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Your Better Self with Akanna: 5 Things That May Keep You Poor

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Akanna OkekePassing Over Opportunities Repeatedly (POOR), is a clever acronym that I once heard for the word ‘poor’.  There’s some truth to it. In fact, there’s a lot of truth to it!  If you think about it; the reason poor people would remain poor is because they continuously pass over many opportunities to become rich(er).

Now, of course, many of them do not recognize these opportunities when they see them, simply because they lack access to the information that helps you recognize opportunities. So we call them “the less-fortunate” because the only reason we seem more fortunate than them is because we’re more informed and prepared to both recognize and seize such opportunities when they arise.  ‘Luck’ is simply when opportunity meets preparedness.

Things that keep you poor, or stop you from expanding your wealth, are usually in your ‘blind spot’; you don’t see them. If you did, you would do away with them. I should say, you see them, but you don’t recognize them and therefore you don’t recognize the opportunities that come by to help you do away with them.

Well, this article is here to help!  Not only is it going to point out those things that will keep you poor, it is also going to open up your eyes to what to do to change them.  We’ll start with 5 of them, and hopefully start a conversation that would lead to more.

Poverty begins in the mind.  The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.  If you have a scarcity mindset, you’re most likely going to remain in lack.  If you have an abundance mindset, then you’re going to expand and increase your wealth.

The difference between the rich and the poor is how they think.  A scarcity-minded person would, for example, keep buying sachets of milk every morning for their tea and pap in order to “save money”.  The abundance-minded person on the other hand would buy a family-sized tin of milk for the month.  The tin is more expensive than one sachet, but one sachet everyday will end up costing much more than a tin of milk.

So, poor people lose much more money than rich people do because of the way they think. The rich will keep getting richer and the poor poorer, until they change the way they think.

Think abundance –spend money on the front end to make it back on the back end. Think growth –don’t make a long-term decision based on a short-term disability. Change the way you think!

Your environment actually teaches you how to think. Your mindset, be it a growth-mindset or a fixed one; an abundance-mindset or a scarcity one, is shaped by your environment. We have to be choosy about where we live, the kind of books we read/movies we watch, and the kind of people we hang around.

It’s been said so many times that I don’t even know to whom credit is due for this saying: “You are the average of the five closest people you hang around”.  So how much do your friends earn? Total that and divide by the number of friends, and your net worth is somewhere around that number.  Isn’t that amazing?

We also should seize opportunities to live in better neighborhoods and better countries when they arise, except of course you’ve been planted to be a blessing at where you live, in which case you should bloom where you’re planted by protecting and renewing your mind so as to think differently from the masses.

Your physical and mental environment cap you.  Make sure you’re upwardly mobile in those areas.

Carelessness with money and other possessions has been bankrupting people since we cannot even remember.  When you have many leaks in your purse, you’ll stay as poor as you are; even if you increase your income,  because they’ll just flow out as easily through the leaks, only in larger amounts this time.

Many people don’t keep track of their income and expenses.  You don’t know exactly how much comes in and how much goes out.  I have been religiously doing this exercise for two years now and I tell you it shows me (sometimes to my embarrassment) where I’m throwing money away.  This way, I know my leaks and I can plug them.

If you want to increase your income, the first step would be to plug your leaks.  Figure out where you’re losing money unnecessarily and stop it! But you can’t do this if you don’t even budget and track your spending habits.  It’s like using a boat with some holes to sail across the stream, without plugging the holes first.

When you plug the leaks first, you can then increase your income and it will stay afloat, increasing instead of always taking you back to square one.

Being Tight-Fisted
Being careful and plugging all your leaks doesn’t mean you should become stingy and stop letting money flow out from you, it only means that you’re now strategic with your spending and giving.  Spending sensibly like buying a large-size tin of milk for the month rather than small sachets every day, and giving where it makes sense –where the returns are sure.

You cannot receive anything with a tightly closed fist.  You have to open your hands –you have to give.  What does giving look like?  It looks like taking care of your family first then going out a step further to your neighbors next, then to your community and further out of these circles as far as your budgeted resources would allow.  It is these people who see you give and feel the effect of your giving that will give back to you in return sometime in the future.  There’s also the instant, intrinsic reward – the sense of accomplishment – that comes from witnessing first-hand, the effect of your help in the lives of those around you.

When you help others get what they want, they will eventually help you get what you need“.  Someone said that too!

Remaining a Single Male
True (but hard to find) stats show that the poorest people in the US are single males.  That’s right, single males of all races. We tend to focus on race so much in these stats that we miss this one.  Single males are generally more prone to crime and other misdemeanors that hamper their income potential and render them miscreants in society, than their female counterparts.

This misbehaviour drastically reduces when they are paired with a close female companion.  The divergent energy suddenly seems to become more balanced and channeled toward more productive affairs.

Of course there are a few single males that are very well-off, and they are the exception.  They are just so much talked about that we tend to think it’s the rule.  What we must realize is that these guys don’t have that one key problem that the miscreant single males have.

To borrow the words of The Guardian, when looking at this same problem in the UK;

 “The issue here surely is not singleness but loneliness, an insidious and, by its nature, a hidden disease of modern society. It has many causes beyond poverty: shyness or trauma or modern community development – crushed neighbourhoods, demolished streets, more towers and digitised social contacts. Many things make it harder for us to help people who, for whatever reason, need the companionship of friends and neighbours. Single is not bad. It merely has a higher risk of loneliness. Tackle the loneliness.

So the point (for both genders) is to not be lonely. Have a friend, or friends. The more you have, the greater your income potential.  They can hire your services, refer you to people, collaborate with you to create something, introduce you to opportunities you may never have seen otherwise.  Most important of all, they make you feel good and healthy and that feeling has the power to improve your general productivity and thus your income potential.

However, while dealing with them, continue to choose your association wisely because that will create in you a mindset that would either make you a careless money-wasting broke person or a strategically generous wealthy individual who never passes over opportunities repeatedly.