Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is Poverty A Choice?

When I ask the question, is poverty a choice, the implication is not whether someone actually chooses to live a life of poverty. That fact is that some people are born into poverty, and no one makes a conscious decision to be poor, with the exception of maybe a monk, who takes a vow of poverty.
Putting this question in context requires some extrapolation. When I ask the question I am referring to the possibility of someone not doing anything to get out of poverty. I am questioning whether the necessary drive or where-with-all it takes to change ones station in life becomes lost in a cycle of complacency or lack of motivation.
I believe that those who are poor and do nothing to try to improve their lives have made a choice to be poor by lack of effort. This does not mean that they don't deserve help. What it does mean is that those who have the capacity, and the faculties to reach out and seek out but don't are failing themselves and their families. I'm not talking about a hand out. But a hand up.
I know that certain segments of our society have been put at a disadvantage by institutionalized racism, predjudice, and disenfranchisement. I know that many of us have found ourselves in certain situations due to circumstances beyond our control. Including me. But I also know that many of us have progressed, and prospered despite falling down. Being a minority, disadvantaged, or unfortunate didn't make a difference to those who were determined to succeed.

My prime source of motivation is my wife, who always seems to know when my stress level is at it's peak. She uses 7 words to motivate me.
"It's about how bad you want it."
Maybe those who live in poverty and do nothing, should ask themselves how bad they want to change their lives. If they really want to at all.


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