5 Habits That Keep People Stuck in Poverty and How to Correct Them

“The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.”

  • Adam Smith

For most of my life, I have been a witness to poverty being passed from one generation to the next. I had a front row seat on a reality show revealing the behaviors and interactions that barred the underprivileged and the destitute from experiencing any lasting wealth or success in life. Not so long ago, I was also shackled by the same practices because back then, I thought the vicious cycle of poverty was the only way of life.

Education was my way out, my escape, my golden ticket to the promised land. I hope to share this blessing by revealing five nasty habits that keep the poor penniless.

  1. Use of Foul Language

People living in poverty won’t finish a sentence without a cussword. They are so used to speaking in such a manner that they unconsciously behave the same at work.


I knew someone who would badmouth his superior in front of his colleagues. If his boss said something he didn’t agree with, he would use words like “scumbag,” “pea-brained,” or “ass-kisser” along with a host of other expletives. Today, this person is unemployed with no real prospect of employment.

No one likes to hire anyone who speaks ill of others. As Buddhists say, “Don’t talk if you can’t improve on silence.” If you want to get out of poverty, focus on the good you see on other people. It won’t be long until your words match your positive thoughts.

  1. Culture of Blaming

For some reason, the underprivileged feel entitled. Without making any significant contribution to society, they think the government exists to provide for everything they need including housing, food, and healthcare. If the government doesn’t deliver, they throw a barrage of complaints.


At work, they are quick to point fingers if something goes wrong. Ask them why they are not making money and they will easily come up a bunch of excuses like lack of education, capital, opportunities, or support.

If you think everyone is at fault but you, I strongly urge you to reassess your life and think again. You will never achieve any semblance of success until you take full responsibility to everything happening in your life.

  1. Harboring the Debt Mindset

When you enter a poor person’s humble abode, you would not think he or she is struggling financially. Big screen TV? Check. Sophisticated sound system? Check. Latest gadgets and accessories? Check and check.

Any disposable income is spent on indulgence. Savings and investments are not part of a poor man’s dictionary. When an urgent situation arises, the solution is to pay the local loan shark a visit.

The solution here is simple: pay off all debts, stop spending, and start investing. Easier said than done, but that’s the price you have to pay if you want to get out of poverty and grow your wealth.

  1. Reliance on Potential

Contrary to popular belief, people living in poverty have lots of skills they can monetize. The problem is most are not willing to pull their sleeves up and do the work.

I knew this one dude back in college who has all the gifts to be a legit baller. He has the height, skill, athleticism, and the flair to make it in the big league. Unfortunately, this fellow shared Allen Iverson’s view on practice:

He could be making big bucks and inspiring countless young boys with his on court exploits. But that did not happen because talent was not met with hard work.

Everyone has a special gift. Discover yours and develop it. If you stay true to polishing your craft, you will be rewarded in more ways than you can think of.

  1. Preoccupation with Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol

I attended one party in a depressed area where folks welcomed me with open arms. After a few drinks, they stopped noticing my presence and started to act naturally. I wasn’t that surprised when the discussion focused on who got laid, how many women they’ve slept with, and how much alcohol they can handle. Preoccupation with pleasure seems to be the norm in the area.


You can expect this kind of discussion from college students but if you are pushing 40s and you are still preoccupied with getting laid and getting high, there’s no room for self-improvement.

If you want to escape poverty, you must be obsessed with your life’s purpose. You have to leave the old habits to make room for the new. With hard work and determination, you can experience so much more in life than what drugs, sex, and alcohol can offer combined.

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Featured image courtesy of Kamil Porembinski.

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