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The Advantages of Poverty

The Advantages of Poverty

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One of my favorite books is “Advantages of Poverty” by 19th century industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. In this timeless classic, the poor Scottish immigrant who went on to become the wealthiest man in American history explains why the principles of hard work and giving back are vital to success — principles I believe we should all still aspire to today.

Like Andrew Carnegie, I’m a classic American rags-to-riches story. I was a penniless immigrant when I first came here from Ireland as a young man. Having no resources was an obstacle, but ironically that disadvantage became one of my most powerful advantages in time. Because I had nothing, I was willing to go the extra mile. I was hungry to learn and eager to work. When other people were complacent, I saw opportunities. Strange as it may seem, I had the advantage of poverty!

Today, your economic position may not be exactly as you want it. If you harness the advantages of poverty, you can get on track to achieve the success you dream of. Here’s how:

Do whatever it takes

When I came to America, I was poor but I was also broke. Poor is a state of mind, broke is a state of account. If your mind remains poor, you’ll never be wealthy. I can honestly say I became rich when I began to work on myself and opened my mind to learning. To succeed, you must have this willingness to learn and you must also work hard. As the Bible says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Do whatever it takes, go the extra mile and always have an attitude of gratitude — when you’re filled with gratitude, it changes everything.

Work rewards

Success is never portrayed as someone who rolls up their sleeves and grafts to get it done, but the truth is you will be rewarded when you work hard. It’s not easy but, if you’re struggling, reflect on the sacrifices that were made for you by those who came before. This will eradicate entitlement thinking and self pity. Remember, hard work is not only honorable, it’s incredibly satisfying too! As Andrew Carnegie said, “Gain all you can by honest industry; use all possible diligence in your calling.”   

Make a difference

We all want to become a part of something bigger. We can do this by growing ourselves, giving back and guiding others. Don’t wait until you’re rich to give, give as you go. As Andrew Carnegie said, “There’s really no true charity except that which will help others to help themselves and place within the reach of the aspiring the means to climb.” 

Listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life” to hear more about “Advantages of Poverty” by Andrew Carnegie.

Brian Buffini

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