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How Poverty Prepares Better Than Riches

Poor choose the best they can make under difficulty

By I. R. PathakPublished 2 months ago 5 min read

We blame poverty. We hate poverty. We hide poverty. We tell lies to hide poverty. No one can expect any good in the abhorrent poverty so, one never looks into it with a fair perspective.

Poverty is a virtue that we can never find in riches.

I don’t mean that one is to be in poverty to experience its virtue.

I mean: those in poverty should not feel wretched. They need to explore what they can learn from it. Then, they can use their learning to escape poverty.

I intend to bring out the virtue that lies in poverty.

The pressure of poverty and the sympathy of the rich hide the positive side of poverty.

It is not the poverty that makes one miserable but its attributes. The most infectious attribute is cursing one’s destiny. It is accepting poverty as its unchangeable decree. This idea infests the mind with desperation and negativity. It leaves no room to see its powerful impact on life.

What I discuss will hopefully become one of the pragmatic ways to come out of the miserable poverty.

The greatest hurdle to facing poverty boldly is to declare ourselves a victim. We feel helpless and weak in poverty to transform our lives into pleasure and prosperity.

I am here to find out why poverty is usually ill-fated. It has something that makes it greater than riches.

If something ‘good and noble’ has some bad aspects too, why not something ‘bad and cursed’ has some good aspects?

The logic is simple, but usually, we apply it rarely.

Here are some great and notable names. They learned from poverty, practised its virtue, and groomed their personalities.

Oprah Winfrey’s grandmother reared her while she was a helpless child in a rural Mississippi town. She became a media magnate, talk show host, and philanthropist.

Howard Schultz was the first person in his family to attend college. Schultz grew up in poor housing in Brooklyn, New York. After that, Starbucks appointed him as CEO.

J. K. Rowling was a struggling single mother living on welfare in the UK when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. The series became a global phenomenon. It made Rowling one of the world's richest authors.

Jeff Bezos: The founder of Amazon, Bezos grew up in a home with just one father after being born to a teenage mother. In 1994, he founded Amazon in his garage, and today, he is worth more than $100 billion.

Wasima Shaikh is a Deputy Collector in Maharashtra (India). She is a Public Administrative officer. She comes from a poor and illiterate village in Maharashtra. Her social environment hindered and inspired her achievement.

Jay Kumar Vaidya is also from Maharastra, India. Currently, he is a ground systems engineer for flight missions at Goddard, NASA. Jay Kumar grew up in deep poverty with a broken family. He had to work hard and teach students for money to put himself through college.

Raphael Obonyo: Member on the boards of international bodies at UNO. Raphael Obonyo is from Kenya. He grew up in Korogocho. It's the third-largest slum in Nairobi, the capital. People there live in grinding poverty.

These are a few loud and clear examples which tell us about the positive side of poverty.

It provokes thought. It challenges conventional logic. But, based on my experiences and observations, I am sure that some traits of poverty are blessings in disguise. They can rarely develop in wealth.

Theories of poverty typically fall into two broad categories. In one, poor people’s actions reflect the best choices they can make under difficulty. On the other, poverty comes from a distinct “culture of poverty” with strange ideals.

According to the first view, people are very logical. They have well-reasoned opinions and can succeed without help.

1. Poverty Makes People Highly Rational

They don’t have time to experiment. Every day, they fight for their livelihood. Speculations are for those who are not hungry and homeless. They choose their task rationally, which never fails to deliver a desired outcome.

2. It Makes People Strong

Poverty makes people emotionally strong. They do their routine work themselves. They don’t have servants to do for them. So, they become physically strong as well. They don’t cry in misery. They develop the ability to smile amid adversity and challenges.

3. It Makes People Only Believe What They Know

People in poverty are more practical than rich people. They hardly believe in dreams. Facing the harsh realities of life, they get emotionally mature sooner than others.

4. It Makes People Independent Goal-Achievers

They have no resources and no support from people. They do not have such friends who can help them achieve their goals. They have to finish their journey to the goal all alone. Working alone, they develop the utmost self-confidence and dedication.

5. It Teaches Three ‘3Ps’ —

— Perseverance

Every day, poor people struggle for the basic needs of life, and they have to get them for their survival. They do not have many choices. They cannot compromise midway, but they persevere till they fulfil their needs. They become perseverant in their working lives.

— Patience

Wealthy people don't wait for the outcome. They want success. They keep on trying one after another, restlessly, to get things done in no time. They achieve success by wasting many resources. They could achieve the same with just a few resources if they used them wisely and were a little more patient.

— Prioritization

Choosing the best option requires keen observation and comparative analysis. If the resources are meagre, one needs to be very careful when making a choice. People in poverty often have to make such decisions. As a result, they hone their ability to rank better than others.

I Acknowledge, Anticipate and Inspire

It would be a big mistake for me not to acknowledge the real challenges of poverty. The sight is of worn-out clothes, dilapidated homes, and empty stomachs. It is a stark reminder of the struggles faced.

The sound of rumbling bellies and desperate pleas for help fills the air. It amplifies the urgency of the situation. The smell of decay and desperation lingers. It is a constant reminder of the difficult times.

No one should have to endure such hardships and struggle to meet their basic needs. We must address the built-in inequalities. They keep poverty going. We must do this to make a freer and fairer society.

Why not learn valuable lessons and gain strength even in the face of adversity?

Poverty has the power to mould us in deep ways. It can make us greatly grateful for life's simple joys.

This is not about idealizing poverty. It's about acknowledging that even in the bleakest times, there is a glimmer of light. This is the wisdom of the human race.

Originally published with another title on Medium

self help

About the Creator

I. R. Pathak

Educationist by career, writer-poet by passion, thinker by nature, humorous by habit. Love to share thoughts and experience.

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    I. R. PathakWritten by I. R. Pathak

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