The Poverty Paradigm
This month 10 years ago in 1997, the government of Zimbabwe gave veterans of the liberation war, once off sums of ZW$50 000 each (to give you some perspective a recent graduate earned $3500 per month in 1998). Therefore $50 000 was a tidy sum, back then in any currency. My nephews Boaz and John also got this amount. We all celebrated it, because we felt it was recognition long over due. But alas, if only we knew we would lose both of them within a few years after that, we would have turned away this money. They went wild, changing women, deserted their families and went on a drinking binge. In short they completely lost it. Their story is one of the many. Some went and bought cabbages for their cattle while others bought wrist watches for their dogs. A few hired metered cabs (taxis) on journeys that could best be served by buses. Why? Why? Why? They had not developed the mind to handle $50 000. It was better to give them $10, because this was familiar territory for them! This explains why some people whenever they get a lump sum, they spent it until they get to their normal threshold, and then they come back to their senses. If they get $1 million today, and their normal threshold is $200 000, they will blow the $800 000 until the ‘demon’ goes away, then their heart starts beating normally again. It is a mindset. $50 000 could have started a business, or invested in stocks, or even build a house. It was literally thrown away. Poverty is therefore not the absence of resources, but the absence of a resourceful mind. Resources can never be a substitute of what we do not have mentally. You become poor twice, first in your mind, then in reality.
The Wealthy Paradigm
I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big – Donald Trump
Donald Trump is an American billionaire. During 1990 Trump was forced into bankruptcy over USD$2 billion worth of loans that he could no longer afford to pay. He basically lost everything that he had. He was in the negative to an extent the war veteran with $50 000 was richer. However within 2 years Trump had made a rebound. He was a billionaire again. How did he do it? He had a wealth mindset. He was thinking from a different paradigm. Trump never stopped believing that he was rich. He would tell himself and everybody who cared to listen that “I’m the biggest developer in the hottest city in the world.” Noone today will doubt that Trump is big in property in New York City. He had it in his mind, before it was manifested in reality.
You become a billionaire twice – first in your mind then, secondly in the bank. To be wealthy is not reflected in the state of your material resources. It is a state of mind. The presence of lots of material resources does not indicate wealth. How many people got free farms in Zimbabwe? How many have been successful farmers? Why has Zimbabwe gone so hungry, yet land is in the hands of many? The poor are not made rich, by pampering them with resources; they are made rich by changing their minds. Thomas Edison (electric bulb inventor) had only 3 months of formal schooling, yet he is the greatest inventor who ever lived. He was operating from a different paradigm – a position of abundance than deficiency! Think wealthy and become wealthy. Think poor and you remain poor. It sounds simple, but it is indeed that simple. I have always said that it is better to see yourself as a rich man discovering your wealth than a poor man trying to be rich. It makes a big difference.
In the foregoing we have settled the fact that poverty and wealth are all the result of the mind. Why am I sharing this with you? It is because I want you all to be a people of means and substance who can make a difference to their generation. One of the things which the West and the advocates of Afropessimism have done to Africa is to engage Africa at a physical level – resources. Africa has been reduced to a subject about poverty, war, disease, bad governance et.c. They even have a Poverty Conference for Africa. O mon Dieu! Every conference is about the bad. Is it not time that we also have a conference about the good that can come out of Africa? There is need for a new agenda for Africa – changing the mindset of Africa. That is the import of this article. Our minds need to change. Big offices, cars, houses, do not necessarily makes us big people. Making a difference in life can be more serious than that. The reason why time and place cannot affect our success is because the success triggers all come from the mind than our environment. The mind is made up of six elements – EGO, EMOTIONS, IMAGINATION, REASON, CONSCIENCE and MEMORY. In the next article I would like to teach you about how you can control these elements for your success. The mind matters.