Not Rich Enough to be Poor


At a conference, I met a woman who had grown up in Russia. As we spoke about wealth and poverty, she quoted a Russian folk phrase that, translated to English, means "I’m not rich enough to be poor."

When I asked her about the meaning, she explained, "When you buy cheap things, cut corners or do anything with an intention less than full quality, you think you are saving money. But in the long run, such an act will cost you more. Cheap things break and you have to repair or replace them. Business or personal relationships that represent compromise cost you more peace, joy, and money in the long run than if you had claimed excellence. Acts based on poverty thinking only create more poverty conditions. So you are not rich enough to be poor-you cannot afford what living from a poverty mentality will ultimately cost you."

Consider what in your current life represents a wealth mentality and what represents a poverty mentality-not just money, but business, friendships, family and relationships. If you were to proceed from a sense of wealth rather than scarcity, what would you be doing differently?

I met another fellow who owned a plumbing company. He opened up the phone book and showed me a large ad his company had taken out in the yellow pages. At the bottom of the ad, after listing all the services his company offered, bold letters invited: Ask us why our prices are higher. So I asked him, "Why are your prices higher?"

"Our prices are higher because we use the best quality materials we can find," he replied. "Our repairmen are trained to be fast, efficient and courteous. We guarantee our work, and if there is any problem with the job we have done, we will come back and fix it until you are satisfied. That’s why our prices are higher."

Well, that was enough to sell me. I remembered when I had purchased services or materials just to get a good deal, and I later wished I had gone for quality rather than economy.

Your presentation of yourself or your business speaks for the level of quality to which you are committed. After several years of presenting my Mastery Training in Hawaii, we experienced a lull in attendance. People were not signing up in the numbers they had been, and I wondered what it would take to build the attendance again. Taking the lead from other businesses I had observed, I lowered the prices. When the program’s brochure was reprinted, I had a banner inserted at the bottom of the page that listed the tuition: "New Lower Prices."

When I showed the brochure to a business consultant, his feedback was, "I like almost everything about the brochure; you present the program in a very attractive light. The only thing I don’t like is this banner, "New Lower Prices." I think it cheapens what you are offering. The program is a class act. Don’t demean it by using advertising tricks that lesser companies use. If you have a quality program, let it stand on its own merit. You should charge commensurate to the value of the service you are rendering."

His comment rang true. I realized I had undervalued how much help the program was delivering, and it was truly worth the price originally stated. I reprinted the brochure with the original prices, and quickly the programs filled again-even increased in attendance. People do not mind paying for goods or services that they find truly helpful. Rather than playing price games, make your offering as valuable as possible and the money piece will take care of itself.

If you are considering or entering a new phase of your work, this would be a perfect time to commit to excellence, to doing everything in a classy way and not cutting corners. One way to affirm your wealth and deservingness is to make a meaningful investment in your chosen livelihood. What item or tool of trade would make your life or work easier or more fun or efficient? As I have been writing over the years, the computer industry, as you know, has hurtled at lighting speed with new hardware, software and peripherals. Every three years or so, some new model or gadget comes along that would make my work more efficient or fun. I have usually wondered if it was worth spending the money on this new equipment. Then, as I pondered, I would get around thinking, "Hey, man, this is the tool of your trade. If you were a carpenter, you would get the best hammer; if a pilot, you would want the safest and most efficient aircraft; if you were a painter, you would find the finest oils colors. So why skimp on the key vehicle of your profession and service? Then I would spring for the equipment, move to the next level in my work and be glad I did.

Certainly life is not about money; many wonderful things do not cost much, or are free. Indeed the best things in life have nothing to do with money. But money can be a powerful vehicle to practice and demonstrate intention, belief and moving energy. You are not rich enough to be poor. You are rich enough to be rich.

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Alan Cohen
Alan Cohen is the author of many inspirational books including A Course in Miracles Made Easy. Join Alan for his life-changing Holistic Life Coach Training beginning September 1, 2020. For information on this program and Alan’s books, videos, audios, online courses, retreats, and other inspirational events and materials, visit


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