The rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer. Right?
You’ve heard that a thousand times. It’s not fair, is it? Some people just can’t get a break.
Well, that may be true, but it’s not that simple.
So why are some people rich and others poor? Why do some poor become rich, while some families stay poor for generations?
The Means to Make it Work
Here’s the cold, hard truth: money rarely solves money problems. Why? Because money isn’t the problem. Money is almost never the problem.
I understand that people are in poverty for plenty of reasons. The last thing I want to do is make broad generalizations.
That being said, people who stay in poverty often stay there for one main reason, and it’s just not their means. Sure, they may not have the means to pay off all their debt. They may not have the means to invest monthly…but their means are not the problem.
What happens to most lottery winners? What happens to many professional athletes after they retire?
They go broke…or close to it. Sports Illustrated reported a study that showed:
- 60% of NBA players are broke within 5 years of leaving the game
- 78% of NFL players go broke eventually after leaving the game
Why? There have been numerous studies to figure out why, but here is the gist of what those studies reveal:
- In all of the training camps, weight lifting sessions and strategy videos, the players are taught all about the game, and taught nothing about how to handle the money they earn from the game.
- Professional athletes feel like they have to live up to a certain high standard. Once they leave the game and stop earning the money, that same lifestyle cannot continue to go on.
Going back to the lottery winners who go broke…what happens there? It’s simple:
No matter how much money you win, inherit or earn, if you don’t change your mindset and properly handle the money, the money will leave you. It could be months, years or even decades, but eventually the money will run out, if you don’t change your mindset.
The Mindset to Make it Work
But what about the broken homes, the heartaches and the emergencies that arise and either keep people in poverty or send them into poverty? All of that happens, and it can’t be ignored…however…there is an important lesson here:
Any time you use your situation as an excuse, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. It may be the greatest excuse in the world, and it may be legitimate, but it’s only hurting you.
Excuses don’t change your life, they keep you living the same life you were living. They just make you feel like it’s OK to live that way.
The majority of the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the world are self-made. Many of them came from poverty stricken homes and became billionaires. How does this happen? Mindset.
The first change must be in your mindset. Even after a severely difficult financial disaster, you must make sure your mindset is where it needs to be. Countless people come back from the worst disasters to completely rebuild their life and often become millionaires (or better). This would be a great place to insert a motivational quote like “if they can do it, you can do it too!”, but I won’t do that to you…oh wait, I guess I already did…
What Does it Mean to Change Your Mindset?
It’s easy to tell someone to change their mindset. Change your mindset and you can change your life, right? I think so, but that doesn’t explain how to change your mindset, or what to change it to.
I’m going to get really practical here. Here is exactly what I mean when I say “change your mindset”:
- Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop negative self-talk and negative talk in general. It helps no one. It only helps you feel sorry for yourself. Don’t like your situation? Change it. But stop being negative.
- Stop using your situation as a crutch. I get it. Something very bad happened to you. That’s called life. Life happened to you. Bad things happen to everyone, all the time. The important thing is what we do with those things. It’s commonly said “are you letting your situation make you bitter or better?” There is only one letter difference, but which one you choose can change everything. Don’t focus on the “I”, focus on becoming better.
- Stop thinking you can’t do something that others can do. If someone else did it, you can do it. Stop limiting yourself to the life your living now. You are capable of earning more, living a better life and helping more people. But first, you have to actually believe that.
If you catch yourself thinking about why you can’t do something, instead of how you can do something, you’re falling into the trap.