Poverty is a mindset

Ben Carson took a lot of heat for his recent statement that “poverty is a mindset” from many people. In many ways he’s right. He’s talking about ambition, discipline, and accountability and a lot of losers don’t want to hear that. The only people who are angry about that comment are people who are reminded of their own failure and mediocrity and don’t want to be held accountable for their own success.

In the book Think and Grow Rich  they take an example of a sales department in a company. They had high producing territories and low producing territories each with different salesmen so the author questions is it the territory or the individual.

They switch all the salesmen. They send the successful ones to the low performing territories and vice versa. Within 3-6 months of being in charge of the high performing territories the previously unsuccessful salesmen lost deals, didn’t do well, and slipped back into mediocrity. The high performing territories were no longer so. In that same time frame the previously successful salesmen had transformed the bad territories into high performing ones.

It wasn’t the territory. It was the individual.

When I was in the reserves a soldier in my platoon won a malpractice suit because a hospital had mistreated his kid. This guy was always poor, wore dirty clothes and uniforms, was known to need rides and money, so when I found out he got a hefty 6 figures in a settlement I was happy for him. He could finally pay off any debt, get a decent car, and he would be able to take care of his wife and kid for years and maybe even invest or get a house.

WRONG. He bought an expensive car, expensive clothes, expensive watches, bought a bunch of expensive shit for his mom, went out to dinners and parties, and totally squandered the money in months. Before long his car got repossessed, he had to sell back all his expensive clothes and jewelry for way less than he bought them for just so he could pay rent, and he was once again destitute.

If a successful businessman goes bankrupt and loses almost everything I would bet you that before long he’ll be back on top. He’ll find a way.

If you give a poor loser a winning lottery ticket for tens of millions it’ll be a couple short years before they’re poor again. They have a poverty mindset despite having millions of dollars.

It’s also why in America you have the black community with generations of low income, low education, and poverty stricken families who blame society for their lives. Then you have African immigrants (Nigerians notably) who come to the country with nothing and are performing academically and financially with success on par with east Asians like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigrants.

Many black people blame their dark skin on their lack of advancement, lack of opportunities, and lack of success. Nigerians are just as black as American blacks but they perform far better academically and financially even when they come to the country with little to no money. Why is this? Mindset. They are here on a mission. They have a different culture. They have different values.

They have a different mindset.