3 Reasons Why The Poor Stay Poor And The Rich Get Richer

“Success is becoming someone you have never been, to eventually poverty mentality

achieve something that you have never achieved.”

- Lanre Solarin

For many months, you’ve been looking at this million dollar dream house in a magazine.

Then your dream comes true- you finally get the chance to see your house. When you enter the house for a quick survey, everything looks perfect at first. Then you get the goose pimples.

The house starts to look too big, too fine, too dreamy…

Too good to be true…

You then get scared and uncomfortable and the only thought running through your mind is, “Are you sure this house is meant for you? Do you deserve it? You don’t need it because you’re okay where you are. Your small apartment is just enough for your growing family. If you could manage up till now, you can still manage till you get another house.”

Sound familiar?

This was the same way I felt a few months ago. Only this time, I was about to take a trip.

I was used to a trip squashed in with 15 other passengers in a bus whose parts rattled at every bump on the road. Not to mention the smoking exhaust pipe.

Well, this time, I was in a car with few spaced out passengers, working seat belts and a DVD player for entertainment. All in one commercial vehicle. Wow!

But when I entered, my thoughts only made this statement- GET OUT NOW!

What was wrong with me?

Then it dawned on me….

I was stuck with traces of the Poverty Mentality.

And I bet many of you still are. This was something I thought I had gotten rid of. Well, I guess I hadn’t.


You want to do more, you want to be somebody….

You want to have more…

But for some reason, you can’t. This mentality comes like a thief in the night and attacks you using your closest ally- your thoughts. It creates the thin line between poverty and wealth and unless you know how to cross this line, you could remain on the losing side. So, how do you cross this line? First, you need to know just how this mentality creates that line.


1.      It Makes You Settle For Less By Scaring You

“Don’t spend too much money. You can’t afford this, you can’t afford that.”

This is the thought that runs through your mind when you’re faced with spending money. Even though what you’re about to purchase has the potential of doubling your initial expenses, this mentality discourages you from doing it. You’re then left with the option of either purchasing nothing or buying something of low quality. This completely goes against the law of abundance.

To have abundance in your life, you first have to give something of value. The universe recycles this value and brings it back to you over and over. If what you’re about to buy is not just for satisfying unnecessary desires but has the ability to be valuable to you, I suggest you go for it.

Take action: Never make outrageous expenses! Also, making that valuable purchase and then living in fear afterwards won’t help you. Keep an open mind and believe that that value will come back to you. This way, you’ll activate the law of abundance in your life.


2.      It Limits Your Actions By Blinding You

“Leave the job to those that can take the risk. You can’t afford to take this risk now because many things could go wrong. Other opportunities will come.”

The moment I decided to start providing my services to international clients, that thought popped into my head. I “saw the future” and was ready to take the necessary steps, but my thoughts wouldn’t let me. Well, the good thing is that I was ready for it and attacked that thought head on- Martial Art style.

How many opportunities have you missed?

Opportunities present themselves so we can gain/learn lessons from them. Those missed opportunities may never present themselves again. The good thing is that there will always be more opportunities.

Take action: You don’t have to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Once you realize that an opportunity is in line with your goals and dreams, go for it! Let nothing stop you!


3.      It Creates A Fake Reality By Lying To You

“Look at yourself. You have a family, a job, a house, food to eat and even a car. Hey! You’re even much better than the mechanic across the road. You’re perfect! What more could you want?”

At that moment, it won’t tell you that your paycheck is not enough to pay off your debts or that your house rent is due in a few days time. It won’t remind you about your expenses on car repairs or the fact that you eat what is available not what you want to eat. It leaves out the actual reality and encourages you with surface features.

Well, you’re not living the surface…you’re living the real thing.

I’m not telling you to get greedy or discontent. I’m totally against that. As long as you don’t feel completely comfortable with your present conditions, then you’re not yet living the reality you desire.

Take action: Always try to see the bigger picture. For every benefit or privilege you think you presently have, sit down and carefully assess each one. If your car is one of your benefits, simply ask yourself, “What are the actual benefits of having this car and in what way(s) is it taking/subtracting from me?” By weighing the pros and cons, you get a clearer picture, not a fuzzy one.


There’s one thing I’ve come to realize about this poverty mindset. The moment you overcome it once, it gets easier to deal with it at subsequent times. Why?

The answer is pretty simple- once you taste victory, you’ll want to have that sweet taste over and over again.

But the mentality never stops coming. And it toys with both parties- the poor and the rich. But remember, the way you deal with it determines the side of the line you stay.

So, did I finally take the trip in the car? Sure! After reaching my destination, I didn’t want to get out :-). It was that bad……or good.


