COLUMN: Agar – Society’s efforts to curb violence and relieve poverty are for naught unless people want to change.

- July 25th, 2012

10 ways not to be poor

By: Jerry Agar

The perpetually poor are not blameless.

Society’s efforts to curb violence and relieve poverty are for naught unless people want to change.

Anyone can find themselves in unplanned and unforeseen unfortunate circumstances.

Most people, eventually, by their own effort and/or with the help of others, overcome adversity.

Some people, however, are perpetually poor.

Why? Because they don’t do the things required of them to move up and out.

With apologies to Stephen R. Covey, here are the seven habits of highly unsuccessful people.

  1. Mismanaging the money they have. Some low-income people find a way to save for the future, but they do so by foregoing $300 Nike shoes.
  2. Believing in the quick fix. The lottery is not the ticket to the future and it would be helpful if the government didn’t advertise it as such.
  3. Believing life itself is a lottery. Life isn’t fair, but the accident of our birth, regardless of circumstances, is no guaranteed predictor of success or failure. Successful people weather the storms, while unsuccessful people see themselves as victims, with no options.
  4. Inability to manage emotions. Unsuccessful people get stuck in feelings of hopelessness, frustration and anger, letting those emotions rule them.
  5. Picking the wrong role model. They let unsuccessful people school them on the ways of life, rather than seeking out people who have overcome the same challenges they face.
  6. Setting low goals. The problem is that once a low goal is achieved, the person feels that is all he or she can do. Setting unrealistic goals is also harmful, but goals should always be a bit higher than what has already been accomplished.
  7. Believing in wishing and hoping. Pop culture self-help programs encourage people to wish hard for success and claim it will simply happen. That is dangerous because it is appealing; something for nothing. It’s like praying for success while forgetting God helps those who help themselves. Everyone has a moral responsibility to provide for themselves as much as possible.

We should approach the issue of poverty from that standpoint.

We are not tough enough in society today with those people accessing the labour of others, through taxpayer-supported social programs.

Here is a three-point program for avoiding poverty.

  1. Stay in school to at least obtain a high school graduation. It is free for the student, so it is not too much to ask. Perhaps we should make it more of a demand.
  2. Don’t have children until you are able to financially care for them. It is not too much to ask. To do otherwise is a form of child abuse. Anyone can fall on hard times, but if properly prepared before having children a person will recover for their own and their children’s benefit.
  3. Stay off illegal drugs and off alcohol if it causes problems in your life, according to other people. (Drunks are bad at self-analysis.) It is not too much to ask.

Poverty is no excuse for crime, but violent crime tends to emanate from impoverished neighborhoods.

We’ve spent billions on a “war on poverty” to negligible effect as there are still huge numbers of poor people.

Perhaps we should demand more from people who stay on public support for decades and for successive generations.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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