Poverty / Failure Mentality versus Prosperity / Success Mentality

What is the mindset…the mentality…of poverty and failure…and how can we make sure we have the mindset of prosperity and success?

Well, the first “operating characteristic” of someone with a poverty mentality is a perpetual FEAR of shortage and lack of money and other resources.

As I write this, we have an unusually high amount of snow on the ground for our area of the country…but before the snow ever came…as the newscasters were forecasting the snow…you could literally SEE and FEEL the FEAR as people thronged stores and purchased “stuff” in near hysteria…you could literally see the FEAR within them feeding off of the FEAR in other people.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being prepared…but these people were not just getting prepared…they were buying without any reason or rationalism…they were buying as if they would NEVER have access to supplies again.

FEAR was what was driving them. What was evidenced and manifested in response to an abnormal weather forecast is nothing more than an expression of the underlying problem…FEAR of shortage and lack. And, the FEAR response that was easily observed in these shoppers in response to the weather is the same FEAR that these people feel and operate from in the area of money.

This leads us to the next thing…

You would think that with all this FEAR, these people would SAVE and STORE UP a little something so they would have a little “breathing room” financially…so they wouldn’t have to feel that FEAR as strongly.

But they don’t!

Oddly, these people with a poverty mentality spend EVERYTHING they have…and often MORE than they actually have…on something that will give them some form of IMMEDIATE fleshly pleasure and gratification.

They are unwilling to delay even the SMALLEST immediate pleasure for a LARGER pleasure later on. They are unwilling to deny themselves ANY immediate pleasure. IF they can come up with A means by which they can obtain an IMMEDIATE pleasure, then they ARE going to do it.

This is why they live paycheck to paycheck. This IS why this week’s paycheck is gone before next week even gets here.

And actually, that is part of why they feel so much FEAR…they KNOW in their heart-of-hearts that they are NOT being WISE in the LONG-TERM. They KNOW they are not LEARNING wisely…they KNOW they are not WORKING wisely…they KNOW they are not USING RESOURCES wisely…and therefore, FEAR AND GUILT underlies everything they do…which drives them to continue using their resources unwisely so they can feel better NOW…which means their situation keeps on getting worse and worse.

Then, they look around for some person who IS learning wisely, working wisely, and using their resources wisely…and they want THAT person to “bail” them out of their ever worsening “mess” that THEY are creating for themselves.

It is a destructive, unhappy, self-esteem-destroying cycle they keep themselves in.

There’s more…

The Bible tells us, it rains on the just and on the unjust…which means good and bad things happen to EVERYBODY…no matter who you are, what you have, or where you live. But, people with a poverty / failure mentality are “able” to draw TWICE the “bad experiences” into their life as prosperous / successful people.

How do they do that?

It’s easy…they dwell upon…focus upon…and concentrate upon everything “bad” that really HAS happened…and then, they IMAGINE…they FABRICATE IN THEIR MIND…even more “bad” experiences, situations, or events happening to them…which means they get to FEEL the feelings of even more “bad experiences” happening to them…even though it has not (YET) happened in the realm of reality.

Some people are so good at this that they are even “able” to draw THREE TIMES the “bad experiences” into their life by going back into past memories of good experiences, conditions, circumstances or events…and recasting what really happened…so that (in their mind) their situation turned out badly for them instead of good…which means again, they get to FEEL the feelings of even more “bad experiences” happening to them.

What these people don’t realize is that they are literally re-mapping their future to be filled with “bad experiences”. They are “telling” God that they want all the “bad experiences” that they really do not want.

Prosperous / successful people DO NOT use their mind in these negative ways. If something bad REALLY happens in their experience, then they “take their hits” as they continue on learning wisely, working wisely, and using their resources wisely…which means they are mapping a future of greater good to enjoy.

If you are driving on a snow and ice covered road, you KNOW that once you are moving, you better not slow down or stop or you are LIKELY to get STUCK! And that’s how it is in life too…if you slow down or stop when something “bad” happens, well then, you are LIKELY to get STUCK right there where you can spend a LONG TIME dealing with that “bad” thing.

That is why prosperous / successful people keep themselves focused on moving forward, onward, upward, and creating greater good…so they maintain enough “traction” that they never end up STUCK somewhere on the side of life’s road going NOWHERE.

Prosperous / successful people DO NOT spend their money on IMMEDIATE fleshly pleasure and gratification UNLESS they can TRULY afford the luxury of doing so. Instead, they USE money for the greatest LONG-TERM increase and enjoyment — which soon enough puts them in a position where they CAN afford personal luxuries from time to time.

This is why prosperous / successful people are able to enjoy life MORE. IF they DIRECT money into something, it WILL BE money WELL DIRECTED because they KNOW it will produce a POSITIVE RETURN for them in some way that is significant, meaningful, and important to them.

Prosperous / successful people are NOT frivolous with their time, money, or resources. But, people who have the poverty / lack / failure mentality…the people who can LEAST afford it…are the MOST frivolous with their time, money, and resources.

Prosperous / successful people DO NOT operate from a place of FEAR. They KNOW that God WILL supply ALL their need…they KNOW that God WILL provide the opportunities for them to receive THEIR blessings AS THEY DO THEIR PART OF LEARNING WISELY, WORKING WISELY, AND USING THEIR RESOURCES WISELY.

This leads to the next major difference between those who have the poverty / failure mentality and those who have the prosperity / success mentality…

This could be one of the most important concepts I have ever shared with you…

Prosperous / successful people understand that there are DEEP, multi-level impacts, effects, consequences, and reverberations in relation to money and how it is used.

Allow me to illustrate…

People who research such things tell us that the typical American has between $3,000 and $8,000 of credit card debt. These are people who are ALREADY living paycheck to paycheck…they are ALREADY living to the maximum extent of their means…and yet, they have spent THOUSANDS of dollars BEYOND what they can afford.

This raises an important question; what were these THOUSANDS of dollars spent on?

Well, SOME of this money was for some “emergency”…maybe a vehicle needed some major work…or maybe some health problems cropped up…and because these people did not have a RESERVE in place for such an emergency, they were FORCED to BORROW from somebody who DID have a reserve…and they get to pay PAINFULLY for the right to borrow against somebody else’s reserve.

Now, if an unexpected / unplanned emergency arises, and you don’t have the reserve to handle it, then you just do what you’ve got to do.  But having said this, EVERYBODY “knows” that from time to time, “emergency” issues of one kind or another WILL arise in life.  So, would it not be WISE to prepare a reserve or get the insurances so that a person has the means to handle an “emergency” should one arise?

You may not be able to change your position during an emergency — but you certainly can before and after one.  The interesting thing is, the MORE prepared you are for an emergency, the LESS likely they are to happen to you.

But, here is the part that’s most important: MUCH of these thousands of dollars were not needed for some emergency. Rather, they were just spent on “stuff”. Most of these people could NOT give you an account of how the money was SPENT even if their life depended upon it. (In contrast, prosperous / successful people CAN give you an account of how they USED their money.)

They ate out…they bought something that was “on sale”…they took a little trip they couldn’t afford…they bought a relative a gift…and then a friend a gift…they found a special “deal” or “knick-knack” they just had to have…and the next thing they know, they have THOUSANDS of dollars racked up on their credit card.

And now, for the most part, the “stuff” is UNUSED or long gone. The clothes are collecting dust in a closet somewhere…or they have been given away to a charity. The toys are crammed in a box somewhere…or they have already been broken and trashed. For MOST everything that those THOUSANDS of dollars were SPENT on, there is NOTHING left that provides any meaningful value, joy, or satisfaction.

It was money spent for a fleeting moment’s pleasure and gratification…and the moment of pleasure is long gone…but the pain of debt grows worse with each passing month.

Now, if the story ended here, then this would not be such a big deal…but it doesn’t end here. THERE ARE ONGOING REVERBERATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES.

Let’s say a person has $5,000 of debt on their credit card:

  1. Their quality of living is going to go DOWN because now a portion of their “living” money MUST be diverted to covering the INTEREST cost of their $5,000 debt.
  2. The OLD $5,000 is long gone and now a NEW $5,000 must be generated in order repay the OLD $5,000 that is long gone.
  3. Because the NEW $5,000 MUST be used to repay the OLD $5,000 that is long gone, the NEW $5,000 CANNOT be used to create a better, more enjoyable, richer present or future.
  4. And, because the NEW $5,000 dollars could not be used to create a positive return of some kind, the person then loses out on THAT benefit and/or money as well.


A dollar spent on a moment’s worth of gratification can end up costing a person two, three, four, or more dollars by the time the effects, consequences, and reverberations are over with from spending that one dollar.

To illustrate in a simplistic, generalized way, that old $5,000 of credit card debt needed a new $5,000 to pay it off — and we are now at $10,000 — and because that new $5,000 could not be invested in some way to produce a return, we lost out on an additional $5,000 of gain — and what was a mere $5,000 has now become $15,000.  And, it doesn’t end here.  There ARE reverberations that extend well beyond these three levels.

People with a poverty / lack / failure mentality don’t understand this…they aren’t aware of it…and they don’t care to know any differently…they aren’t interested in knowing the consequences of their choices and actions.  They just want to make “feel-good-now” choices and they don’t want to have to deal with consequences.

In contrast, people who have a prosperity / success mentality CLEARLY understand the ongoing effects, consequences, and reverberations of using money and they operate and make decisions accordingly.

This is why the rich keep on getting richer and the poor keep on getting poorer.

The poverty / failure mentality says, “It’s ONLY a dollar! What’s the big deal? Lighten up and live a little! Have some fun in life! You only get to live once!

The prosperity / success mentality says, “It’s a dollar…and dollars add up quickly. How I use this IS important because if I use it for ‘A’, then that means I cannot use it for ‘B’ or ‘C’. If I use it for ‘B’ that means I can’t use it for ‘A’ or ‘C’. If I use it for ‘C’, that means I can’t use it for ‘A’ or ‘B’. And, if I use it for ‘A’, what is the long-term cost or gain likely to be? If I use it for ‘B’, what is the long-term cost or gain likely to be? If I use it for ‘C’, what is the long-term cost or gain likely to be?

And, because people with the prosperity / success mentality think this way, they are actually able to experience a much more enjoyable, pleasurable, and satisfying life.


It’s because they have REALLY thought through how they are going to use their money, time, and resources…and the effects, consequences, and reverberations of using their money, time, and resources…which means when they USE their money, time, and resources, it IS going to be in a meaningful, significant, valuable, and important way that REALLY matters over the long-term.

There is plenty more that can be said about what a prosperity / success mentality is and how to have it.  I encourage you to share your thoughts about having a prosperity / success mentality by submitting a comment below.


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