|Poverty: A Mental Disability
Excerpts by O. S. Marden, from "Peace, Power and Plenty"
The worst thing about poverty is the poverty thought. Holding the poverty thought keeps us in poverty-stricken and poverty-producing conditions.
Poverty is an abnormal condition. The Creator never intended that man should be a pauper, a drudge, or a slave.
No man can do his best work-bring out the best thing in him-while he feels want tugging at his heels; while he is hampered, restricted, forever at the mercy of pinching circumstances.
The very poor, those struggling to keep the wolf at bay, cannot be independent. They cannot order their lives. Often they cannot afford to express their opinions, or to have individual views. They cannot always afford to live in decent locations or in healthful houses.
It is difficult for the average human being to be a real man or a real woman in extreme poverty. When worried, embarrassed, entangled with debts, forced to make a dime perform the work of a dollar, it is almost impossible to preserve that dignity and self-respect which enable a man to hold up his head and look the world squarely in the face.
There is no disgrace in unpreventable poverty. We respect and honor people who are poor because of ill-health or misfortune which they cannot prevent. The disgrace is in not doing our level best to better our condition.
What we denounce is preventable poverty, that which is due to vicious living, slovenly, slipshod, system less work, to idling and dawdling, or to laziness; that poverty which is due to the lack of effort, to wrong thinking, or to any preventable cause.
Every man should be ashamed of poverty which he can prevent, not only because it is a reflection upon his ability, and will make others think less of him, but also because it will make him think less of himself.
The trouble with many of poverty's victims today is that they have no confidence that they can get away from poverty. When a man loses confidence, every other success gradually leaves him, and life becomes a grind. He loses ambition and energy, is not so careful about his personal appearance, is not so painstaking, does not use the same system and order his work, grows slack and slovenly and slipshod in every way, and becomes less and less capable of conquering poverty.
Poverty itself is not so bad as the poverty thought. It is the conviction that we are poor and must remain so that is fatal.
You walk in the direction in which you face. If you persist in facing toward poverty, you cannot expect to reach abundance.
If we can conquer inward poverty, we can soon conquer poverty of outward things, for, when we change the mental attitude, the physical changes correspond.
The Creator has bidden every good man to look up, not down, has made him to climb, not to grovel. There is no providence which keeps a man in poverty or in painful or distressing circumstances.
A young man of remarkable ability, who has an established position in the business world, recently told me that for a long time he had been very poor, and remained so until he made up his mind that he was not intended to be poor, that poverty was really a mental disease of which he intended to rid himself. He formed a habit of daily affirming abundance and plenty, of asserting his faith in himself and in his ability to become a man of means and importance in the world. He persistently drove the poverty thought out of his mind. He would have nothing to do with it.
He would not allow himself to think of possible failure. He turned his face toward the success goal, turned his back forever on poverty and failure, and he tells me that the result of his positive attitude and persistent affirmation has been marvelous.
He says that he used to pinch himself in every possible way in order to save in little ways. He would eat the cheapest kind of food, and as sparingly as possible. Under the new impulse he completely changed his habits, resolved that he would go to good restaurants, that he would get a comfortable room in a good location, and that he would try in every way to meet cultured people, and to form acquaintances with those above him who could help him.
Stingy, narrow minds do not attract money. It takes a broad, liberal mind to attract money. The narrow, stingy mind shuts out the flow of abundance.
It is the hopeful, buoyant, cheerful attitude of mind that wins. Optimism is a success builder; pessimism an achievement killer.
Optimism is the great producer. It is hope, life. It contains everything which enters into the mental attitude which produces and enjoys.
Pessimism is the great destroyer. It is despair, death. No matter if you have lost your property, your health, your reputation even, there is always hope for the man who keeps a form faith in himself and looks up.
As long as you radiate doubt and discouragement, you will be a failure. If you want to get away from poverty, you must keep your mind in a productive, creative condition. In order to do this you must think confident, cheerful, creative thoughts. The model must precede the statue. You must see a new world before you can live in it.
Our mental attitude toward the thing we are struggling for has everything to do with our gaining it. If a man wants to become prosperous, he must believe that he was made for success and happiness; that there is a divinity in him which will, if he follows it, bring him into the light of prosperity.
Erase all the shadows, all the doubts and fears, and the suggestion of poverty and failure from your mind. When you have become master of your thought, when you have once learned to dominate your mind, you will find that things will begin to come your way. Discouragement, fear, doubt, lack of self-confidence, are the germs which have killed the prosperity and happiness of tens of thousands of people.
Every child should be taught to expect prosperity, to believe that the good things of the world were intended for him. This conviction would be a powerful factor in the adult life if the child were so trained.
Wealth is created mentally first; it is thought out before it becomes a reality.
When a youth decides to become a physician, he puts himself in a medical atmosphere just as much as possible. He talks medicine, reads medicine, studies medicine, thinks medicine until he becomes saturated with it. He does not decide to become a physician and then put himself in a legal atmosphere, read law, think law. So, if you want success, abundance, you must think success, you must think abundance.
Stoutly deny the power of adversity or poverty to keep you down. Constantly assert your superiority to your environment. Believe that your are to dominate your surroundings, that you are the master and not the slave of circumstances.
Resolve with all vigor you can muster that, since there is plenty of good things in the world for everybody, you are going to have your share, without injuring anybody else or keeping others back. It was intended that you should have competence, and abundance. It is your birthright. You are success organized, and constructed for happiness, and you should resolve to reach your divine destiny.
When you make up your mind that you are done with poverty forever; that you will have nothing to do with it; that you are going to erase every trace of it from your dress, your personal appearance, your manner, your talk, your actions, your home; that you are going to show the world your real mettle; that you are no longer going to pass for a failure; that you have set your face persistently toward better things- a competence, an independence-and that nothing on earth can turn you from your resolution, you will be amazed to find what a reinforcing power will come to you, what an increase of confidence, reassurance, and self-respect.
The very act of turning your back upon the black picture and resolving that you will have nothing more to do with failure, with poverty; that you will make the best possible out of what you do have; that you will put up the best possible appearance; that you will clean up, brush up, talk up, look up, instead of down-hold your head up and look the world in the face instead of cringing, whining, complaining-will create a new spirit within you which will lead you to the light. Hope will take the place of despair, and you will feel the thrill of a new power, of a new force coursing through your veins.
Thousands of people in this country have thought themselves away from a life of poverty by getting a glimpse of that great principle, that we tend to realize in the life what we persistently hold in the thought and vigorously struggle toward.
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