Dictionaries define wealth as “Accumulation of assets (especially those that generate income) over a long period of time.”
Wealth is and can be created and it is only during the last 250 years or so that we found how to do this on a grand scale. Before the first Industrial Revolution, poverty had been mostly accepted as inevitable as economies produced little while populations grew almost as fast making wealth scarce. Wealth, we now understand is created by production and enterprise. Instead of trying to take wealth away from rich people and redistribute it, we should be seeking to implement the conditions in which as many people as possible can join in the wealth-creating process for themselves. Poor nations will not become wealthier because rich nations give them some of their riches. They will climb out of poverty the same way rich nations did by producing and selling goods and services and by creating wealth in the process. There is only one way to create and maintain wealth as an individual, and it is simply this: Spend less than you earn and invest the difference.
If we will survive on earth financially, we will have to face how we generate and handle money. “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced” – James Baldwin. It will be wrong to think that the God who gives us the power to make wealth will not be interested in how we spend it. Recent surveys show that half of all divorces are a result of financial pressures at home. Most people fail to realize that in life, it is not how much money you make, that matters, it is how much money you keep. It is not even how much you earn but what you make with what you earn
Some foundational truths of wealth creation we need to know are that:
- “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard” – Tim Notke.
- “There is no substitute for hard work” – Thomas A. Edison.
- “Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds” – Gordon B. Hinckley
The Four Limitations And Setbacks To Wealth Creation.
Avoid Shrugging Personal Responsibility.
The acceptance of personal responsibility is what separates the adult from the child. There is nothing that you cannot do after you accept that “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Stop the blame game, stop the finger pointing and accept personal responsibility for your life. Let us never forget that God’s Sovereignty does not destroy men’s responsibility.
It is important the youth are taught how to start and build successful businesses through strategies guided by the principle of Sowing and Reaping. This law of Sowing and Reaping is divine in origin. According to it, you are expected to do your part in produce what you want to consume, invest in what you want to earn, and sow what you want to reap. More than any other single factor, you are where you are today because of the choices you have made. Albert Schweizer said, “Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment and learn again to exercise his will – his responsibility”. Let us remember that if you are born poor it is not your fault but it will be your fault if you die poor.
Most people grow up believing that if something goes wrong in their lives, then someone else is responsible, someone else is to blame. You decide, you are in charge, you cannot blame your financial problems or situation on others. You are in the driver’s seat. The sense of responsibility is the mark of a highly developed personality. You face your own issue. As Helen Keller said, “ When you turn toward the sunshine, the shadows fall behind you.”
Avoid Poverty Mentality.
The second limitation has to do with the mind, “ As he thinks in his heart so is he”. There is no poverty greater than the poverty of the mind and it is the greatest obstacle to wealth creation. Poverty Mentality is a mindset about money that develops over time- It is a “poor me” attitude that stems from a deep-seated belief that there is never enough. It is a way of thinking that is said to perpetuate poverty because the focus is on what one does not have rather than what one does have. This expresses itself in phrases as “I cannot,” or “It is impossible,” or “I will never have enough money for that,.” These phrases may turn out to be self-fulfilling prophecies. It is amazing how the average person does not expect to succeed. In life the way you see the problem is the problem. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. You will become what you think. In fact, you are what you think.
Take notice of the fact that it is our habitual attitude that shapes our lives. Your life can and will change as you change your thoughts and change what you dwell on. Change is the end result of all true learning. I cannot change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything – George Bernard Shaw.
We are told never to cross the bridge until we come to it, but this world is owned by men and women who have crossed bridges in their imagination far ahead of the crowd. “Everything you are now,” says Earl Nightingale “is the sum total of all you have thought.” Anything you are going to be in the next 5 years will be the result of how you think between now and then. Henry Ford said, “whether you think you can or think you cannot you are right.”
Never say ‘I cannot afford it,” instead say, “how can I afford it?” One is a statement, the other is a question. I cannot afford it – your brain stops working –it shuts down like a computer. By asking the question, How can I afford it, your brain is stimulated and put to work. Never say “I am poor,” instead say “ I am broke.” Being broke is temporary, but being poor is permanent. Please do not prophecy doom – what you say matters. Use your words to direct your future. Create a new image about yourself by speaking victory and good things about yourself. Do not prophecy doom – you may get what you say.
We must abandon the limited supply mindset and put on the abundance mindset. The abundance mindset believes that there is enough for everyone. Everyone can be successful without anyone being a failure or victim. The Law of abundance creates a win-win situation. People are rewarded justly for their services because; there is enough reward for every person.
Avoid Dependency syndrome
It is an attitude and belief that one cannot solve his/her problems without outside help. It is a weakness that is made worse by charity.
An example of dependency syndrome: – is, if an outside agency, be it central government, an international NGO, or a mission comes to a community and construct a human settlement facility ( eg water supply), it is natural for the community members to see it as belonging to the outside agency. When that outside agency goes or runs out of funds, the community members will have no motivation to repair and maintain the facility or sustain the service. In order for the facility to be maintained and sustained, the community members must have a sense of responsibility for the facility. The sense of responsibility is sometimes described as “ownership” by the community.
Avoid learned helplessness
One of the biggest challenges in life is knowing how to interpret “failures. ” How we deal with life’s “defeats” and what we determine is the cause, will shape our destinies and how we deal with adversity and challenges will shape our lives more than almost anything else.
Sometimes we get so many references of failure that we begin to assemble those into the belief that nothing we do can make things better. Some people even begin to feel that things are pointless, that they are helpless or worthless or that no matter how they try they will lose anyway. These are a set of beliefs that must never be indulged in if we ever want to succeed and achieve in our lives. These beliefs strip us of our personal power and destroy our ability to act. In psychology, there is a name for this destructive mindset – it is called Learned Helplessness. It makes people perceive their efforts as futile and people in this condition develop the terminal discouragement of learned helplessness. Learned Helplessness then is a psychological condition that causes a person to feel completely powerless to change his/her circumstances for the better – the act of giving up trying as a result of consistent failure to be rewarded in life.
Prof Martin Seligman ( known for Positive Psychology) of the University of Pennsylvania has done intensive research on what creates Learned helplessness. In his book Learned Optimism (1990) he reports on three specific patterns of belief that cause us to feel helpless and virtually destroy every aspect of our lives. He calls these three categories: Permanence, Pervasiveness, and Personalization.
PERMANENCE: No problem is permanent. No matter what happens in your life you have got to be able to believe “this too shall pass,” if you keep persisting, you will find a way. PERVASIVENESS: Optimistic people compartmentalize helplessness whereas pessimistic people assume that failure in one area of life means failure in life as a whole. Pretty soon, they generalize that things are out of control and feel completely helpless. PERSONALIZATION: Optimists blame bad events on causes outside of themselves, whereas pessimists blame themselves for events that occur. Some see problems being personal. The problem is within. It is they who are the problem.
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone once said, “when one door closes another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. You cannot become successful in life if you do not have faith in God and yourself. Young people have to realize that failures and disappointments in life are inevitable. It is the failure that teaches us much more than the success and successful people know this lesson well.
About the Author
Kofi Anane-Fenin. Ph.D
Dr. Kofi Anane-Fenin teaches physics at the undergraduate level; Atmospheric and Soil physics at postgraduate levels at the University of Cape Coast. Ghana. He is happily married. He is a proud father and one who adores his grandchildren.