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It is Time for Americans to Stop Worrying and Envying What Other People Have-If You Want Affluence-Work for It!

Updated on February 26, 2013
gmwilliams profile image

Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in their myriad forms.


Stop Worrying About Your Neighbors and the Fancy Things They Got

This hub is in response to a question asked by a brother hubber. This question is why are people so concerned and worried about what other people have? The brother hubber further added that if a person wants something, he/she should work for it and stop envying the more affluent of our society.

An answer to this question is pure and simple- jealousy, jealousy, jealousy to the multillionth degree. There are many people out there with a poverty and struggle consciousness mentality. These people are at a certain socioeconomic level in life and do not believe that other people should be better off than they are. It seems to be in this country, there is pressure to be The Average Joe/Josephina. Yes, average regarding socioeconomic status, looks, and intellect.

Overachievers are oftentimes denigrated and derided in this society. People have been inculcated with the premise that it is good and moral to struggle. God forbid that people are affluent and wealthy for this means that they are living "extravagantly" and not struggling socioeconomically as they are.

Many people associate being more successful and more affluent with avarice, decadence, and greed. In the eyes of these Average Joes/Josephinas, since it is hard for them to make ends meet, everyone, without exception, should do the same. They equate being affluent with being "corrupt" and "spoiled" although affluent people usually work harder and smarter than everyone else to succeed.

There are people who envy the affluent and wealthy among us because it is believed that the latter got there by avarice, and cunning, not because of honest work and strategizing their goals. Envy of the wealthier classes of people are at an all time high. This is so ridiculous. Such people would rather spend their energy complaining about what other people obtained, have, and the reasons therefore rather than access their own respective lives, doing what they should do to obtain a more socioeconomically affuent lifestyle.

The reasons why many people are not as successful as they would like to be is that they are risk aversive. Yes, many people are risk aversive, often loving to live within their own particular comfort zone. They would rather live in a purgatorial and/or hellish misery than to venture out of that zone to live their unique, individual dreams. It seems quite perplexing and strange that some people who have the least, are the one most worried about and envious of their more affluent family members, neighbors, associates, friends, relatives, and celebrities.

Such people oftentimes gossip about how "wasteful", "hedonistic", and "extravagant" the lives of their more affluent and wealtheir counterparts are. However, these same people subconsciously wish that they could live a better life socioeconomically with no struggle. It is quite obvious that socioeconomic struggle is extremely glorified and deified in this society.

There are people who seem to delight in people "who can stretch a dollar", "live cheaply", and "can do without". Simultaneously, the wealthier and more affluent among us are criticized because they can afford to go to nice restaurants, shop at nice stores, and do ot have to worry about living from hand to mouth. Such wealthy and affluent people are the masters of their own fate, instead of being mastered by it.

Many people just complain, bemoaning their precarious socioeconomic fate instead of assessing and analyzing their lives to see what mistakes they have made and to correct and learn from them. Of course, there are exceptions-people who have been terminated and/or downsized from their jobs through no fault of their own. Yes, these people should be assisted until they become independent again. This is understood quite implicity by all thinking people.

Such lost souls are not the topic of discussion. There are working people who odiously hate their jobs and their general socioeconomic predictament. However, they elect not to be proactive regarding improving their socioeconomic situation so to speak.

It has been said that many people in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder have a mindset which is vastly different from the mindsets of those at the upper rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. The former are usually fatalistic and passive who believe that life circumstances are beyond their control. They usually accept what is handled out to them. They believe that some people are more successful because they are luckier than them i.e. whether it is family lineage, background, or better circumstances.

Poorer people further believe that the world is an unwelcoming place and that they cannot succeed because of "the man". They would rather blame outside circumstances than to take responsibility to make their lives better. You constantly hear them state that they are in the precarious socioeconomic circumstances they are in because " this is what have been dealt to them". They further inoculate this idea to their children and thus the cycle and the consciousness of struggle continues.

Poorer people refuse to acknowledge that they are the masters of their fate. They have been programmed to be recipients instead of being active participators in the game of life and success. Underachievement is de rigeur in such households. People with the stuggling and poverty consciousness have a mindset of constant misery and want. A more socioeconomically affluent and wealtlhier person is often beyond this person's purview and understanding. Poorer people just cannot fathom that there are people who strategize and work smart to achieve these dreams.

More affluent and wealthier people are viewed as " high and mighty" and "less authentic" by poorer people. The former are often derided by poorer people. This derision is analagous to the derision that low achieving students give to their higher achieving counterparts. In many poorer neighborhoods, people who are more ambitious are told to "stay in their place" and/or "to stop having these lothy goals". More ambitious members of poorer community are often told to "get real" or "not to sell out". Many highly intelligent and gifted poorer children are often bullied by their peers and sometimes their relatives when they express the desire to better their socioeconomic conditions by focusing on their education.

The phenonema for this is called the crab in the barrel mentality. This is when people in a precarious and/or disadvantaged situation do not want others in the same situation to succeed and better themselves. If the latter chooses to better his/her situation, the former employes a methodology to the latter in "his/her place".

