See Introduction: FearBusters: Conquering our Fears
Part 1: Fear of Poverty
A few months ago, I was in the mountains of Colombia while helping a friend film a documentary movie. On our way to a shoot, we passed by a very poor, small town in which all of the people were in the middle of the street celebrating. Curious as to what was going on, we stepped out of the car and started to ask people what was happening. There were many kids in the streets and our cameras were like a magnet for them; pretty soon we were surrounded. We asked the kids what was going on, why everyone was celebrating.
I’ll never forget a beautiful little girl who had these sparkling, big green eyes look at us and say, “Because we got water!”
“What do you mean we got water?” we asked her.
“Well, we haven’t had water in a few weeks, and now the truck finally came with some water.”
“Wow!” I was stunned, but the real lesson from this experience is what the little girl said next.
She looked at us and said, “We haven’t had water but we’re happy.”
“How can you be happy in that situation?” we asked.
“Because you just have to be happy, no matter what,” she responded.
This little girl had an understanding of the world that many of us in the United States don’t have. She chose to be happy regardless of the difficult circumstances that surrounded her. Tin roofs, mud floors, no water and yet this little girl’s smile was big and brilliant. Her sprit was incredible!
So many of us are afraid of poverty. We’re afraid of losing our jobs, not being able to pay our bills and not being capable of sustaining our lifestyles. For many, this fear grips us to the extent that we suffer through miserable jobs despite living in a country where the opportunities are boundless, only limited by our own creativity and initiative. Sometimes this is necessary, however, many people simply accept their reality as fate and never seek to do something better and more fulfilling. The primary reason behind this is fear. This fear is so powerful that it does not allow for the individual in this situation to even think about looking for something greater. They’re stuck. What saddens me when I see people in this situation is that they’re willing to settle for a life that isn’t their best.
This is interesting because if we look in the Quran, Allah mentions His Name Ar-Razaaq (The Sustainer) only one time. In Surat Adh-Dhāriyāt, Allah says:
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me. Indeed, it is Allah who is Ar-Razzaq, the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength. [51:56-58]
What’s fascinating about these verses is that Allah mentions He is Ar-Razzaq right after stating our purpose and our main duty in life. Essentially, Allah says you do your job (to worship Him) and I’ll do mine (to Sustain). Subhanallah! Allah has already told us that He is the Provider, therefore we should focus on what we need to do and He will take care of the rest.
These are the kinds of verses that should give us great comfort and remove our fears. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, Allah mentions the word “khawf” in the noun form 26 times in the Quran, and almost all of them refer to the fact that Allah removes fear from those who believe and do good.
Principle to overcome this Fear: Where attention goes, energy flows
During the same trip to Colombia that I mentioned earlier, I had the great pleasure of speaking at a couple of universities. During my talks, I mentioned to the audience that if you’re not financially where you’d like to be and all you do is complain about your difficult condition, then you’re never going to get out of it! The way to change that condition is to change your thoughts, which leads to a very powerful principle in life that will help you overcome your fear of poverty.
Where attention goes, energy flows
What this simply means is that wherever you focus your mental and physical attention that is where your energy and the energy of the Universe will flow. If you worry day in and day out then your situation will never get better, because all of your attention is focused on the problem. Rather, use that attention to focus on opportunities and the likelihood of great things to come for you, and you will see your own energy and the energy of the universe go in that direction. You will start to think about your opportunities rather than your limitations. You will start to envision yourself in a strong financial state and actively seek ways to get there.
I know that there are cynics out there who will read this and think that all of it is foolish and nonsense hippy, karmic garbage. However, working with highly successful people day in and day out I have seen this principle work for all of them. Fulfilling a dream always starts with a dreamer knowing in their heart that there is a better life for them out there, and they’re willing to do what it takes to get there.
I will end this article by reminding you of what Allah said in the Quran:
Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah ,” and then remained on a right course – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. [46:13]
There is no need for us to fear poverty. Instead let’s focus on becoming financially successful.
Up Next – Part 2: Fear of Criticism