Everything You Need to Know About Business, I Learned in Nairobi.
The Cycle of Poverty is a Mindset, not a Condition.
We drove out of the airport at 9pm into the deep Kenyan night, so much blacker this near the equator. The driver did 5-20mph because anything more would have broken the suspension on the Land Rover. To the left of the airport entrance bonfires blazed 50 feet into air as tires were burned away for the metal chords in them. It was my first encounter of the close kind with the Cycle of Poverty.
After 10 days living on the poor side of Nairobi and spending every day in the slums working with business owners, I was numb from the experience of so much poverty, so many people, and such great attitudes in the midst of this unending uphill climb.
It wasn’t until I was home and the numbness had worn off that I finally realized the Cycle of Poverty isn’t a physical condition, but a mindset; that it is everywhere, and that most rich Americans suffer from it even more than my new friends in Nairobi, Kenya.
My new friends in Nairobi don’t plan for tomorrow because they’re too busy surviving today. So they make just enough money to get through the month, then they go out and do it again – an endless cycle of just trying to make ends meet. They can’t plan for tomorrow because they are truly in basic survival mode.
In the rich west we have exactly the same problem – except we choose it and they don’t. We regularly PUT OURSELVES in survival mode by simply filling our day with things that will make us money today, with no regard for tomorrow.
We’re so busy making money today just to make ends meet that we don’t have time to plan to build a business that will make money when we’re not around. And we’ve done it so long that we actually think there is some outside force that is making us live this way – I don’t have any choice but to focus solely on paying this month’s bills. Really?
You get what you intend, not what you hope for.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more time to smell the roses or help someone else be successful? Wouldn’t it be great if we had money to help fix some problems in the world around us? But we don’t have either time or money, not because we can’t get it, but because we don’t actually intend to. We intend to work hard and make some money, and so we get what we intend – HARD work and SOME money – just enough to keep us on the treadmill – The Cycle of Poverty.
A sad irony – there is no question that the average indebtedness of the American business owner is exponentially higher than the business owner in the slums of Kibera in Nairobi. The Cycle of Poverty has had a bigger effect on us than on them, except that we choose to live this way and they don’t. We got exactly what we intended, a treadmill.
Reflecting again this week on my experience in Kenya, I see more and more everyday the title of my book is confirmed – Making Money Is Killing Your Business. It really should have been titled “Making Money Is Killing Your Future”, but I wanted business owners to see that it was written to help them get off the treadmill and get out of their self-imposed Cycle of Poverty.
Change your intention, decide that your Lifetime Goals and Ideal Lifestyle are the reason you are in business and intend to build a Mature Business in support of those Lifetime Goals. Anybody can do it; we just need to intend to do so.
I would love to hear below how you are working your way out of the Cycle of Poverty. Let’s do it together!