Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Poverty Triangle

Poverty, in the sense of poorness, comes in many forms. Some are quite specific to geography, occupation, spirituality, or even recreation, to name a few. On the other hand, some forms of poverty are more general. Identifying your current state of 'wealth' or 'poverty' in these areas is a vital step to success.

What are these three areas that make up this poverty triangle? I've heard it said that people are either time poor, people poor, or money poor. I think that statement has merit, so I will look at these three.

Time Poor - Everybody is allotted the exact same amount of time every day. People only differ in what they do with that time. Where I tend to go wrong in this area is in over-estimating how much time is left to complete something, and under-estimating how long it will take. It's a common mistake. How would you rate yourself?

As far as time goes, the thing I try to do right is being on time. I've developed a habit of being on time, or even early when possible. Of course, being early can mean waiting longer for someone else. I combat this down-time by having something I can work on; catching up on reading, writing down ideas, or making a few phone calls. If you are lacking in this area, start developing the habit of promptness.

People Poor - Family and friends are supposed to be a priority, sadly for some people this is not so. The pursuit of the almighty dollar stays at the forefront, while personal relationships suffer. It's okay to strive for more income to provide the things you and your family want. Yes, that may require long hours and hard work, but it's important to maintain balance. Are there relationships in your life that need some improving? Or, are things going great?

Here are a few thought on improving a people poor situation. Schedule time to spend in your most important relationships. When you are spending time with family and friends, enjoy it. This doesn't mean you have to participate in planned activities or vacations, instead try laughing together, talking together, or just being in the presence of one another.

Money Poor - This can be a tough one. The credit card companies make it tempting and easy to go into debt. Advertising whets our appetite for keeping up with our neighbors. We can feel deprived if we don't get the things we think we deserve. It seems to be a vicious cycle. Taking an honest look at your situation will let you know where you are.

People who are money poor are often quick to begrudge those who are wealthy. Nevermind that most people who are wealthy have earned it fair and square. This poor attitude contributes greatly to money poorness. Changing attitudes about money can be hard. I'm a normal guy, with a normal job, and a normal paycheck, I don't make much more, or less than the people I work with. However if one of my co-workers makes a comment about the financially well-off being greedy, dishonest, or lucky; I do my best to politely express my opinion. It doesn't always work, but I don't think it's okay to just let it slide either.

Those are a few of my thoughts on time, people, and money. I wish you every success in each of these three areas. What do you think?


At 4:53 PM, Blogger cryptojoe said...

I'm not really time, people, or money poor. But there is room for improvement in all of those areas in my life. I wonder about my son, Andrew, he is mentally disabled, what kind of poor will he feel when he grows up? I sure hope it isn't people poor, that is probably the worst kind of poor there is.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger A1 Success Force said...

Well said, cryptojoe. It sounds to me like your Andrew already has the benefit of having a father who understands the importance of people. All the best to you and your family.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Pug8 said...

Time poor, here! I guess you know that as well as anyone.

Money poor, that's coming. Debt has to be paid eventually (damned credit cards).

People poor, never. With this great family, not to mention a pretty cool brother.

At 5:19 AM, Blogger birdwoman said...

That being said, I think there's another element to poverty: perception.

My husband was in the peace corps in Sierra Leone (a truly money poor country). He saw starving children. He saw "wealthy" families, considered wealthy because they had a few dollars to their name.

Very few of America's poor are poor. Most have access to food, shelter, and health care. But in their minds they are poor.

In the end, I think all three points of your poverty triangle have a very important dimension of expectation-management. I grew up on a farm, and monitarily, we were poor. But I never thought we were poor. Same thing for the other points: if you consider yourself time poor, perhaps you are trying to do too many things. If you consider yourself people poor, perhaps you are pursuing the wrong relationships.

Contentment can be reached when goals are realistic. And contentment is the most valuable commoditiy I know of.

Just my $.02.


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