I’m not going to lie, most “mindset” content is bullshit. This was actually a very hard routine for me to buy in with. It’s 100% true though, mindset sets the stage for how you carry yourself and conduct business. Last week I wrote about sticking with winners, this is along the same lines, you have to have a winning mindset.
How we think obviously impacts how we act. So when I say poor is a mindset, it has almost ZERO to do with money. Success starts with mindset and attitude. Before you start training your brain to re-think, we must deprogram from having a poor and negative mindset first. We have to identify the problem.
What type of mindset do you have? People with a poor mindset are easy to identify. Here are some key traits.
Poor Mindset Traits
People who constantly complain
People who feel sorry for themselves
People who bitch about money and life but choose to do nothing about it
People who feel there isn’t any other option
People who do the bare minimum
People who don’t embrace change
People who are afraid to learn new things
People who DON’T learn
People who don’t stick with winners (hint, hint, last weeks blog!)
One way to start deprogramming from a poor mindset is changing the type of content you digest. We’re influenced by a series of small events, and those events can come in different forms of content. Most of us get our content from friends, Facebook, email and our surrounding environment. Start branching out and reading new content. Start learning something new. Start making yourself feel uncomfortable. You have to do something different if you want different results.
Lastly, we tend to stay in poor mindsets because of the environment we surround ourselves with. Who and what are you influenced by? Does the content and people in your life check the poor mindset boxes I listed above? How do you spend your time at night? Do you spend it reading, effortlessly scrolling through Facebook, watching TV, at the bar with friends? How you spend your time and what you surround yourself by greatly influences your overall mindset. Again, if you’re a person with a poor mindset, go find a new group of WINNERS.
Quick Conclusion - Let’s Connect
People stay poor because they choose to stay poor. That belief is controversial, and I understand why. Of course, this isn’t for everyone, but for most, I truly believe this to be true. I don’t come from money. I come from a blue collar background and remember growing up scared of money. Many people in my life from a young age suffered from a poor mindset. I suffered from it up until a few years ago. I still have to force myself to grow and keep a winning attitude and fresh mindset.
If you read this far I want to thank you. I’m not here to diagnose mindsets. I’m here to share my thoughts, beliefs and experience which has helped me as an entrepreneur.
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