Almost immediately the article went viral. Millions clicked on Dave’s list and began to comment on the post. It didn’t take long for the national media to take notice. A very prominent CNN blogger posted a scathing rebuke of the article. The Huffington Post put their two cents in, as did the Daily Kos and many other big-time blogs around the country.
Yours truly received thousands of emails, some good, some not so good. Some emails called me heroic, others called me things so offensive, they’re better left unsaid.
Clearly, my Rich Habits Research and Dave’s article hit a nerve. After the fog cleared, I realized why so many felt so strongly about Dave’s post.
There are millions out there who believe those in poverty are victims and there are millions out there who believe you are personally responsible for your financial circumstances in life.
Those who embrace this ideology believe poverty is outside their control. You are poor because you were born and raised poor and there’s nothing, other than winning the lottery, that will lift you out of poverty. Life screwed you, end of story.
They see poverty as something inflicted upon them by their parents, society, rich people, Wall Street, banks, government policies, etc. This victim ideology is responsible for creating a cycle of poverty that infect future generations of a family.
Personal Responsibility Ideology
People in this group believe that everyone has the ability to become rich and successful through hard work, good habits, devotion to learning, self-discipline and sheer grit and determination. They believe each person is personally responsible for their life’s circumstances and no one else is to blame.
After interviewing 177 self-made millionaires and 128 poor people over a five year period, I learned that wealth and poverty are manufactured. The tools we use to manufacture wealth or poverty are our habits, thinking and the choices we make in life.
When Dave Ramsey posted that 20 Things piece, it hit a nerve because it challenged the belief system of the poor who were conditioned to believe that they were victims of poverty. And it reaffirmed the belief system of those who believe each person is personally responsible for their lives.
If you are poor, you must adopt certain, specific habits that help lift you out of poverty. I call these the Rich Habits:
- You must forge the daily habit of reading to learn every day. Thirty minutes or more is the magic number.
- You must change your thinking from negative, hopeless and pessimistic to positive, hopeful and optimistic. Almost everyone who succeeds and then becomes wealthy has a positive mental outlook.
- Habits are contagious. If you associate with too many poor people, you will adopt their habits and remain poor. If you associate with successful people, they will infect you with habits that help you to list yourself up out of poverty.
- If you pursue a dream, something you are passionate about, that pursuit will force you to grow and improve. You will transform yourself into the person you need to climb out of poverty and become successful in life.
- If whatever you do adds significant value to the lives of others, they will pay you a lot of money and make you rich.
- If you spend more than you make, no matter how much you make will not be enough to make you wealthy. As a rule, you must consistently save and invest 20% or more of your income over many years.