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Who has a poor person mentality? The quitters, nay-sayers, and whiners! They’re the Negative Nancys and Debbie Downers of the world.
They’re the type of people who stopped learning as soon as their diploma hit their hands, or gave up before even trying.
I’m not poor anymore, I’m just broke.
Poor is a mindset that forces people to believe that they will never have money. Broke is a fleeting financial situation that means money will come one day, it's just not here today.
That’s why I say I’m broke.
We always talk about the winning mindset, staying positive, practicing tenacity, and pulling through. But what about the opposite?
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To acquire the right mindset you need to know how the wrong mindset thinks so you can avoid it.
4 Characteristics Of A Poor Person's Mindset
Here are four detrimental habits of the poor mindset.
Do everything you can to avoid them, otherwise, you’ll lose sight of all the possibilities for growth and success.
People with a poor person mentality are the type who live paycheck to paycheck.
Buying the latest iPhone isn’t a valid reason, especially when you have a fully-functional phone, debt under your belt, and other more pressing matters.
The poor person mentality is all about spending money. They must have the latest car, the shiniest watch, and the “coolest” sneakers. Obviously, none of these are needs.
No one was ever on their death bed regretfully recounting “I should have bought those Yeezy’s when I was 27. What did I do with my life?!”
In contrast, those who are focused on building and accumulating wealth don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money. They don’t mind shopping at department stores, driving used vehicles, and hunting deals.
Their main goal is acquiring wealth, not appearing wealthy.
So if your friend shows up to your house in a glimmering new BMW and says “I had to ball out! Y’nah mean?” there’s a good chance your friend has the poor person mentality.
Now, if your friend calls you and says “Hey! You need to check out this stock; I’ve done hours of research and it looks like an amazing opportunity. We can retire together!”
Your friend is probably a money nerd, but not a hyper-consumer.
2. Bringing Zero Value
“You can ask around and see if anyone has a project they need some help with,” I suggested.
“No. I don’t care about other people. I’m just doing this for me to get my promotion,” replied the poor man.
This was an actual exchange I had with someone. They were so consumed with getting to the next level, the next title, and the next pay raise.
This person couldn’t realize that money is a byproduct of helping others solve problems—it’s true whether you’re in the corporate world or running your own business.
Those afflicted with the poor people's mindset will always seek gains for themselves. They don’t take a moment to take on someone else’s perspective.
They rarely add value! Oh, and when they don’t get what they “deserve” they will complain so much about their woes that you’ll be nauseous.
Perhaps you’re more of an altruistic person and want to help someone figure out how to add value.
To do this you can help the person discover their strengths. When we leverage our strengths we are able to help more people, and in turn, create more value.
3. Avoiding Responsibility
“I didn’t do it! He did!”
“Nuh-uh! You did it. Liar!”
This is the theme song for everyone with the Poor Person’s Mindset. As the childish argument implies, people with this poor mindset are reluctant to take ownership of their mistakes.
They are quick to blame others and get away from any consequences that may come.
These folks fail to realize that a lot of spectacular learning and development occurs when you take ownership of your decisions and actions—no matter how bad the outcome.
The inability to take responsibility for your own actions makes it less likely for others to see you as a leader.
Moreover, if you’re the type to always blame someone else few people will want to be around you.
Change this poor mindset—accept your mistakes, learn, and move forward.
If not, you’ll end up like the rejected kid on the playground who’s always messing things up, telling on other kids, and sitting alone at lunch because no one likes a lying tattletale.
4. Never/Always Belief System
Poor people ascribe to the never/always belief system. This belief system molds people into thinking in terms of the extremes.
Perhaps your friend Gregory loves leading meetings, but he’s rarely chosen to lead them. Consequently, Gregory says, “I never get to lead the meetings.”
This kind of thinking is detrimental to one’s self-worth because the subsequent thoughts may be along the lines of
“They don’t choose me to lead meetings because they hate me” or “I’m not chosen because I’m a worthless team member.”
The opposite is true too. Saying that you “Always have the worst luck” contorts your mind into looking for all the terrible moments throughout the day. It forces you to ignore all the blindingly fortunate things that happen.
Both modes of thinking trigger helplessness. Once you start thinking that the situation cannot be modified, you stop thinking of solutions. You simply give up.
The best way to deal with this is to be more moderate in the way you view things. Instead of thinking in “never” and “always” think in terms of “sometimes” or “occasionally.”
If you’re looking to be an overachiever, and I hope you are, work towards understanding the cause-effect relationship of things that happen in your life.
For instance, if it feels like you’re always late ask yourself why. When the reasons become apparent the never/always belief system shrivels up.
3 Characteristics Of A Rich Person's Mindset
Now that we know the pitfalls of a poor mentality, it's time to start focusing on adopting the right frame of mind to leave that poor life behind.
If being poor is a mindset, then being rich must be one, too, right?
While it's not quite that simple, a positive mindset can do a lot more than just reaffirming what you're wanting out of life.
We all know how negative thinking can get you down and make it harder to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
But thinking like a rich person can flip the script and keep you focused on what's important, not what you're fearful of or what could go wrong.
To get you started, here are some habits of rich people that you'd never find in a poor person's mindset.
Have A Vision
Unlike the poor mentality that is more reactive and focused on what others are doing, rich people tend to have a vision.
They know what their goals are and are always actively working towards achieving them.
They may not make tons of progress each day, but every day they're focused on the bigger picture and they typically can't be swayed by trends or others while they work towards success.
So if you're someone that spends much of the day at the moment without thinking of the future and how you're going to get where you want to be, you may be stuck in a poor mentality.
Unfortunately, the same mechanisms that allow us to do just about anything and reach just about anyone are also the same things that can be huge time-wasters in life.
Watching Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok all day, or gossiping with friends on social media, are terrible uses of your time if you actually want to get things done.
That's why the poor spend a lot of time watching others and spending time on entertainment while the rich are putting their time to use by interacting with the right people and always working towards their goals.
It's the poor mentality that keeps you consuming the creativity and work of others while you let your own goals fall by the wayside.
To a rich person, the most important asset they have is time. To a poor person, it's all about their stuff and what kinds of entertainment to consume.
Hold Yourself Accountable
While a poor mentality says that you can have that cake after working out, rich people understand that success is cumulative.
If you take one step back each time you take a step forward, you'll never go anywhere.
Rich people know that every action or inaction has consequences, and they would never try to achieve their goals on one hand while sabotaging them on the other.
After all, the only one that can keep you accountable is yourself, and if you're not looking for small, incremental wins each day without falling into the temptation for backsliding, you're stuck in a poor man's mentality.
Rich people will do whatever it takes to live out their dreams, which is why, even once they've attained success, they won't let up and stop.
Being rich is a mindset, and the best part is that once you've trained your mind to be rich, it's only a matter of time before you'll start accomplishing more and turning those small wins into something sustainable that you build on for life.
Avoiding A Poor Mindset – Final Thoughts
It’s incredibly easy to buy whatever you want, be selfish, blame others, and think the world is against you.
It requires no effort at all—that’s why so many fall into the trap of the poor person mentality.
The right mindset, the wealthiest mindset, is one that focuses on adding value to the lives of others. You have to have a vision and ambition to take action.