Because the average poorer person is struggling, he/she often view education, especially higher education, is an utter waste of time. He/she elect not to view education as a pathway to a more socioeconomically secure lifestyle. He/she is busy living from day to day.

Many sociologists, psychologists, social scientists, and business theorists maintain that poorer person have day-to-day vision. This means that they view life only for its immediate results as they do not have the purview to conceptualize long term goals. They can see immediate gratification for their efforts and deem delayed gratification to be pointless.

More affluent and wealtheir people have an entirely different mindset. They believe that they MAKE their own destiny. They are long term strategizers and planners for their future. They believe in taking advantage of every opportunity available to realize their ultimate goals.

They are practioners in the art of delayed gratification. For example, a wealthier person may want a car; however, his/her children will be attending college next year. So, the wealthier person decides that the car can last for another five years and that his/her children's college education is more important and beneficial in the long run.

More affluent and wealthier intelligently prioritize their lives. They know what is important from what is just frivolous and have no long term gain. They know how to plan for the future which is something that poorer people elect not to do. More affluent and wealthier people have a prosperity consciousness. They believe that they are deserving of what life has to offer and will not settle for second best. They are, in fact, self-actualized people who in turn impart the same philosophy to their children. They believe that success is earned and not a product of luck.

In summation, the more affluent and wealthy among us are envied because there is a deification and glorification of the culture of being poorer and struggling. Having money is still subsconsciously viewed as evil in our society. The less affluent and struggling person is adored while the more affluent and wealthy are derided.

This underlying philosophy is why many people are obsessively concerned and worried about what, how and why regarding the possessions and lifestyles of their more affluent and wealthier relatives, friends, neighbors, and associates. Many people would rather commiserate about their precarious socioeconomic conditions and " the decadent extravagant. wasteful, and hedonistic" life of their more prosperous counterparts than actually accessing their own lives, taking responsibility for it and correcting it.

© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      GM Williams I am the the brother hubber that asked the question you answered. My last name is also Williams. hello feenix. nice to see you here. I asked the question because I have not only known, but am related to many people who sit around moaning about having nothing and asking why others had so much, as they smoked a joint or would take a big pull off a bottle of whiskey. While they are not reprentative of most poor people, they do seem to define the poor in spirit. Personally, I don't care what people have or don't have, therefore I have had a great deal and appreciated every bit of it, because I earned it. When someone would ask my father when he was going to get a new car to replace the one he had paid for, he would tell them when his rich uncle gets out of the poor house. My father never had much, yet he was one the richest people I have ever known. Why? Because he appreciated every thing he owned and was never ashamed of any of it, because he earned it. Thank you for taking the question and answering the way you did. Very passionate answers, also.

    • feenix profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello, gm,

      Presently, I live in Spanish Harlem. You're hip to that neck of the woods, right? Well, around these parts, there are a whole lot of "poor people" who do not envy the "rich" or successful at all. They are quite pleased with where they are in life and do not feel deprived at all. If you have not read it already, I suggest that you read my hub entitled, "There Ain't No Recession In My Neighborhood."

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To ruffridyer, simplegiftsoflove, and moondaisy: Thank you all for your insightful and intelligent responses. I concur with you all have said. Yes, there are a few poor people who are ambitious, work smart, and provide a better life for their families and children but they are in the minority.

      My parents came from extremely poor families yet they became middle class. However, the majority of poorer people do have a passive and fatalistic mindset which makes them believe that they are unlucky, will never get out of their socioeconomic predictament, and life is a constant uphill battle which they will lose. These are the people I am talking about. I love all of your comments and I hope that these comments add to the discussion. Thank you three again for stopping by for you three are always welcome.

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 

      7 years ago from London

      This is an interesting hub, and something you said at the beginning interests me especially. You said: "Overachievers are usually derided in this society."

      I was surprised to hear this from an American, as I thought that overachievers, and people who succeed were celebrated and encouraged in America. Knocking someone who is successful is sadly more of a UK trait, or so I had thought!

      That being said, I have met a lot of poorer people who have a great attitude and want to change their lives and those of their families, and really make something of themselves. (So that their kids can have a better childhood than they did). They look at people who are "more successful", and use them as a model for change.

      So I don't believe in generalising that all poor people have this poor attitude. And likewise, not all rich, successful people necessarily have a very good attitude.

      This is certainly a very thought-provoking hub.

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image


      7 years ago from Colorado

      Your comments are thought provoking, and I agree that those who whine might consider that no one really has time to listen to the negativity they breed. The people I know and love are working to make changes in their lives althogether, and don't fixate on what others have that they don't. They don't blame and they don't whine, and they don't DEMAND from the government or anyone else. When hard times come...they get creative and thrive. Oh, wait....Isn't that why America became great in the first place?

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      From my personal perspective I do agree with much that you are saying. It is easier to envy someone who has more than to attempt to elevate your own income level.

      I worked with a fellow employee many years ago who felt that people with more money than he had were evil. He often quoted the bible verse,"Money is the root of all evil."

      I pointed out to him the actual verse reads, "Love of money is the root of all evil." He didn't care, he continued to cite his shorter version.

