CHARACTER, DRIVE AND POVERTY

#character
To paraphrase an old adage: give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.
We’ve developed a culture in which the poor receive aid without conditions. We believe that they are poor because of bad luck or circumstances, or because their parents or other family was poor.
We, as a society, believe some are poor because they are lazy, resentful or don’t have the skills to hold a job. The poor believe they are poor because they have been discriminated against, treated badly by employers or, they believe the government somehow owes them.
How we would love to change the thought process of poverty. On Aug. 4, 2014, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran two columns – one by the New York Times’ David Brooks, and the other by engineer and former Atlanta Falcon William White – that discussed the thought process of the poor.
Brooks talked about character development among the poor. He quotes Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution as saying that both progressive and conservative orthodoxies in dealing with poverty do so in the abstract. He believes the orthodoxies view the poor as a species of “hollow man,” whose destiny is shaped by economic structures alone.
White, on the other hand, grew up poor in Lima, Ohio. His father worked in a foundry, in which the only air-conditioned place was the engineer’s office. He was determined to succeed in school and become an engineer. As it happened, he also had a successful 11-year career in the National Football League, after graduating with an engineering degree from The Ohio State University.
What both Brooks and White are saying is that circumstances shouldn’t define a person. They also say that fewer people would be in dire circumstances if they just had the belief that they could get out of them.
We, as a society, can’t want success for anyone more than he wants it for himself, as White has shown. We hate to see anyone live in poverty, but we can’t give anyone the desire to get out. If you have the desire to get out, you WILL get out. You will fight through your circumstances and become successful.
Brooks says we should teach people in dire circumstances several things to help them out of their own situations. First, we teach good habits. If you change behavior, you will change disposition eventually, Brooks writes. He cites many government programs that help poor parents and students to observe basic etiquette and practice small, but regular, acts of self-restraint.
Then, we have to show them opportunity. Most of us, Brooks writes, can only deny short-term pleasures because we see the path between self-denial now and something better down the road.
Third, exemplars. Character is not developed individually. It is instilled by communities and transmitted by elders, Brooks writes. That brings to mind another adage: if you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you.
Fourth, standards. People can only practice restraint after they determine the sort of person they want to be, Brooks writes.
In other words, give people something to shoot for, instill in them the belief that they can get it and show them what they need to do to get it.
If your circumstances aren’t what you want them to be, there are many vehicles out there that could help the person who wants to change his life, and has a vision of what he wants his life to be. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
So if you don’t like your circumstances, don’t wallow and blame. Dream that life can be better, believe that YOU can make it better, then step up and do what you need to do.
Peter

CHARACTER, DRIVE AND POVERTY

To paraphrase an old adage: give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.
We’ve developed a culture in which the poor receive aid without conditions. We believe that they are poor because of bad luck or circumstances, or because their parents or other family was poor.
We, as a society, believe some are poor because they are lazy, resentful or don’t have the skills to hold a job. The poor believe they are poor because they have been discriminated against, treated badly by employers or, they believe the government somehow owes them.
How we would love to change the thought process of poverty. On Aug. 4, 2014, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran two columns – one by the New York Times’ David Brooks, and the other by engineer and former Atlanta Falcon William White – that discussed the thought process of the poor.
Brooks talked about character development among the poor. He quotes Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution as saying that both progressive and conservative orthodoxies in dealing with poverty do so in the abstract. He believes the orthodoxies view the poor as a species of “hollow man” whose destiny is shaped by economic structures alone.
White, on the other hand, grew up poor in Lima, Ohio. His father worked in a foundry, in which the only air-conditioned place was the engineer’s office. He was determined to succeed in school and become an engineer. As it happened, he also had a successful 11-year career in the National Football League, after graduating with an engineering degree from The Ohio State University.
What both Brooks and White are saying is that circumstances shouldn’t define a person. They also say that fewer people would be in dire circumstances if they just had the belief that they could get out of them.
We, as a society, can’t want success for anyone more than he wants it for himself, as White has shown. We hate to see anyone live in poverty, but we can’t give anyone the desire to get out. If you have the desire to get out, you WILL get out. You will fight through your circumstances and become successful.
Brooks says we should teach people in dire circumstances several things to help them out of their own situations. First, we teach good habits. If you change behavior, you will change disposition eventually, Brooks writes. He cites many government programs that help poor parents and students to observe basic etiquette and practice small, but regular, acts of self-restraint.
Then, we have to show them opportunity. Most of us, Brooks writes, can only deny short-term pleasures because we see the path between self-denial now and something better down the road.
Third, exemplars. Character is not developed individually. It is instilled by communities and transmitted by elders, Brooks writes. That brings to mind another adage: if you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you.
Fourth, standards. People can only practice restraint after they determine the sort of person they want to be, Brooks writes.
In other words, give people something to shoot for, instill in them the belief that they can get it and show them what they need to do to get it.
If your circumstances aren’t what you want them to be, there are many vehicles out there that could help the person who wants to change his life, and has a vision of what he wants his life to be. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
So if you don’t like your circumstances, don’t wallow and blame. Dream that life can be better, believe that YOU can make it better, then step up and do what you need to do.
Peter

BEST TIME TO START A BUSINESS

Decades ago, starting a business was hard.
You needed money – either your own, or investors’.
You needed sophisticated and expensive marketing – a big cost.
All of the above was hard to come by. If you failed, chances are you were devastated. If you failed, you probably would have decided to take your skills and ideas to an employer and help make HIM rich.
Today, as Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine puts it, starting a business has never been easier.
In a 2013 audio from his series, Hardy points out that the Internet and social media and the related technology makes starting a business easy. It’s relatively cheap, because you don’t need a lot of that sophisticated and expensive marketing. If you have a good idea, and a computer, you can tell the world about your idea relatively easily.
Because starting a business is relatively easy, and relatively inexpensive, failure is not as costly. If one idea fails, try another one. Chances are, you won’t be financially devastated by your first failure.
If you are entrepreneurial, you can keep trying things until one works. Entrepreneurs know that eventually, if they keep trying, they will succeed.
Couple the ease of starting a business today, with the difficulties in the workplace. Job security is almost impossible to find. Companies are looking for, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has put it, “cheap genius.” If they don’t find it nearby, they’ll find it somewhere in the world.
Your good ideas, taken to an employer, may be able to be replicated, even improved upon, by someone who will work for less money than you make.
If you are young and starting your career path, take a look at what you are good at, what you are passionate about, and think about how you could parlay that into your own business. There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else for a time, even a long time, especially if that person is helping you succeed. But chances are, if you are good at something, and are passionate about it, you’ll have the drive to strike out on your own if you choose.
Sometimes, it’s a matter of taking your passion and figuring out how you can use it to help others. Then, figure out how much others will pay you for helping them. If you are passionate about art, and have a talent for it, you don’t necessarily have to sell your drawings or paintings. But you might sell yourself as someone who could help, say, architects, stagers etc. Ideas, plus passion, plus drive might be a good formula for success in whatever endeavor you choose.
What if you have drive, but no ideas and no passion yet. Where do you go to find the idea and passion to which you could apply your great drive? There are many good business ideas already out there waiting for the people with drive to pursue them. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. All you need to be successful is the sense to see how good an idea it is, and the drive to share it.
Even though Hardy says it’s relatively easy to start a business today, whatever you pursue will require hard work. But if you are passionate, the work won’t seem so hard. As the saying goes, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
In these conditions, passion, plus idea, plus drive is the perfect formula. The passions and ideas can be found elsewhere. The drive has to be within you.
Peter