The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer

And the angry get angrier. Honestly, the next time I hear this phrase, I will punch someone in the face.

This phrase. Gah! This loathsome phrase. It serves as an intellectual get-out-of-jail-free card. I mean, why bother trying when you can simply tell yourself the world is out to get you? Yes, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Fat people get fatter and smart people become more knowledgeable. But these are mathematical and psychological descriptions of human nature, not grand tales of corruption. We are the products of our own thinking. It is not our current position, but our habits that determine our direction in life.

Rich people get richer because of their impeccable financial habits. Poor people get poorer because they have limited understanding and/or motivation. Fat people get fatter due to poor physical and dietary habits and smart people become more knowledgeable because they love learning new things. Fat people don’t gain weight because the universe hates them. Smart people don’t rise to new intellectual heights because society Favours them. Our habits define who we will become, just as they have already defined who we are now.

Yes, yes, yes. I know. You’re upset. I’ve challenged your world view. But your world view was crap and needed challenging. No offence. You’re probably thinking “Yeah, but some people are so poor they will never escape”. That’s absolutely correct, and I feel disgusted and outraged on behalf of those forgotten souls. I really do. But the fact that you are here, reading this, tells me that you’re not one of them. You’re not living in the slums of Jakarta.

You’re not a child begging on the streets of Delhi and you’re not a Moldovan orphan who has been sold into the sex trade. No. You’re an adult with the ability to make your own choices. You most likely live in a modern country. You have access to running water, electricity and health care. You have an internet connection and therefore you also have access to the sum of human knowledge. By the standards of those in true poverty, you have all the opportunity in the world.

If you say, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” without understanding that you’re merely describing the talents of the rich and the poor, then you may just as well be mindlessly babbling the phrase “the smart get smarter and the dumb get dumber”.

I said the poor get poorer because they don’t know what they’re doing. “Oh, that’s just crap” you say. “I’m poor because I have a crap job!”. Yes, you’re poor partly because you’ve got a crap job, but you’ve got a crap job because you think and act like a poor person.

Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk. I could go on. What do these people have in common? They built their fortunes from nothing.

A phrase that more accurately describes the future of the rich and poor would go a little something like this.

“If you were born into a rich family, you’ve got to do something pretty stupid to screw up your life but if your parents are poor, there’s a good chance they’ll teach you how to screw up your life, and if that doesn’t happen, you can become a very successful person…if you’re willing to put in the required amount of effort.”

But that doesn’t have a very nice ring to it. So instead, you can keep telling yourself that you have no chance. And you know what? That’s fine. Go ahead and do that if you must. But don’t you dare utter these words to me. Because people change. I’m changing. But you probably won’t. Not if you keep repeating self-defeatist phrases to yourself.

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