      Another person I knew grew up around wealthy families. Her mother worked as a maid, she was poor and continued to live poor all her life. Being around rich people while her family remained poor colored her outlook. She was talking with her minister and he told her "Rich people have problems too." She relater this to my wife and I and said,"I don't consider having to choose between a blue Porsche or a red Porsche to be a problem!"

      That attitude is nonsense, Rich people have tragedies in their lives just like anyone else. Joseph and Rose Kennedy were very wealthy and his oldest son died in ww2, his next two son's, successful politicains were both assassinated.

      Anyway I agree with much of your hub.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I envy no one in fact I would be happy with a pretty simple life but I find life to be incredibly complicated and far from easy in attaining this so called American dream of equality. There is an incredible number of people who our educated and poor. Corporations now control most of all the jobs and I find this employment to be limited, unsustainable in terms of loyalty and they employ the work ethics of robots. If you think that attaining the American dream is easy today you have not applied for a loan lately or you have enough to gamble on attaining credit. Work a hard job for lousy pay and feel like a third class citizen for a while. Then dream of the day you might get to change it by any means possible and wonder if some people got it coming when they do. The destruction of the little guy has been going on for a long time. Where are the farmers and thousands of jobs that went over seas? Where are the unions where thousands risked their lives to simply receive a decent wage? All of this has happened in our life time and you wonder why people our poor. Take their homes a way because Wall Street Las Vegas gambled on monetary security and charge the tax payer and demand that the people pay for it. We fail to compare the truth. Let me sell you a car that does not run, take it a way from you and tell you to pay for it, after I lay you off and you were the one selling the car. Your boss told you to sell it, that the loan was good, that you have a job tomorrow, blamed you because you are the low middle man and he refuses all responsibility, laughs because the game was rigged when he bought off the politicians that gave him permission to rob you, and achieved the best profits in company history. The End.

    • DonDWest profile image


      7 years ago from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

      "Furthermore, while I was in college, I majored in sociology and studied the culture of poverty. Poorer people only think of the present pleasures. They do not believe in planning for their futures and in delayed gratification."

      That's an old argument for another time period. Maybe the layout of the labour market has something to do with it? Have you considered that fact? Putting in the time for long term planning losses it’s appeal when you can no longer work the same job/career for 20 to 30 years. The market is so volatile; that I would go on to say that having a long term plan is setting you up for disappointment. These days, you can't expect anything. You have to be flexible and move your feet.

      Maybe you can make a series of short term 2-3 year plans and build upon them step by step, but the classical "he has a 10 year plan" is now a dinosaur. I’m not saying indulge in the moment, but let’s be practical, it’s devastating to train in a career for six years when the actual job itself only lasts maybe six years.

      No offense, but I read some of your articles, and they come across as hopelessly and traditionally structured towards the upper middle class. I don't think this is the best way to claw your way out of poverty. Telling the poor to simply go to college and become doctors and accountants is unoriginal and short sighted. I would go on to say that based on the college graduation rates around the world, the poor have followed this advice and it has hurt them more than helped.

      Creativity, flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit are probably the best chances the poor have of clawing their way out. Sorry, you come across as a person with a sociology degree and no experience. We already have enough lousy Keynesian economists.

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To b. Malin: Thank you for your comments and for stopping by.

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To GNelson and DonDWest: Thank you for your comments. I was born into a very middle class family and was middle to upper middle class all my life. However, when I attended school, I came into contact with students from poorer and working class backgrounds. Those are the people I am talking about.

      I have verification about poor people from those students and some maternal relatives. I have discovered that poorer people do whine and do not exert the effort to better themselves although there are vast opportunities to do so. Many poorer people rather live in inertia and fantasize and heat the more affluent than to get a marketable education and strategize to make their socioeconomic lives better. The poor use excuses while the wealthier class use smarts and strategies.

      Furthermore, while I was in college, I majored in sociology and studied the culture of poverty. Poorer people only think of the present pleasures. They do not believe in planning for their futures and in delayed gratification. They only think about instant gratification. The poor, especially in America, are the way they are because they WANT to be. Thank you.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      7 years ago

      We used to call them the "Jones". I personally have Never Envied what someone else has. I feel if they worked to get where they are they should Enjoy Life to the Fullest. We may not be Rich, but we have what we want, we worked to get it, and we have our Health and are Happy. I also Raised my two Sons to strive and succeed...and they have. No one said Life is meant to be easier, but a lot depends on yourself.

    • DonDWest profile image


      7 years ago from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

      GNelson, took the words right out of my mouth.

      I have come across dozens of gmwilliams who make the same argument. Surprisingly, many of them are people poorer than me, the same poor people he chastises. I'm often amazed how the poor defend the rich with greater vigour than the rich defend themselves. A book on the topic is long overdue.

      As for getting back to the subject matter at hand, I have a lot of greater things to worry about than what possessions my neighbours have. Sorry, I don't have the time or energy to fret over such things. Besides, I have too much of an independent mind to worry about status symbols. I don't know anyone like that of gmwilliams describes, but I do know a few poor people of the working class variety who speak like gmwilliams.

    • GNelson profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      You must know a whole lot of whiners. I don't know anybody like that.


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