Poverty is not a lack of resources, it is a mindset that is unproductive


By Dr Tich Tanyanyiwa


IN DEALING with people I often pick up in their language that they have an attitude of negative entitlement. They feel that the government is responsible for their failure; their parents did not do the right things for them to make them succeed in life; their principal or teacher did not give them enough attention in school.

The list goes on and on. While all these arguments could have an element of truth, people seldom consider and acknowledge that the same school they are blaming has produced other successful people.

Yes the way parents deal with their children will have a significant bearing on a child’s destiny, or the education system that is implemented by the government, but I have seen great homes producing failures and successes under the same roof.

I have also seen great nations; schools and universities produce some of the most notorious delinquents. Consequently, it is important to learn the lessons that life offers us on a daily basis.

…Poverty is not a lack of resources but a mind-set that is unproductive!
The Proverb writer says, when he stopped by the field of the lazy man it preached a sermon to him and he listened and learnt something, which created in him an aspiration to succeed.

A lazy man with a wrong mindset

He saw that the lazy man had the wrong mind-set he felt entitled to a little more sleep than necessary, a little more off-days than is needed. The result was that poverty became a permanent resident in his home.

May I submit to you that poverty is not a lack of resources but a mind-set that is unproductive! The greatest challenge in my continent (Africa) is not a lack of resources, as we are the wealthiest continent on the planet.

We are wealthy in natural resources; we have great expanses of unused land our minerals have been the cause of wars for thousands of years; I could even say, we are wealthy in the fertility rates.

Africa needs to learn something from the “field of the lazy man” passage of scripture. We feel entitled to attention and gratuity from others and we have taken leave from thinking and creating ideas that will change our situation; the result of which is poverty.

It is time we served a notice of eviction on poverty and began to develop our minds. We might need to sleep less, take shorter leave from our thinking stations and invest more in developing our capacity to be productive.

The second scripture I want to share with you is similar and again is from the book of wisdom (Proverbs). Proverbs 13:23 (English Standard Version) say’s, The fallow ground of
the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.

To put it in simple terms, the freshly tilled or ploughed land of the poor has the capacity to produce much food but something happens that causes it to remain unfruitful. Injustice places a limitation on the capacity to produce.

Fruitfulness and productivity

Therefore, if we can deal with the injustice we can see fruitfulness and productivity in all fields.

As I meditated on this passage of scripture the Lord enlightened me that the mind is the field and when it is enabled and empowered to be productive it will yield a great harvest.

The injustice being spoken of is simply the oppression of the mind; it is an attack on the reproductive ability of an individual or group of people, which in turn limits their capacity to perform, be innovative and ultimately achieve.

If people are empowered in their minds they will be creative and fruitful in their lives. Our biggest reproductive organ should be our minds that are connected to our spirits.

May I therefore submit to you again based on the presented arguments, the failure of man is strongly linked to his/her unproductive mind; in fact that’s the root! Proverbs (23:7) also says; as a man thinks in his heart so is he.

Therefore the quality of thinking determines the quality of life. If we can transform the human mind we can enhance the quality of life they will live.

I live in a country that is recovering from an oppressive system of Apartheid, a system of governance whose ideology, legislation and policy decisions promoted discriminatory, racial (profiling) separation The Apartheid policies (designed by a minority White populous) had the underlying intention to keep a majority (predominantly Black) oppressed.

Of Apartheid and The Slave Trade

One facet of the system is that the mind development of the Black majority was suppressed. As such, they remained unproductive in improving their livelihoods (which was the deliberate intention), while they were made to work hard to improve the livelihoods of their oppressors.

There are strong similarities between Apartheid and the Slave Trade of old, one of the few differences being that in the case of Apartheid, chains were not put on legs and hands, rather, they were put on people’s minds (brains).

The unfortunate legacy of such oppressive systems is that even when freedom is granted, it is only paper-freedom, for mind (brains) might still be in chains long after.

The unfortunate legacy of such oppressive systems is that even when freedom is granted, it is only paper-freedom.

I am not in any way trying to incite political propaganda or racial intolerance I am merely trying to illustrate a point here that the quality of life changes when the quality of thinking changes.

The system programmed the minds of the slaves or the black majority (in the case of South Africa) to feel that they were a “lower breed of human being”, they did not deserve a better quality of life than that which was being offered and they were to be grateful to their ‘lords’ for their generosity.

The system of injustice (over years of disesteeming propaganda) engrained in their minds that they were not fit to ride in the same bus as their ‘lords’, they could not walk on the same pavement or sit in the same restaurant.

Please note, this had nothing to do with the buses, pavements or restaurants, which they were being segregated from but it had everything to do with paradigms or mindsets that were being created and how information was being processed.


Dr Tich Tanyanyiwa is Senior Pastor and Chief Executive Officer of Prevailing word Ministers. He was the main speaker at Proudly263Global Trade Fair and Launch. This series of selected chapters is drawn from Success Paradigms 101.



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