Why are most South Africans poor and unemployed? Let me tell you it’s not because there is no opportunity out there, SA has a well-developed economy with lots of opportunities as we have seen from the foreigners who just waltz through a hole-in border fence and are able to get something going. Most experts would attribute this to ideological barriers or a “poverty mindset”. That is why there are organisations such as WORK 4 A LIVING. That offers the following foundational course, before you can take any other course you need this, any jobs that go via  WORK 4 A LIVING require this. This should probably be a national program integrated into the school curriculum but politicians won’t allow that.

Ideological barriers
Poverty mindset – Poverty mentality is a mindset that people develop over time based on a strong belief that they will never have enough money.
Spirit of entitlement – A sense of entitlement is a personality trait that is based on a person’s belief that they deserve privileges or recognition for things that they did not earn. In simple terms, people with a sense of entitlement believe that the world owes them something in exchange for nothing. Note: Sounds familiar hey?
Dependency syndrome – An attitude and belief that a group can not solve its own problems without outside help. It is a weakness that is made worse by charity. Note: This is why I am opposed to social grants and UBI, the only social program I believe in is a job. Dignity through hard work.
Morals & ethics – the beliefs of the individual or group as to what is right or wrong. Ethics are the guiding principles which help the individual or group to decide what is good or bad. Note: We would have had a very vibrant small business community if it wasn’t for a lack of this. Human nature, unethical greed have seriously harmed our environment.

WORK 4 A LIVING further goes on to explain:

Few people raised in a Western culture understand what a poverty mindset is, or realise that many communities worldwide still live with this thinking. We see the effects – unemployment, crowded living, squalor and litter, violence and societal ills, hopelessness mixed together with a sense of entitlement – and want to help, but often the situation just seems to get worse when we do.

People with a poverty mindset mostly do nothing, think they have nothing, and wait for other people to help them through life. The grants and charity that poor people rely on, are normally just enough to keep them alive, but do very little to help them out of multi-generational poverty.

WORK 4 A LIVING’s founder, Ena Richards, shares her experience with the poverty mindset: “When we first started out, we trained people with good work ethic and skills and found them jobs. We thought this would be enough, but we failed miserably. People quit their jobs, stole from their employers and worked without excellence.

“Poverty thinking is pervasive. We would find two communities, divided by as little as a single road – in the one community, everyone works and thinks it is good to work and they prosper; but just across the road in the other community, no one works, no one wants to work and people live off grants and crime”, Ena adds.

There will be a lot to relate to if you have ever hired a South African worker, but even if you haven’t, just go onto social media, you will see people (usually unemployed) sitting on Twitter the whole day and you will see entitlement on a scale like you have never seen before wanting free this and free that, people claiming to be Marxists who probably have never read Karl Marx and I’m pretty sure they would either shit their pants from the work entailed or go hungry due to laziness if they were to ever find themselves on a collective farm.

So why am I saying all this? We, not employees, I mean if you here I assume you a capitalist, otherwise I don’t know what you doing here. But entrepreneurs can also develop mindsets that lead to their failure, even experienced entrepreneurs if they get past the initial basics they eventually are undone by greed (often accompanied by unethical behavior) usually caused by living above their means (and needing money to “plug holes” all the time). Below are some things I have noticed common with first-time or new entrepreneurs.

I have studied many failed entrepreneurs who bought into business opportunities over the years and most of them were undone by the following: not taking responsibility for their actions, no critical thinking, and no common sense. People who think that funding or lack of soft loans is the issue don’t know what they are talking about. You can give out interest-free loans and the entrepreneur will still fail if they don’t have those three overall characteristics. Yes, you need business and technical know-how depending on the business but with those three you can be successful by how you approach and do things.

Now, why don’t people have what are considered to be basic adult characteristics? I don’t know some blame our education system but who really knows for sure.

While some people cannot comprehend things due to the language barrier, after all only a fraction (less than 10% at last census) of South Africans are English first language and some will maybe struggle with certain nuances in the language, there is not much that can be done besides say it is up to the individual whether they want to use the language or not. If not just go somewhere where they speak your language.

Just to get something quickly out of the way:

Not everyone can be an entrepreneur
Many people turn to self-employment due to desperation because they cannot find a job and they living in poverty etc. I have said this before I no longer believe that entrepreneurship is the panacea to our problems especially with the criminals still in power in Pretoria. But you are an adult and I cannot tell you what to do. There are many reasons why many cannot become entrepreneurs most of it has got to do with mindset (with some just being plain old laziness). And one of the most common characteristics is critical thinking and common sense.