 Your Turn

Has this kind of mentality manifested itself in your life before? How did you deal with it? And how are you dealing with it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. The reason the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is called neo liberlalism. That’s what caused the great depression the world economy is in and it’s deliberate.

    The vast majority of economists in the world were only taught neo liberalism at university and have no idea how to implement say Keynes, Smith’s or Galbraith’s economic principles. And until that changes the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. We have a global market, remember? For banks it’s a “heads I win – tails I’m bailed out” syndrome. So they take huge risks knowing that tax payers will bail them out if they fail.

  2. There is way I deal with the encroaching feeling and thoughts. I call it “good enough”. When it comes to things I buy buying within my means is “good enough”. I am “good enough” to do a project or job. I am “good enough” to have what I have. I am “good enough” to take that risk. I AM “good enough”. It helps me get over all the challenges that that mentality brings on.

    Hum… I may have a blog post here. :-)
    Susan Cooper recently posted..A Bloggers Meet-Up: StoryMy Profile

    • So that means saying “good enough” is your qualifier that allows you do what you want to do, go where you want to go and buy what you want to buy, right? It’s what gives you the self assurance to actually take the actions you take.

      I like it :-)! It’s so simple and you make it look so easy ;-). This is nice Susan and yeah, thanks for your awesome comment.
      Lanre recently posted..3 Reasons Why The Poor Stay Poor And The Rich Get RicherMy Profile

      • Wait a minute, is it that easy? Just auto-suggesting to yourself that you got what it takes to do great things? That you’re good enough? That’s a great mind trick right there I am willing to put into good use. Hey Lanre, excellent post by the way. Keep it up man.
        Fred recently posted..Star gazing, Cats and HedgehogsMy Profile

  3. I like what you said about not taking advantage of every single opportunity. That seems to be the message that I have heard preached elsewhere, and I realize now that it is wiser to select the opportunities, rather than running after every single one. At the end of the day you realize that your time is a valuable resource and you have to choose what opportunities are worth your time and which ones need to be ignored. Thanks for sharing!
    The Relentless Builder recently posted..SONG REVIEW: Kabio’osi (Royalty) – Jid-Vocals, featuring Mqhele (Zimbabwean)My Profile

  4. I struggle with confidence issues and an anxiety disorder, so it is inevitable that I will question myself. Funnily enough, when it comes to money though, I have always been of the opinion that it will come when needed. It always have and I hope it always will. Lucky or positive thought, I’m not sure, but this is one thing I won’t question :)
    Becc recently posted..My very first Girl CrushMy Profile

    • I admire your positive attitude towards money Becc ;-). I had to learn to think that way about money. Sure, it will always come, just keep the attitude and I bet money’ll keep chasing you :-). That’s definitely not luck.

      If you read Susan Cooper’s comment above, she stated that saying, “I’m good enough” helped her get over challenges. Perhaps you could use this tactic on your confidence issues. I struggled with inferiority complex for a long time and even though I think that I’ve overcome it, I still see the ‘scars’.

      Anything is possible. You just have to believe and love yourself more (as you said in your blog post ;-)).
      Lanre recently posted..3 Reasons Why The Poor Stay Poor And The Rich Get RicherMy Profile

  5. I can relate with your statement about mentality and the fake reality it gives you. I like to call it denial or trying to create a facade. But as always reality will eventually look you in the face. That why my motto has always been “face the music”. Do what you have to do, in order to get what you want! Kinda like your own “TAKE ACTION”. Big Ups to you Lanre.
    Tope Olofin recently posted..Generation Y; more ‘Smartphones’ less ‘smart people’My Profile

  6. Very nice post! I think something else that holds people back (I know I’ve allowed it to hold me back) is perfectionism. A lot of people are afraid to take on challenges that they aren’t sure they can succeed at the first time out. I suppose the only way to get through it, like with most fears, is to begin to pick away at it by doing the thing you’re afraid of a little at a time (if possible).

    You also have to weigh the importance of tackling that fear against whether or not it will advance your life in some way. If you’re scared to sky dive, for instance, you can probably live a good life without ever trying it. But, if you’d really like to write a book, you should try it because it’s something that will help you grow even if the experience isn’t easy or successful. Also? Working on a book is highly unlikely to kill you but there’s a small chance that sky diving might!
    Adrienne recently posted..Heal Thyself!My Profile

    • :-) Nice comment Adrienne! I’m guilty of perfectionism too. “If things aren’t going to work out the way I want them to, then I’d rather not start”. But I actually think it’s fear of the unknown that prevents people from taking action.

      I used to be afraid of heights. I ‘kind of’ got rid of it by staying on the last floor in a three storey building for a whole year. You know what, perhaps I’ll try sky diving just to make sure that the fear is totally gone ;-).
      Lanre recently posted..3 Reasons Why The Poor Stay Poor And The Rich Get RicherMy Profile

  7. Hey Lanre,
    Nice post there! Poverty is indeed a terrible disease. No better justification could there be for this assertion than the classification by the World Health Organization in its International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, that poverty is a behavioural disease.
    Just few days ago, I had to enter an essay contest on poverty eradication and I came across a startling fact: that a child dies of poverty every 4 seconds!
    So I quite concur with your submissions.

  8. Lanre you share some very good points here. Everyone can relate to them in some point of their life. But I think the biggest take away is ‘taking action’. My fear many years ago was the fear of success. I didn’t and couldn’t see myself as a successful person pertaining to my business life.

    I thought I had things all figured out, knew the game plans and even the strategies, but it does require taking action, consistently, to get over the fear and to achieve the goals I set out to accomplish.

    Thank you for a wonderful reminder that I will be happy to share with others.
    Lynn Brown recently posted..Top 3 Ways For Effective Endorsement MarketingMy Profile

  9. Hi Lanre–great post!! I especially like your thoughtful “take action” cues after each section. I could relate to the take your opportunities point. In the take action section, you wrote that we don’t have to take every opportunity that comes our way, but just those that line up with our goals. Oh! Thanks for that!! I have a horrible habit of doing things thinking “maybe” it’ll turn into something–or I can help someone even if it doesn’t”, when I am very clear in my mind what my goals are. I am going to take this one and run with it! No more taking on stuff that DOESN’T LINE UP WITH MY GOALS!! That’s a burden lifted.
    I’d like to give you hint about this rich/poor mentality with you. I see a tab on one of your pages that might speak of this: “Hire Me”–consider . . . “Work With Me.” What do you think? :-)
    Bethany Lee recently posted..Live Life In Color: Video Post!My Profile

    • Awesome comment Bethany :-)! I’m really glad that I could be of help. Opportunities are good and I sometimes make the same mistake of trying to take advantage of every one.

      You really rock! Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve changed it from “Hire Me” to “Work With Me”. I’ll see how well this converts.

      By the way, your red hair in your video post is really “colourful” ;-).
      Lanre recently posted..3 Reasons Why The Poor Stay Poor And The Rich Get RicherMy Profile

  10. Most of our fears are based on old beliefs (limiting beliefs) that we never chose to hold on to.
    After spending most of my life responding to my fears, I learned some powerful tools to help overcome and even eliminate them.
    These have been so empowering that I wrote a book to share them with as many people that I can. I also hold workshops on Powerful Thinking on Purpose.

    I agree with you that taking action is key. It’s key to changing your mindset. It’s key to being proactive and being aware of our thoughts.

    Great article. Thank you!
    wendy merron recently posted..A TED Animated Tour of The Invisible including ThoughtsMy Profile

  11. Lanre, great post. In addition to your post, the difference between the rich and the poor is financial intelligence, so one of the reasons why the poor stay poor is lack of financial intelligence. It’s missing from our curriculum, no teacher, no lecturer, no classroom offers it as a course, yet we spend most our lives pursing how to be financially free”.

    Simply put, financial freedom is doing what you want you do (not working for money). Being an employee sometimes makes one comfortable, it often offers one the disadvantage of not thinking about creating multiple streams of income. With a sure salary coming at the end of every month, what’s the use of multiple streams?

    The rich often develop extra sources, particularly passive ones so that later years can be rosy. It’s necessary for us to learn the various vehicles. Many people are lost in the daily routine of going to work early and returning late in the night; totally disconnected from their dreams. Of course, being financially free isn’t a day job, that is why it’s necessary for us “to do all that we have to do in order to do what we want to do” . When we become financially free, we can then live out our dreams…….do all that we want to do (because we don’t have to work for money).

    The day I become financially free, I will be speaking, writing, and lecturing in classrooms for free
    Tosin Aina recently posted..BE A CHAMPIONMy Profile

    • Hey Bishop, nice for you to drop by! You made a really awesome comment- something we can all learn from.

      Yes, financial intelligence is very crucial to wealth acquisition and it’s our mentality that prevents us from seeing the need for passive income. As you said, with a steady salary coming in at the end of the month, why bother about extra income source, right?

      It’s the ingredient that’s lacking in our educational system. We can only learn about it personally and do our best to educate others.

      Thanks for your awesome comment, do stop by again :-).
      Lanre recently posted..Why Thinking Big Is The Worst Way To Achieve Your DreamsMy Profile

  12. Wonderful read bro, i got inspired along the line.

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