There are many articles that discuss the habits of the rich and successful.  This post can be a checklist to see whether you’re on the right track. This is what not to do and the prohibitive behaviours that keep the poor stuck. We discuss what successful people don’t do and talk about the habits of the high achieving people point by point, in contrast.

Poverty is a chosen lifestyle- everyone can do something.

We aren’t talking so much about the homeless type that quietly the sit on sidewalk and beg for change, this is about the class between them and the middle class. I live in a well-off city with what appears to be still a high concentration of poor. They are almost everywhere here and are prevalent in the downtown core, as well as pass by my house on foot regularly. Since there are so many, they are easy to observe and understand their behaviours. Additionally, I work closely with many poor and know much about the inside of the welfare system, along with the finances of the users.

poor vs successful people

The poor will stay poor because…

  • Overspending:

  • They waste so much money that they waste money that isn’t even theirs. I had a tenant on the system that received welfare money around the 1st of each month. The same day, he would hire a taxi to take him for cigarettes, then Subway, then Tim Hortons, and the Beer Store for a case of beer. He would do that on the 1st of the month, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc, every day until he ran out of money. He had his month’s worth of money pissed away by about the 10th of each month. On this approximate day, he would use the last few dollars he had to hire a cab and bring his $1000 smart TV and Xbox to the pawnshop to pawn. That same day he would come home by taxi with a full pack of cigarettes, x-large coffee and Subway sub in hand, along with a fresh case of beer. This cycle went on every month he rented from me.
  • Spending money on needless items:

  • If the government ever released welfare user’s bank statements, many would look like this: Beer Store $20, Beer Store $20, Tim Hortons $2.50, Beer Store $20, Subway $9, Tim Hortons $2.50, Dollarama $10, Tim Hortons $2.50, Beer Store $20, and No Frills $30 (grocery store, thumbs up). This is real. Money is wasted on non-essential things like coffee, fast food, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, tattoos, pets, etc.
  • Hard on things:

  • I watch them destroy everything they use. The clothes they buy get ruined because they simply don’t care about having them endure. They disrespect their rental housing in a number of ways such as; smoking indoors, allowing their pet to wreck the unit, leaving behind garbage, and mysterious holes in walls. This class will be the the first to litter and disrespect their surroundings. They can only see short term.

Poor think mostly in the short term

  • Disrespectful and inconsiderate:

  • They will exploit and often defraud government systems- i.e. welfare, mother’s allowance, disability. People from this group will be checking mine and my neighbour’s car’s doors at night to try to steal what’s inside.  I have to actually yell at these types for shortcutting 60′ across my front yard. I’m on a corner and they walk right up alongside my house to shortcut to the perpendicular street without a single consideration. It’s how these people carry on so unapologetically that keeps them where they are.
  • Love drama:

  • Jerry Springer Show, Cops, Honey Booboo, etc. These shows are not watched by successful people. Drama is a waste of mental energy and does nothing positive to relationships and your affect. Drama often has one person losing, falling, failing, getting hurt or similar.

Generally, drama is soul-destroying

  • Always someone else’s fault:

  • “Someone else got me kicked out, welfare or work didn’t pay me on time, I can’t get a job because no one is hiring, I’ve been sick, I’ve been too busy.” The list of excuses goes on, but all of it could have been avoided. It’s their life story.
  • Major complainers:

  • The poor complain the loudest. Besides, it’s someone else’s fault anyway. They do nothing to improve their situation because they’re too consumed with complaining and blaming. According to them, they got a bad deal.
  • Wasted time:

  • Poor aren’t looking for a job, not out jogging, not taking classes, they are hanging out at the library… however, not inside reading. So much time with little-to-no obligations, yet nothing actually accomplished.
  • Reject success:

  • Most of what they say and do exudes poverty. I listen to them talk and it’s in their language and topics of conversation. I’ve tried mentoring several of them and everything I say goes in one ear and out the other. It’s understood but nothing is implemented.  Success isn’t even in their realm of thinking. Take for example some of my dear friends from impoverished countries that I’ve visited. In Philippines, making $1200 per month would be considered an excellent wage. When we talk about trying to reach that, they are swift to dismiss it as if it’s impossible. They simply have no idea how they would ever achieve that.

People become successful people because…

poor vs successful people

  • Accept the great possibilities:

  • History has taught us time and time again that so much possible. “Rags to riches” is not an expression for nothing! Just break down the goal into bite sized pieces and approach it backwards: to earn $1200, one has find $300 per week or $60 per day (presuming a 5 day week). Start asking yourself questions such as, “what can I sell that would bring $60/day to me? Or, what job would pay me $6-$7/hour? Or, what job could I get that yields me $3/hour, as well as a side hustle that profits $35/day? Being creative works.
  • Make productive use of their time:

  • Whether it is reading, learning, attending classes, joining groups, working, side jobs, building quality relationships, exercising, join sports teams.
  • Don’t complain:

  • Complaints simply make you feel bad. A complaint can be made, but it should be followed by a solution, and better yet, an action. Complaints really only give you more of what you’re squawking about. Does “what you resist, persists,” or “what you think about, you bring about,” ring any bells?
  • Personal accountability:

  • Successful people take ownership of their life, outcomes, mistakes and successes. They don’t do much blaming. Most things that happen to you are your fault. Get over it. The remainder of things could be summed up to providence (for argument’s sake). If you look at your life and its events, you can trace back each event to its element and it probably came down to something you did, said or thought. On the other side, celebrate successes! They’re your fault too!

Accountability is likability

  • Reject drama:

  • Not only can successful people control their emotions, they will not invest in others’ drama and emotional peaks and valleys. While a street brawl may break out and people are all crowding around to check it out, the successful are above it and understand there is no value in engaging. Nor do they feel that draw to the drama that is all to common these days. See: social media.
  • Care about themselves and their environment:

  • The successful pay their bills and honour agreements they make. They keep their word! You can observe a successful type organizing neighbourhood cleanups, dressing appropriately, keeping quiet in public places that are meant to be quiet. Japan is a great example of a place where they care about their surroundings and fellow people. They are extremely apologetic and go out of their way to not inconvenience one another.
  • Take care of things they use:

  • Successful individuals buy items that are meant to last and they treat them as such. Their cars, clothes, houses and gadgets all last a long time because they take care of those things. For me, I have 12 year old Nike socks, for example, that are still in regular rotation because I took care of them, along with much of the rest of my clothes, jackets and shoes. Successful people are skilled at seeing long term. They can see long and short term for investments, relationships, environment, and personal possessions.

Respect your possessions and they will respect you

  • Practical money spenders:

  • Successful people understand the value of buying quality. It’s more money up front, but lasts far longer and ends up costing less in the long term than cheap junk that breaks too soon. Furthermore, they will spend money on investments- a healthy balance of assets and, yes, some liabilities. I know affluent people who solely buy items for their life that will give them a return if they ever needed to liquidate- nothing is a total loss. Dinners out, alcohol consumption, Tim Hortons coffees, junk food, etc. are all heavily moderated, if existent at all. It’s about purchasing “needs” rather than “wants.” Having control over impulses is a valuable tool to have.
  • Financially aware:

  • Successful people have budgets figured out. They know what they can afford to spend based on what their income and obligations are. They are logical and practical spenders and know their limits. Debt is perfectly ok to have. In fact, it’s very necessary to the majority of financial projects and goals. The distinction for good debt is when it’s used to ultimately increase your money position in the long term. In other words, the successful make sure that debt earns them money.

Making these discoveries over the years eliminated any sympathy I have for the poor. It’s fine for people who want to go out and “help” the poor, but hey, the poor have been helped all their lives and they’re still in the same position. What does that tell you?

Your actions dictate your future

An efficient summary of this post is to have a balanced care about yourself, others and your environment. Make logical and holistic decisions to be not only responsible, but profitable and money saving.

The Chinese proverb, “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” The poor are the man wanting and receiving the fish. The successful people are eager to do the learning.

*Note: This post is generally speaking about the poor and of course there are exceptions.

Read more: Just Do It! Learn to Beat Fear For Real


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