6 common excuses of poor people you should avoid

Most poor people are full of excuses; they make excuses to justify their inability to get ahead in life. They often blame certain factors, events and people for being responsible for their predicament. Many of them actually think they would have been more successful IF ONLY…..they had richer parents… had formal education…. lived in a certain part of the world….weren’t physically challenged….if someone somewhere wasn’t against their progress….and if they had access to enough money….and so on.

But no one is actually responsible for your inability to succeed. The first step to a meaningful life is to accept responsibility for yourself. You have to accept that you are solely responsible for whatever you become in life. Someone may be responsible for your past or present predicament, which is only a temporary setback, ultimately you are responsible for your destiny.

Therefore allow yourself no excuses. This is not the time to make excuses, as none will suffice. Your fate must not be determined by other people’s actions, events or circumstances. If the situation you find yourself is beyond your control, then the power to choose your reaction to that situation must remain within your control.

Below are 6 of the most common excuses poor people give for their inability to make it in life. Never make them, because every time you make excuses you sabotage yourself.


  1. Circumstances of Birth. Some people think they are poor because of the circumstances of their birth – because they were born of poor parents into poor upbringing. They often blame their poor parents, background and upbringing for their poverty. They sometimes even claim they would have been richer and more successful had they been born into richer background. But let’s face it, it’s true that we live in an unequal world where some people are born into riches and wealth, and others into abject poverty and lack. Some into peaceful and conducive environment, and others into hostile and war-torn environment. Truth is we don’t have the power to choose our parents, background and place of birth, but we do have the power to determine what we make of our unique circumstances – the power to create our own future.

As we all know, examples abound of great men and women who despite being born into poor backgrounds went on against great odds to achieve outstanding success. You don’t have to be born with a golden spoon to eat with one. If you realize you weren’t born with a golden spoon, then work hard and buy one for yourself.


  1. Lack of Formal Education. Most poor people blame their poverty on their inability to attain formal education. They argue that if they only had the opportunity to go to school, they would have been richer and more successful. Most people in this category erroneously think they don’t have the same chances in life as their educated counterparts. They think lack of formal education is excuse enough for them to live their whole lives in poverty and mediocrity. But does it really take formal education to make it in life? Certainly not! Again the world is replete with stories of highly successful men and women who either dropped out of school, or never saw the four walls of a higher institution. That is because our educational system does not teach people to become successful, instead it teaches them laws, theories and paradigms they will never use in real life. Nowhere in our academic curriculum are we taught to discover our purpose, find our own voice, and grow to our potential. Instead our educational system teaches and prepares us to come out and look for jobs in the labor market and earn a salary.

Formal education is no guarantee for success. All the men and women that succeeded without formal education did so because they learnt something about success that is not taught in our schools.



  1. Environmental Limitation. Another common excuse of some lazy people is that they are poor because of the part of the world they live in. They blame their poverty on the ‘dryness’ of their environment. They argue that for them to succeed they would need to relocate to bigger commercial cities that offer greater opportunities for making money. But these people fail to realize that even in those same places they call ‘dry’, some other people are making it really big. Just because you failed to see opportunities in a place doesn’t mean there are no opportunities there.

In Africa for example, many young people see Europe and America as the ‘Promised Land’ that is flowing with milk and honey. These people think they stand a better chance of making it overseas than they do here in Africa. In fact the dream of the average African youth is to travel overseas, and some are so desperate to the extent that they are willing to go there through the ‘back door’. But the question for us is what have you done with the few opportunities that your present location/environment offers?


  1. Physical Disability. Some people lament that they are poor because of a certain disability they have. Some of these people even think physical disability gives them a right to be poor and to beg for arms to survive. My heart breaks every time I go on the streets and see different kinds of physically challenged people begging to make a living. Even more saddening is the fact that many of them have given up on themselves, surrendering to a life of defeat, self-pity, and begging. Even worse, the society seems to excuse these people from failure on account of their disability. But truth is, a physically challenged person is no less gifted than any normal person. There is no physically challenged person that does not have an innate ability, talent or potential to excel at a specific thing.

Physical disability does not disable a man’s creativity and imagination. A man may be physically challenged but as long as he’s still capable of thinking with his mind, then he has within him all that it takes to become whatever he wishes to become.

Again stories abound of physically challenged people that have made positive contributions to their societies despite their disabilities.


  1. Opposition from External Forces. Some people simply claim that somebody is responsible for their poverty and inability to make progress in life. They blame their poverty on the opposition they face from their ‘haters’, as if they are the only ones facing opposition.

But opposition is meant to make you stronger, tougher and wiser. Dreams attract opposition and the bigger the dream the bigger the opposition. Great achievements don’t come cheap; they do come at a price. There is no true hero of our time that was not a fighter. Behind the success stories of great men were great battles. Challenges are a part of life, determine to fight your way through every opposition you may encounter, because without a fight there can be no victory. If you never have to fight you may never win a victory.

I have learnt that people may do whatever they want to you, but you have the power to either succumb or rise above the opposition. You aren’t unsuccessful because someone hates you, you are because you chose to.


  1. Lack of Capital. This is perhaps the most prevalent excuse given by poor people. Many of them think they are limited by money, they believe they have wonderful ideas but don’t have the money to actualize those ideas. But truth is you aren’t so limited by money as you are by your thinking. Money isn’t the principal thing that guarantees success in life, wisdom is the principal thing. When you get wisdom you will know how to get a lot of things done with little or no money. It was Denzel Washington who said, “It’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with what you have.”

For more on this, please read my article, What to do When You Don’t Have Capital

Hilton Etakoh is the author of You Are Too Gifted to be Poor.  He covers career, creativity, entrepreneurship, and personal growth.  Twitter: @HiltonEtakoh, Facebook: @Hilton Etakoh, website: http://hiltonetakoh.com/

(1) Comment

  • Chinonso Jaja November 1, 2017 @ 7:53 pm

    Great article, i read and i was blessed. Big ups

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *