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5 Ideas You Need to Rise From Poverty to the Middle Class

Getting ahead requires leaving some things behind.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

January 29, 2013 - 9:00 am
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“You must unlearn what you have learned.”

1) Seek Advice from Successful People

It’s not enough to untether from your class. If you want to grab the next rung, you need to acquire the habits of successful people. If you are poor, or at any point less than where you would like to be, this means accepting the uncomfortable truth that your friends, family, and neighbors are probably not the people you want to take advice from. After all, if they had insight into the secrets of success, they wouldn’t be your socioeconomic peers.

Does that mean you have to crash country clubs and rub elbows with big investors and CEOs? By all means, if you can acquire a rich friend willing to mentor you, do so. Otherwise, start reading books.

PJ Media associate editor Dave Swindle once hammered this point home in a review of Douglas Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed:

Read books. Do not just read blog posts and articles. One of the first things I’ll often do before stumbling into a debate with someone is ask, “So what books most inform your views on this subject?” If they admit to not being well-read — and they usually do — then you win the debate by default.

There’s a reason why people write books. Certain ideas and arguments require a volume to properly convey. This is especially true when introducing new concepts like those which separate wealth creators from wealth consumers.

Public education does not convey essential economic concepts such as what value is and how to create it. Nor does it effectively teach how money works or how to best manage it. Instead, public education is mandated from the top down to mold “world citizens” who will be pliantly managed from cradle to grave.

I remember graduating from high school and spending the next few years experiencing a nagging sense of abandonment. For 18 years, between the structure of home, the structure of religion, and the structure of public education, I had been told where to go and what to do without ever being trained how to think. Graduation was a kind of banishment into an unexplained wild. Taking the educational scraps you are given is not enough. Truly valuable learning must be sought.

My reading list includes the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, What I Didn’t Learn in School But Wish I Had by Jamie McIntyre, and The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. Each address the attitudes and mindsets which separate the wealthy from everyone else. In their own way, these books are like having a rich friend willing to mentor you. Best of all, books are cheap. You can even benefit from them for free if you visit a library.


When advocates of government activism bemoan the rarity of upward mobility, they are informed by a distaste for income inequality. They regard the fact that some people earn more money than others as evidence of some undefined corruption in the system.

In truth, upward mobility is unusual because it requires breaking from the familiar. From poverty to the middle class, one must learn how to make money. From the middle class to abundant wealth, one must learn to manage money. In either case, moving up requires the initiative to seek skills and develop habits uncommon to one’s class. Put another way, in a free market, poverty is a choice. So too is success.

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Related at PJ Lifestyle on rising up from poverty:

5 Ways To Transform Your Life Just By Changing Your Vocabulary

5 Life Advantages You Acquire from Experiencing Poverty

E-Mails to My Past Self: 5 Facts I Wish I Could Send Back in Time

The Poor Get Poorer: 3 Character Traits That Undermine Prosperity

The 47% Solution: Yes, If You’re Poor, It Really May Be Your Fault

See more of Walter Hudson’s recent articles at PJ Lifestyle. Some of the subjects he focuses on include religion, technology, culture, economics, and the Tea Party:

The Distinction Between Sin and Crime

Whose Morality Is It Anyway?

Would You Meet Your Killer Halfway?

Are You Grateful for the Products That Make Your Life Better?

Believing in Christmas from Santa to Christ

Are Young Black Men Rejecting Obama?

Why You Should Take the 2012 Apocalypse Seriously

Tread Upon: What’s Next for the Tea Party?

6 Green Lies Threatening to Starve You

American Immaturity: How We Grow Up After We Grow Old

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Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the boards of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, Minnesota Majority and the Minority Liberty Alliance. He maintains a blog and daily podcast entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of conservative Minnesotan commentary, and regularly appears on the Twin Cities News Talk Weekend Roundtable on KTCN AM 1130. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.
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