Rising From Poverty

It is a depressing fact that the majority of people born in poverty do not rise up out of it. I was watching Sharpe today while I had my lunch, (as I’ve said before – I’m a sucker for a hero) and rewound when I caught part of a quote from Sgt Harper. He said,

There’s no sin being born in the dirt, boys, ‘tis a terrible sin to want to stay there.

There are reasons why we might want to stay in our poverty; for a start, people aren’t always kind to the person who has broken free. Families sometimes feel that the person who has escaped looks down on them and it takes a strong person to break free of the family traditions and be able to question the assumptions that they were brought up with.
Walter Hudson on the website pjmedia says,

There is an unwritten rule, “Thou shalt not make the rest of us look bad.” Those who transcend their class always break that rule. If you seek upward mobility, you must be comfortable being persecuted for it.

Walter talks about ‘untethering’ from your class, which seems a good description to me. If we allow ourselves to be pressured by family and friends to stay as we are so that they feel they are okay, then we will struggle to break free. As Walter says

If you think someone is keeping you down, it becomes an excuse to stay there.

He also talks about how his father felt guilt at breaking free from his poor background and often gave money to relatives who were really wasters. You may be resented, but pouring money into them isn’t helping them to break free for themselves.

There is an old Chinese saying,

Being poor when one is young is an experience that not even money can buy.

That made me think about the way that we often perceive being born poor. In order to be able to escape poverty, we need to think about the strengths that it has given us, not dwell on the hardness of it; to look forwards and not backwards. We can only start from where we are. People born in poverty often want to compete with others born in poverty over who had the hardest life, whereas some overcome it and go on to great success.

According to Steve, on the website bripblap.com,

Two out of three billionaires made their fortunes from scratch. Being rich as a kid makes you LESS likely to become a billionaire. That’s an amazing thought.

Those who make a success of life often have a plan. They do not waste time like the rest of us, and find no delight in watching inane television, and they use any skill they have to raise money to help lift them out of poverty.
As Adam Smith, quoted on the brainyquote website, said,

The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.