Growing up poor is no joke.
It will stretch your imagination and make you grow up 100 times faster.
It can be difficult, stressful and embarrassing, especially when you are young.
“Why me?” can often be the question of the day.
But, growing up poor can also be one of the best things that will ever happen to you.
If you look at me now, you may think I have no idea of what being poor is.
In my adult life, I’ve had a privilege of living in luxurious homes, staying in five-star hotels and driving expensive cars.
Well, the life I live now cannot be further from what I was used to.
By western standards, I grew up poor, although I never really knew it at the time.
I grew up in Poland during communism, and know first-hand what it means to not to have much, or anything for that matter.
But the life I have built taught me one thing for sure: Money does not make you happy.
It may make your life easier, but not happier.
As a matter of fact, when I look at my life, some of my happiest memories actually come from the time when I was the most poor.
So if you are struggling today, it’s time to take action, stand up tall and know what you are going through is temporary.
Be proud of the person you are becoming.
Here is why growing up poor is the best thing that can happen to you:
1. You are resourceful beyond imagination.
Growing up poor, you don’t have much, so you learn how to figure things out or get things from extraordinary places.
By the time you become an adult, you have a track record of successfully figuring things out. There is no obstacle that will stop you from achieving your goals.
As someone who has managed multiple international programs in my career, I can tell you resourcefulness is one of the highest qualities I look for when creating top performing teams.
2. You discover the power and freedom of being creative.
When you grow up poor, you don’t have new toys, new books or that dream bicycle. You don’t even expect it.
Instead, you get busy creating things you want by yourself.
Initially you hate it; you wish you could just have money and buy anything you want.
But over time, the unexpected happens.
Through the process, you discover the power and freedom that comes with creating something on your own and establishing your own rules.
When things are tight and your imagination takes you to amazing places, you do what you need to do and simply make it happen. Nothing can stop you from pursuing your passion.
3. You are a full-time dreamer.
What's the first thing you do when you don’t have much, and there is not even a prospect of getting it? You dream.
Your elaborate dreaming overtime turns into visualization, and then magic happens.
The lines between the dream and the reality become blurred. Just like that, you start believing in your dreams.
The feeling becomes so real that you simply start turning your dreams into a reality.
When you do, you naturally encounter a lot of naysayers.
But can this stop you? Not at all.
Your dreams feel so real that you simply cannot accept any other options.
Instead, you design your life to be as amazing as your dreams.
4. You have motivation and sense of urgency flowing in your blood.
The vision of your grandest life is so strong, it propels you to take action every day.
There is no obstacle that will stop you. There is no naysayer who can discourage you.
You are driven beyond common sense.
You are ambitious and determined. You know what you have today is better than what you had yesterday and tomorrow can bring even more.
So you work hard, you don’t complain and you don’t stop.
You make it happen. You have nothing to lose.
5. Your patience drives your persistence.
But making the impossible possible is not a piece of cake.
It takes hard work, creativity, commitment and lots of time. There will be obstacles and at times you'll want to give up. But will you? Definitely not.
You develop a tremendous amount of patience waiting for what you really want, and persistence to accomplish the impossible task. You create your own way of getting to the finish line.
If one door closes, you try another one.
If that one closes, you try a window, maybe a chimney or a key hole.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes and how difficult it is.
You are having fun trying different things because the feeling of accomplishment despite the difficulties is more rewarding than anything money can buy.
6. You don’t understand the concept of “it cannot be done.”
By now you have tried so many different things and failed over and over, only to finally succeed when a new challenge appears. When others say something “cannot be done,” it just fires you up more.
You know there is no one way to view something.
There are millions of challenges, and when there is a will, there is a way.
When others count on their parents’ savings or financial aid as the only way to finish college, you smile.
You know there is no college fund for you.
You put yourself through school and prove to the non-believers that it can be done.
You figured out how to accomplish goals without spending money. Hearing “it cannot be done” only makes you smile wide with determination.
7. You are resilient, independent and ready to take risks.
Since most of your life you've had nothing to lose and a lot to gain, you are not afraid to take risks. You know that if you never take a risk, you will never achieve you goals.
If you want it, you go for it.
In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
There is nothing that can truly scare you or set you back. You have been through tougher situations growing up poor than anything you will face in your grown up life.
You know each ebb proceeds the flow. When you are at your lowest, you don’t despair. You know there is only one way to go from there, and that is up.
8. Material things don’t impress you.
You have experienced happiness without material things and you know it’s possible, so material things don’t impress you much.
Sure, it is nice to have a great house and money to buy what you want, but you know without a shadow of a doubt that these things don’t make you who you are.
These are just comforts in life. The real value lies in experiences and people around you. Those moments are so precious that no diamond ring can ever top it.
You find joy in little things and create memories that will stay with you forever, as opposed to this thing you bought a month ago and don’t even recall now.
9. You are great with money.
Since you’ve learned to live without money and don’t need much of it to be happy, you are great at managing it.
You have never had that financial sense of security, so you are determined to have it now.
You save up, you invest and you grow your nest egg.
You don’t spend much because you don’t feel the need to. You admire people like Warren Buffet who have a lot, yet enjoy a simple life and find the joy in pursuing your passions.
10. You are full of gratitude and gratitude leads to happiness.
Finally, you realize growing up poor taught you an important life lesson; you don’t need a luxurious mansion and millions in the bank to be happy.
You are used to a simple life, so anything that comes along to make it better is an unexpected bonus.
You are grateful for pretty much anything good that happens, and gratitude is the ultimate key to happiness.