Cropped image of a sad casual man showing empty wallet over white background
Tae Kim

Tae Kim

How You Are Conditioned To Be Poor

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

You want to become rich – to experience the prestige, the freedom and the security that comes with being rich

However, I’m here to give you a reality check.  You might never become rich.

And that is because you and I have ALL been conditioned to be poor.

And unless we are willing to do something about it, we may stay poor forever.

In this article, I am going to talk to you about how you and I have all been conditioned to be poor.

But more importantly, I’m going to share with you how we can break this cycle and recondition ourselves to a path towards financial wealth.

How You Are Conditioned To Be Poor

1 – We Are Conditioned to Believe Wealth Comes From Luck, Born Talent Or Brilliant Ideas

Just google rich and the wealthy.

You are bombarded with images of lottery winners, celebrities and tech billionaires.

If you were to base your assumption of what becoming rich is, just based on these search results, you would come to believe that you either need to get lucky, be born with a specific genes or have a brilliant business idea in order to become rich.

But this is totally false.

Most wealthy people didn’t become rich by winning the lottery or starring in an Academy Award winning film.

And tech billionaires like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musks are more of an anomaly rather than the norm in the business world.

The media is in the business of gaining attention.

You read articles regarding the lavish lifestyles of celebrities or the recent winner of the Mega Millions, because it gains attention.

I doubt many of us would be excited to read articles about a small business owner who frugally managed his way to millions over a decade.

Or the real estate investor, who purchased buy and hold investments over a 20 year time period.

The media is powerful and it has a great ability to shape our perspective of the world.

We just need to be aware that that perspective could be completely wrong.

2 – We Are Conditioned to Chase After The Joneses

Social media is amazing.

I remember when facebook first came out – yes, I know, I’m dating myself.

When I was stationed overseas with the military, I remember posting pictures of some of my overseas experiences online.

It gave me the ability to share my experiences with 100 of my friends simultaneously, instead of sending them photos one by one via email.

I was mesmerized by its multiplying effect.

Fast forward several years into the future. I, along with millions of other individuals were hooked on to this platform.

We couldn’t wait to see what our friends were up to.

What new places were they visiting?

What new car they recently purchased.

What cool new restaurants they were eating at?

And little by little it started to affect my own lifestyle.

I couldn’t just sit by and see my friends buy a new car – I needed to get one as well so I could post a picture online.

It’s a never ending spiral that will keep us poor forever.

We are conditioned to compare our lifestyle with someone else and it will never be enough.

Despite how much money we have or how much things we have, it will never be enough and this will keep us poor.

It is a bottomless pit because someone, somewhere will always have nicer things and a better lifestyle than I.

3 – We Are Conditioned to Think Like Employees, Not Employers

The industrial revolution transformed the world to what we see today.

It industrialized the production and manufacturing of goods, enabling regular folks like you and I, to enjoy luxuries only reserved for royalties back in the days.

However, in order to keep the factories running and the conveyor belts moving, the companies needed workers. A lot of them.

The Western education system was reformed to support this growing need.

It trained people to be good factory and company employees. It provided training for jobs that were so crucial to keeping this system running.

Interestingly, while the world has moved on from the Industrial revolution, our education system hasn’t.

It’s still training people for the industrial revolution like nothing has changed.

And the consequence is that we have millions of people, like you and I, who believe in the wage work model as the primary path to building wealth.

In the wage work model, our outputs are very closely tied to our input. Which means, if we put in 1 hour worth of work, we get 1 hour worth of pay.

We don’t have ownership because we are working for someone else. So we have to resort to renting out our time.

We don’t know any other way, because this is what school has taught us.

However, if our pay is tied to our time, it doesn’t matter if we still get paid a lot per hour like a lawyer or a doctor. It’s really hard to make a lot of money this way – type of money that gives us financial freedom.

Also, when we work for someone else, that person is taking the risk and has accountability and the brand. They will never pay you enough. They will pay the bare minimum they have to in order to get you to do the job.

All these conditioning can make you feel like you can never achieve wealth.

However, there is a way.

We can recondition our minds.

Here are some steps you can take today.

How You Can Stop

1 – Understand Wealth Takes Time

Forget the overnight getting rich schemes or the belief that a single great business idea can make you into the next Elon Musk.

Wealth takes time.

Even if you have all the characteristics required to build wealth – hard work ethics, good business idea, patience. In order to see results, it will take an indeterminate amount of time.

When you think about Warren Buffet, you might automatically think of a multi-billionaire. But what you probably didn’t know was that he accumulated most of his billions much later in life.

Currently, at the age of 90, he has a net worth of more than $81 billion.

A large portion of that, however, was accumulated after his 50th birthday.

And $70 billion came after he qualified for Social Security benefits, in his mid-60s.

Wealth building works like a snowball. Once you start investing in appreciating assets, it will grow exponentially. And it’s not just because of the compounding.

With time you develop the right skillset to effectively manage money – managing risk, diversifying, managing your expenses, etc.

That’s why you hear of lottery winners going broke after a few years because they received that money without having the right skillset to maintain it and grow it.

Have patience when it comes to building wealth.


2 – Build The Knowledge That I Have “Enough”

Kurt Vonnegut, American Author known for novel, Slaughterhouse-Five recounted a conversation he had with Joseph Heller, another famous author who wrote Catch-22.

He was at a party with Joseph Heller given by a billionaire on Shelter Island.

Kurt said to Joseph, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?”

And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”

And Kurt said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”

And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

The desire to have more will always keep us poor.

But if we can come to a place of having ‘enough,’ that in itself will make us wealthy.

As I mentioned earlier regarding Social Media – social media is an amazing tool to keep us all connected.

But it also enslaves us, wanting to constantly keep up with the Joneses.

Even when we have everything we need, we feel poor.

However, if we can just build the knowledge that we have enough – enough to keep a roof over our head, enough to put food on our table and enough to enjoy the simple luxuries that living in the 21st century can provide, we will always be rich.


3 – Think Like An Entrepreneur

Real wealth doesn’t come through trading hours for money.

We can be the most highly paid wage worker there is, but that will not build substantial wealth.

Real wealth is created by starting your own companies or by investing in companies that are creating real value to customers. If you don’t own equity in a business, your odds of making money are slim.

If you look at even doctors or lawyers who get rich (and I mean really rich), it’s because they open a business – a private practice.

Even if you’ve never considered yourself an entrepreneur, try changing your mindset.

Think what value you can add to society that isn’t being provided right now.

Even something small like a side hustle can help to start developing a skill set towards creating a successful business.

In the past, the industrial revolution model of working kept many people from starting their own business, because one person couldn’t necessarily own or build a factory on their own.

However, now, thanks to the internet, the only barrier to putting our value to the world is ourselves.

If you have an idea, take action and see where it takes you.

Share this post!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments