Escaping the Poverty Mindset
“Haters goin’ hate” - it’s a phrase I first heard in hip hop songs in the ‘90s. Steve first saw the phenomenon in action as a little kid growing up on the Massachusetts coast putting crabs in a bucket. If a crab tried to climb out of the bucket, the other crabs would grab his legs and try to pull him back down to the bottom with the rest of them. Who did he think he was, trying to climb out of the bucket? Did he think he was better than us?
Anyone trying to escape the “poverty mindset” and move ahead into financial independence is going to encounter the Haters. It can be a shock for landlords. Most of us are just regular joes & janes with average incomes trying to better our situation by investing in rental property. Haters can be tenants who think you are The Rich and therefore don’t really need their rent money. You’re only on their case about paying the rent because you’re inherently greedy, right?
I once had a tenant who actually blamed us for her lost job. She waited around for our maintenance guy to show up and was late for work. Even though there was no need for her to have waited around – our maintenance people have keys – and even though there were obviously other issues that led to her termination at work - she thought it was fine to withhold her rent. We ended up in eviction court and of course won our case. She actually tried to file a countersuit for her lost wages! This is an example of somebody who is stuck in the poverty mindset. Everything happens to her. Nothing is her fault. Her problems are all caused by other people.
Another tenant inspired this blog post – he’s the one who got me thinking about Haters this week. For the past several months he’s been continually behind on his rent. Usually pays around the 20th. He’s lived in our unit for three years and we’ve never had any real problems from him other than this. We’ve spent thousands of dollars improving his unit. He wanted heat on his sunporch so we got it out there. He wanted extra cabinets in his kitchen – done. He wanted supplemental propane heat because the electric baseboard was getting expensive. That would set us back $1250, but we agreed to do it by October. So we gave $600 to the contractor as a deposit, and asked the tenant where October’s rent was. In the mail. Nope. Text me Monday and we’ll meet up. Nope. Then all of the sudden he was moving out by the end of the month. Because we never kept our promises. The place is a dump. We’re slumlords who never fix anything. And reading my blog was the last straw for him – how DARE we fix houses up to sell them while he lives in such deplorable conditions?
Yup. Haters goin’ hate.
This was the same guy who flipped out when he found out we’d listed the property for sale. How DARE we do that when he himself made an offer just this past spring? Never mind that his offer was about $30,000 less than we would ever accept!
Look, dude, I’m sorry your life isn’t working out for you. I’m sorry seeing my blogs about building our American dream pisses you off. But none of this was handed to us. We are working our asses off seven days a week to make it happen. The risks we are taking – and the debt we are racking up – is staggeringly scary. My advice would be to get the fuck out of my way before I roll over you like a fucking steamroller. Because you are not going to stop me and if you try you will be fucking flattened.
OK. Breathe. Easy, Ginger. Try not to snap.
People like him just infuriate me. Nobody is going to get flattened. I am a peace-loving, law abiding citizen. The most I will do is evict him in court, and go after him for any damages to the apartment he leaves behind. I’ll be able to garnish his wages from work, and his girlfriend’s as well since she’s on the lease, too. But hopefully there will be no damages. He will just leave and go be unhappy somewhere else. And we will find a new tenant quickly for the unit, which is actually a rather nice 3 bedroom half-double in a desirable neighborhood. If that happens, then nobody has to get sued. Or flattened.
Don’t be an Angry Landlord!
I’ve been so quick to anger lately. The crabs have been trying to pull me down to the bottom of the bucket and I’ve been letting that get to me. This needs to stop or I’ll be stuck in the poverty mindset I was born into, forever.
Haters goin’ hate. I need to take a page from the hip-hop playbook and rise above it. I can’t waste any energy trying to convert the Haters. They’re goin’ hate – that’s what they do!
One of the habits of successful people – get up early every morning for some Me Time
I get up at 5 every morning just so I can have some quiet time to meditate before the day comes crashing in. I’ve been using that meditation time to subtly try to change my mindset every single day. I do 15 minutes of yoga, then write in a journal until my daughter comes downstairs to cuddle on the couch with me. It’s an amazing way to start a day. I read the daily entry in Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich Every Day. I say his self-confidence mantra, part of which is:
“I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude towards others can never bring me success.”
That’s a tough one. Being a landlord can make you real cynical, real fast. We must fight this tendency!
Don’t be a Cynical Landlord
Love for all humanity – even the haters! Love in the form of compassion. When I sit and meditate about it, I can truly feel compassion for my soon-to-be former tenant. His life is in such a state that he blames us for his troubles? What will become of him when he moves out and his troubles continue without us? Will he finally learn it starts with him, or will he just find someone else to blame? Someday, when I finally become successful at the real estate game, I envision myself becoming an inspirational writer, speaker and life coach. Maybe I can help pull him out of that poverty mindset. But the decision is his alone.
Watch your friends – and your family, too!
One more word about Haters – sometimes they can be the people closest to you. Your friends. Your family. All of the success seminars I’ve been to say the same thing – look at the five people you spend most of your time with. They are a reflection of your current mindset. If they’re sitting around blaming The System for all their problems, it’s time to find new friends. OK, easy enough. But it’s not quite so easy to replace family.
I’m lucky in that respect. I was born into poverty and the scarcity mindset, but my family never actively tried to stifle my ambition. My mother is convinced we’ll all be slaves under Communist rule if we don’t vote for Trump, but I just smile and give her a hug and go about my life. However, I know some people with family members who are actively trying to sabotage their success. In real estate, as in any venture, there are risks and sometimes you’re going to lose money. Those family members are the first out with the I Told You So’s. If they’re in your family, you know who they are. Do your best to protect your dreams from them.
The best defense against the Haters is Love. Love for all humanity, like Napoleon Hill says. Love for yourself. Love for your vision of success.