The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have. – Leonard Nimoy
I tinkered with the idea of titling this article ‘The Folly Of Stinginess” because it is safe to say that stinginess is a by-product of a poverty mentality. A mentality of poverty is a mindset of never having enough, it is an attitude that perpetuates poverty because the focus is usually on what one doesn’t have rather than the abundance of his possessions. It is subservience to money or wealth. Many of us suffer from a poverty mentality which is why we find it difficult to give of ourselves, whether it is our money or general substance. I have met different kinds of people in my short years of existence and I can say that one of the sets of people I find very difficult to understand and deal with are the stingy ones, the ungenerous-close fisted-penny pinching- scrooge like misers! The one with a poverty mentality is not only stingy to others, he is stingy to himself also! It is one of the worst attributes a man can have.
I have one or 2 friends whom I am no longer particularly close to simply because a stingy friend is a deal breaker for me. Let me say at this juncture that poverty in itself is not the same thing as a poverty mentality. Most of the people who suffer from a poverty mentality are actually not poor in material possession. They belong mostly to the middle and upper class strata of the society, which is what makes it both shocking and annoying! Take the case of a man who earns at least 150,000 naira monthly but will refuse to use the air conditioning in his car even in hot, scorching weather because he is trying to save fuel! (Note that this is not during a period of fuel scarcity). A poverty mentality could also manifest itself the other way round by way of an obsession to own expensive items even when one obviously cannot afford it. If I see a lady carry a Birkin bag and I immediately view her as being more important than me because I cannot afford it then I am suffering from a poverty mentality because I have attributed my self worth to owning that bag. A person who suffers from a poverty mentality literally worships wealth or a display of wealth! There is nothing wrong with wanting to own luxury items but to chase after them like your life depends on it is another matter entirely.
If you live on government assistance in the developed parts of the world and don’t plan to stop even though you now have a job – you are suffering from a poverty mentality. If you graduated from school 2 or more years ago and still flash your Identity card in order to get a student rebate at the cinemas – you are suffering from a poverty mentality. If you can afford a seat on a fairly comfortable commercial bus but choose to hop into a rickety Molue to assume a standing position just so you can save some money- your poverty mentality is on another level. If you can conveniently get transportation at Berger park, but would rather cross Lagos-Ibadan express way, putting yourself at the risk of being hit and run over just because the fare is 50 naira cheaper – then your poverty of mind must be from the village. And lastly, if you are one of those drivers who will never yield the right of way to another driver because you always see the road as a battle field- your poverty mentality is backed up by frustration. Please note that I am not preaching financial recklessness or advocating that people should live above their means, by all means save as much as you can. I am also aware that one is definitely forced to scrimp on scarce resources when broke or saving up towards a project. I am talking about circumstances where what you are trying to save is negligible or next to nothing on the grand scale of things.
Life is short. It is not meant to be about hogging and hoarding, It is about generosity and compassion for others. After all we don’t get to leave with anything when we die. The life expectancy is Nigeria is 54 years, so the sooner we start to enjoy life in a positive way the better for us. It is not a sin to be comfortable contrary to what some people believe. Ditch the poverty mentality! Invest in yourself and stop wasting money trying to keep up with the Joneses. Quit daydreaming about winning the lottery and put your hands to work. Stop serving money, let money serve you!