The basic mindset of business success
I have spoken many times of psychological barriers like the ones mentioned above that keep people poor before, we passed that now but you still need to know whether you have these characteristics or not. And if you don’t have them it is better not to get into business at least not on our platform. Nobody is going to help you, you have to take responsibility for your own actions. This is a mollycoddle-free zone.

Processing whether a business opportunity is good for you
Now we onto the basic things you need to be able to process a business opportunity in your head.

I mentioned last time that when you look into getting involved in a business, any business you need to read the who opportunity and then sit down and think for a moment  don’t act off the top of your head. If you don’t know what that means. Here is the definition:

Macmillan Dictionary: immediately and without thinking very much.

Collins Dictionary: If you say something off the top of your head, you say it without thinking about it much before you speak, especially because you do not have enough time.

 

Here are the basics you need to have/know:
Common sense
Critical thinking
Taking responsibility

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is defined as the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.
– Beware of people that are telling you what (they think) you want to hear

South Africa’s dire economic situation, sky-high unemployment, and widespread poverty have created a lot of desperate people grasping at any business opportunity without sitting down and thinking for a moment. There are also people that are worried about the future, their family, possibly emigrating, retirement, etc. and want to make good money to do so. This makes you an easy target for people that knows how desperate you are.

A critical thinker can learn to think carefully about what they’re looking at. Someone who is less critical may share dubious information while thinking it’s true, while a critical thinker is going to look at that information and try to figure out if it’s genuine. Critical thinking involves other traits, such as reflecting, reconstructing, and looking at factors other than what’s directly in front of them.

Use common sense: If something is too good to be true it probably is. There is no easy money with no risk out there (except government tenders and here we don’t do business with the government only private business).

It is not hard to convince someone of something that they want to hear and judging by the myriad of “investment” scams that South Africans fall victim to we know what South Africans want to hear: quick and easy money with as little effort as possible. We don’t allow or do that here.

Now critical thinking is not just about scams but also about getting involved with a business opportunity that is not right for you and should be used in every single deal both from the vendor and customer perspective. Always sit down and think for a moment if you are told how great the opportunity is and the possible profits ask yourself is it possible.

For example, I was recently at home in Cape Town and the discussion of the “R5000 car” came up, despite knowing nothing about cars I immediately called bullshit that a car can retail at R5000. It is just not possible. The components required, the engine powerful enough to propel the occupants, the assembly (we certainly don’t have the labour and scale to assemble it here), safety features, the shipping costs (factoring in weight and size), and import duties to manufacture a car that can retail for $350 US dollars to use the currency of international trade it is just not possible. I was right, without having heard about it before, turns out the car in question actually costs 15x that at R75 000 and only has a 1 star NCAP rating.  But there were actually people on Twitter already saving up for their R5000 car. It’s just unbelievably sad.

So critical thinking very important and clearly lacking not only with the Twitter fantasy islandlanders but looking at the people who have fallen for investment and business scams I am talking scams that are so obvious, returns that are impossible. If anybody promises you a large return with “no risk” run away screaming. According to Instagram, we have Siyabonga from Evaton outperforming Warren Buffet with no risk. Not possible. End of story. If you don’t want to believe me about the nonsense that people fall for I would suggest watching the Rydall Ficks Show. The unrealistic return scams that people fall for in South Africa are so ridiculous that it is hard to believe it is real. Not even forex trading houses with MIT-educated traders using supercomputers are returning that. Stop the madness!

Not taking responsibility: the problem or failure is always someone elses fault.
You need to take responsibility for your actions or you will never succeed (or struggle very much). Nobody can force you to do something unless they have a gun to your head or blackmailing you with something you don’t want to happen. Don’t do something then when it goes bad you blame others for your failures. Yes, sometimes it might very well be the fault of others. But did you practice critical thinking going in? When you blame others for your failures it creates a weak mindset that won’t make you try as hard as you can because you now have a default to blame.

Common sense
Meaning: good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.
Why is this so absent in the majority of South Africans? There is no cure for a lack of it. But it is suggested to always be learning, keep a phone with a browser window open at all times, and Google. I don’t really know what else can be done the only way to officially teach it is to small children I don’t think it can be taught to adults that don’t have any. Don’t let desperation or greed make you throw your common sense out the window.

TBC