I wrote about a situation of living and invited a few people to consider how they would handle it. http://wp.me/p3ocfS-5K
These are some of the responses from people close to me:
Female, age 49:
Maintain furniture, save up for paint, toilet seat, grow garden, bring flowers into the house, find ways to make extra money, sell television, Save portions of food and money over time, scavenge for useful items to use around the house: shelving, flower pots, blocks, boards. collect books. Use whatever I could get my hands on to make things more comfortable. Use time otherwise spent watching TV to do something useful and productive.
Male, age 24:
I would move. I would take my family and do everything I could to either move to the country, or out of the country. My goal would be to homestead if I couldn’t get into America. But I wouldn’t stay in the city, or the country if I could help it. Heck, if they can homestead somewhere where it’s mostly winter, then I can homestead in Mexico.
Female, age 27:
I would go to a paca and buy sheets or cloth to cover the furniture and maybe the walls. I would save up for a toilet seat, (however I have lived several weeks without one and it’s not so bad ;P). I’m not too worried about how to flush the toilet either. I would pipe water from the rotoplast on the roof to the bathroom and save up money for a heating shower head, obviously I have electricity because of the television, hot showers are nice, unless you are in somewhere hot. I might even sell the television, even though it would be hard (sniff). In a 3rd world country things are cheaper, so even though I would be earning only a dollar a day, I could still make ends meet, (if I ration my money properly, heh, heh!)
Female, age 18:
That sounds absolutely miserable, but at least you are entertained. Good grief, sounds actually pretty good for a third world country considering you actually have a house even if it is unfinished. Sounds dark and dreary and very tedious and unjust. I earn 7 dollars an hour and I don’t think I have enough to pay my own rent, given I have never tried or calculated how much a rent would cost or how much I would earn each month and how much of it would go to paying the rent. In short it doesn’t sound so good and I definitely would want to improve on my situation or get out of there. The camper is bad enough when it comes using a restroom you have to dump out, or rinse by hand. I could go on for ever about this but I have to go to bed so for now it would not be that great. Seriously, sell the TV and by a new toilet, though easier said then done, but seriously.
Male, age 52:
Sell the television and work harder and smarter. Call upon the Lord to inspire you to increase your ability to provide, go to the mall and steal a toilet seat, and thank the Lord that you had a roof over your head, unfinished as it was.
Female, age 20:
First of all I would look for other ways for income, any way possible within reason. Then I would sell the TV and use the profit towards bills and food. Then I would continue with life, saving the extra income I got and would buy a library card so I would be entertained (by going to the library, not from the card alone). Continuing with life, I would continue to save and put the money towards what I needed, until I became a millionaire.
Female, age 19:
Honestly how does one get into such a state? First off, sell the TV who needs that kind of garbage any way? Then get a better job. Or visa verse. Once you get enough money saved, or just enough money, get food, clothes and either a better house or start working on this one. Get a book on budgeting, plant a garden be creative for crying out loud! Think of ways to save money, do things yourself. Who needs the government to take care of you? That’s how one gets there in the first place. (sheesh.)
Male, age 19:
Well, the first thing I would do is pray for help and guidance to get me through. Usually my response to this kind of question would be something along the lines of, “Well, I would start by saving up 1,000 dollars in cash as an emergency fund, then building the nest, and slowly utilizing my resources and investments,” but in this situation there is a sense of hopelessness. I would study on how to work the system in Mexico, and then if all else failed do everything I could to make my way to the United States.
Male, age 21:
I would definitely change. I have seen it so I changed a bit but all priorities and sense of duty and fun would be altered forever. Every time you wake up after that your thoughts would be on making sure that all is well for the family you love so much. I would use what I know about being smart financially and make the best of it while always trying to improve my circumstances. One fear I would have is letting the situation bring out the worst in me, but that is why I would cling to the gospel.
My hypothesis is that since we have been conditioned/trained to live at a certain level of civility or social status we could take any situation in which we are placed and, through our ingenuity, reconstruct our accustomed life-style. I believe that we are not a victim of our circumstances but of our mind-set, or what we believe we need or can have/be/do.
Suppose a millionaire was placed in your shoes. Would he live like you do? Or would he make certain changes that would bring his situation back to what he is accustomed to, just as we would seek to better our situation placed in a third world country? It makes sense.
Why does someone from such a low living standard stay where he is? Why do we struggle so much to raise our standard of living? How can we condition our thoughts to think like a millionaire and hence become one?
This hypothesis is gaining credence in my mind as I learn more about life. I recently read a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad where the author explains the different mindsets and lifestyles of two different men in his life. The one that happened to be his real father was a teacher and always sought benefits, higher salary through education, job security and so forth. He was also the poor one, always struggling to make ends meet. The other man was the father of a friend, who although not very educated according to contemporary standards became the owner of a small empire.
The book explains how people are driven by certain emotions that put them into a rut that eventually leads to what we call the rat race. These emotions are not necessarily evil but they do have negative effects on us. There is no question that base, carnal desires can turn a sophisticated society into hell. So how do we maintain the level of civility that we have? The same challenges and problems inherent in human beings were suffered by the heathen and the roman alike, the difference was how they dealt with those challenges. The British Empire was never free of sin and depravity, yet it thrived, I believe, because such depravity was discouraged, even though it existed it was not openly tolerated. They had a sense of propriety and civility. Unfortunately such propriety is not so prevalent today. But that’s another issue.
In Isaiah 55:8-9 it reads,”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This indicates that there is different understanding and intelligence, there are different motivations.
There are different levels of thought that are manifested in our actions and therefore our physical surroundings. A friend very simply stated that when you are unhappy with where you are, then you think about something better and you change it so that you can be happy.
Now ignorance doesn’t necessarily equal poverty or depravity. How is it that doctors can go broke or high-school dropouts can be heads of corporations?
In the book The Laptop Millionaire, Mark Anastazi says he saw his mentor (the Laptop Millionaire) as though he was standing on top of all his books, looking over a wall at all the opportunities and saying “wow, making money is so easy!” While he stood below seeing nothing but the wall and wondering how he could possibly say that since he couldn’t see anything. In my mind that says the same thing as Isaiah when he says that the Lord is on a higher plane and can see things that we can’t and understands things that we can’t. The Lord also tells us that if we keep his commandments we shall prosper (1 Ne. 2:20; 2 Ne. 1:9; Jarom 1:9; Mosiah 1:7; Alma 37:13; 50:20) and “… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt 6:33) There are over thirty passages in the scriptures that talk about how abundant life can be achieved through obedience to God’s laws. It is not magic, but the natural result of trusting a higher intelligence. The beauty of it is that God is our father and he loves us. Sometimes I think we hear that phrase so much that we become callous to its meaning. It means that we are his greatest interest. We are not here by accident but for a purpose and that purpose is us.
Do our thoughts change our circumstances? Is there a connection between faith and prosperity? Is apathy dangerous? What holds a person in his life position? If you were placed in a lower standard of living would you stay there? What happens that makes a billionaire out of a homeless man? How can a millionaire go broke and then regain his fortune multiple times during his lifespan while the common man struggles to make retirement?