A rich view of poverty

Poverty is like a coin: it has two sides. One is the state of being among the poorest of the poor. The other is the state of being inferior or insufficient. But, poverty is also unlike a coin: it is worthless.
A coin has some self-worth. In fact, coins in some countries are worthier than notes in others. We can stretch that argument by flaunting the point of order that poverty in some countries is either less worthless or much worthier than in others. Yes, poverty is relative.
You can be rich but poor. You can be poor but rich. You can have education but no money, and vice versa. You can have money but no integrity, and vice versa.
Which really is better, which really can we say is rich? To have money but no integrity? Or, to have integrity but no shishi, as we say in Nigeria? That is, which would you rather you had: poverty of fame, money, power or poverty of character, mind, name?
You should not answer that in haste. You ought first to consider every side of the matter. We live in a world where, and a time when, money is everything. It is either you have it or you don’t, no middle class.
We live in a world where, and a time when, nobody cares how you made money. Steal it, even if you can’t. Grab the power first; after all, the weak would only wind up in court whining. And, even the poorest of the poor shall join you against one of their own!
That is one shame of poverty you can do nothing about. The poor always support the rich against the poor. All that the rich need to do is dangle a little carrot and the poor will begin to scramble or fight against themselves. The other ridiculous reality is that everybody treats the poor poorly, disrespectfully: like beggars, like filth, like rags.
It never matters if they were made poor by the oppressor or system. On the other hand, everybody treats the rich richly, sweetheartly: like honey, like ice cream, like spoiled brats. It never matters whether they stole what they have or acquired it illegally. So, be careful the way you blab about how you prefer a good name to money.
Today, that is the way of history. Today, no seat is reserved, even in the holiest of worship places, for a poor good name. They never get even a sitting ovation. Today, a front row seat is not only marked and reserved for a known commonwealth or power thief, when they swagger in very late as they almost always do, we (all of us) ensure a cacophonous standing ovation for them.
You see, even now, at least one person who belongs among the poorest of the poor is offended that this writer wrote this. The person has gone on to forward it to someone who took advantage of them to achieve what they call success. This is the biggest problem of poverty. The poor are an atomistic society, always at an intra-war.
Change your mindset, dear the poor. The rich shall never and can never make you rich. Also, those in the same boat as you are not the reason you are poor. The poor did not make the poor poor; they can only keep the poor poor.
How to not sustain poverty is by helping the poor. The poor should rally round themselves, even before extraneous help comes. They should exchange ideas and help and desist from envying or blocking themselves. There is nothing for the poor to kill the poor for!
If you are poor or from a poor family, you can break both the chain and the jinx. With a little self awareness and consciousness, with sufficient education and push, with quality training and wisdom, anyone can become anything, anytime, anywhere. Pay attention to and deliberately work on developing the talent(s) you have. Nobody is poor who discovered and deployed their talent(s), who seized opportunities that arose and who kept their appetite lower than their earnings!
And, you are only poor when you accept, internalise and prefer your fate. If you lack money or sundry stuff but are working seriously to change your story, you are not poor. You are just going through process. Very soon, your story shall change.
If you have nothing but you are on a journey, you are not necessarily poor. You may hit a jackpot by the time you negotiate the bend. If you are not rich in the eyes of the world but can afford your needs, you are not poor. Poverty is only your reality when you accept and enjoy the condition and do nothing about it.
You are not like that, are you? You don’t have money but you don’t go hungry nor go around shouting that you are hungry, do you? You cannot call yourself poor, can you? Your needs are not above you, are they?
See, poverty is not about having nothing just as wealth is not necessarily about having everything. Poverty is also not about inability to meet your every need the same way wealth is not about the ability to meet all needs. Many so-called rich people too cannot meet most, let alone all, of their needs and expectations. So, not meeting needs or expectations cannot be the definition of poverty.
Rather, poverty is when you allow having nothing or not being able to meet needs to affect or show on you. The man who is not married although of age but doesn’t portray ad hoc anxiety is not marriage-poor. The wife who has no child but shows not troubled is not barren, in that sense. If you don’t have something but you don’t communicate that you are worried about not having it, you cannot be said to lack that particular thing.
Most so-called wealthy people are not even rich, not to talk of wealthy. Their liabilities are weightier than their assets. They owe too much such that even if we sold them and their wife and children and everything they own, they still won’t be able to pay up their debts. Imagine whom you envy!
Alas: whatever you do though, don’t be poor. Work hard, nurse ambitions, pursue goals and never lose yourself. Plus, in everything and every time, be content and thankful. Never overreach yourself or your class.
And, listen, never allow the frustrations of poverty let you remonstrate with the rich. Never allow your circumstances and situations weaken you so much so that you allow the strong and powerful use your family or you as slave or cannon fodder. Never allow people identify your Achilles heel; you know, the spot of your life bedevilled by poverty. What brand experts call packaging is actually the gift of papering over poverty or weakness in such a way it appears like wealth or strength.
Furthermore, never feign poverty for immediate gains. There is nothing you did to you for you to hate yourself that much, or is there? Never take the curse of poverty upon your family or self by misappropriating things meant exclusively for the poor and the poorest of the poor. When government sends food or hospitals or medicine or schools to the poor but you divert or corner them: you simply, stupidly, invite the scourge of poverty into your family or life.
Most ex-rich families (who are now very poor) travelled this lonely road. They had thought that by eating plus the portion of the poor, they would become mega. Instead, their ladder went kaput in the process and they all came tumbling down to the abyss. Be warned: this is one fall you never recover from.
When you remain content or rich in spirit. When you work hard, in a smart way or know the road. When you keep your appetite low and are in no haste to have or become what you reasonably can’t. That is when you gradually join the class whose brake light poverty never sees.
As we round off: please remember that poverty originates and essentially grows in the mind. Poverty is only mind games. You can be so rich physically but so poor, mentally and vice versa. Enrich your mindset, and watch how poverty flees.
God bless Nigeria!

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