Mindset: The Only Thing Standing Between You and Success

How is it possible that someone can jump through Patricia de Lille’s R37 million border fence with only the clothes on their backs and be successful in SA while most of the locals are poor, living in squalor and wallowing in their self-pity? Mindset!

Mindset can take many forms and it requires many things to come together to be successful. Starting at the bottom I have spoken about ideological barriers (poverty mindset, spirit of entitlement,  dependency syndrome, morals & ethics) [see The right mindset to take advantage of Business Opportunities] as well as the higher-level of  focus and clarity [see The Right Mindset and Mentality to Start a Business]. The gist is that you need to take responsibility for your life and apply your mind fully to be successful.

I have railed against South Africans poor mindset and their quick-buck mentality many times in the past, people ignore my advice because unlike social media influencers I don’t molly-coddle by telling you what you want to hear. I tell you what you need to hear as someone that became successful despite growing up poor and having no political connections. So ignore my advice at your own peril. I don’t care.

Today I will  tell a story and highlight the mindset in bold. 

We will start today at the guy jumping through the fence, he knows that he is not going to be rich overnight. His first work or business will be a means to an end, he has to be patient and play the long game because he is poor with no money. He will use effectuation theory (without even knowing what it is) both the “bird in hand” starting with what he has right here right now, which could be something as basic as a skill he learnt from a missionary that was crisscrossing Africa spreading the gospel along with some basic manual skill. Another part of effectuation theory he will adopt is “who you know” he will start look up people he know from the old country that already has some traction in SA. South Africans seem to think the “who you know” part of effectuation theory means the person you know must be in a prominent position. This is not the case it can be anyone that can further your cause whether client, partner etc. This effectuation theory that are making the foreigners succeed in SA above locals is just heuristics, common sense but very hard if you don’t want to apply your mind and put in the work.

If you are patient and have a means to an end mentality you are able to operate under less profit margins and get business by undercutting competitors. Which is what most foreigners from the rest of Africa are doing in SA today. It doesn’t just apply to business services, we see it in retail shops we even see it in unskilled labour.

Lesson to learn
It is going to take a while to become successful you are not going to drive a nice car or have a nice house overnight. And yes many most pretty girls are not going to want to sleep with you when you poor. And your motivation will surely be tested when things are taking long and your only companion is loneliness. Don’t let this weaken your resolve you too can poop in the mouths of gold-digging slay queens one day. Persevere friend.

Now I want to interject here by bringing up one of the biggest mindsets of failure – blaming others for your problems. This guy could have stayed in Zimbabwe and blamed Robert Mugabe or ZANU-PF for his problems and instead lay around in Harare (the capital not the squatter camp) and drink the juice of used nappies to get high but he gets up despite all the odds against him. I spoke last time about blaming Jan van Riebeeck for your problems in The Only Property Business I Will Start Right Now. The government is sitting on enough land to give everyone a piece but that would make it real and its not supposed to be real. Because you will still fail because idle land is worthless and both expensive and difficult to monetize and then who are you going to blame? The real problem: The ANC.

Many people blame others for their problem, some people who grew up poor with single mothers blame their fathers for abandoning them as the cause of their problems. I too have been guilty of this, its convenient. But even though I was dealt a shitty hand in life, if I fail I say it’s because I wasn’t good enough and I move on.

Lesson to learn
Blaming others is a cop-out that don’t allow you to take responsibility for your life and learn from your failures to ultimately be successful.

Others making excuses for you 
Then there is the other side of the coin: others making excuses for you.
This takes many forms, in SA it is rich white liberals, brown intellectuals and black Uncle Tom’s (the latter two) who were gatkruiping with the previous dispensation in order to live well who are making excuses as to why black people are poor, it is also seen in other races of people who grew up comfortable and affluently. It makes you feel better about yourself when people make excuses as to why you are a failure in life. It validates the logic that it is not your fault and the situation is out of your control. This is also a popular trope on social media in order to get lots of followers the “entrepreneur influencers” *cough* *cough* like to blame external factors why you are poor. They say you can’t get out of poverty by your own efforts and then usually try to sell you something which they say will. They say pulling you up by your bootstraps is bullshit as part of an upsell. We see this locally by people pushing fractional investing as a way out of poverty saying things like “its who you know” inferring there is some cabal conspiring to keep you poor and they will get you access to this cabal like it is some kind of Bilderberg Group. They use the “It’s Not What You Know. It’s Who You Know” and they are selling you access to this group of networked people, let me tell you a secret: you can become successful without connections and networking. I don’t even like people and I have lots of money! And there are many entrepreneurs all around the world that thumb their nose at their country’s business elite only to be derided as  “nouveau riche“. Guess what? I can go buy a house in Stellenbosch right now and put a gold plated toilet in and nobody can do shit!

Mini Lesson
Nobody is colluding against you. You can maybe pretend that they are to motivate you so you can “stick it to them” but don’t go out an attack statues as I am certain that statues can’t collude against you.

This making excuses for others is bullshit people say to make them feel better about their privilege. And as someone who grew up 6 people in a one-bedroom council flat I have no sympathy for poor people, beggars or the homeless. Sometimes things are out of people’s control such as mental illness. But the only thing preventing you from getting up the chips are down is inside your head. And it is difficult and brutal. If my mother knew how hard I worked she would have kept her legs closed. But in South Africa where we have no social welfare safety-nets you have no fucking choice. If you depend on the government to help you then you really fucked.


I want to finish this off by saying  keep your eye on the goal, block out distractions. Delayed gratification is where its at. Peace out.

Image credits:
bopheloandstuff, peterfisk.com, Know Your Meme