I envy dumpster divers, especially freegans. For those of you who don’t know, freegans collect their food and nourishment from discarded food (think of restaurants who have to throw all that lovely food at the end of each day). Essentially, they can live their lives from other people’s trash. In their bags (if they have one), you can find only the bare necessities. By definition, they are considered poor.

How does that phrase go?

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?

It’s a great phrase. It’s a good skill to recognise value in other people’s things as they are thrown away. For some, it can get annoying: thoughts of people wasting things all the time, finding items that can be reused.

But not everybody can recognise value of their own items, and by the time we do it may be too late. At any moment in our lives, we could lose the things we take for granted.

This is why being poor can be a good lesson: we start to notice the differences between our needs and wants. I’m not saying to give all your money away right now, but you can emulate a poor environment by limiting certain things. Question: What do you need to survive?

You need barely anything to survive.

Remember: you as a human being only need the very basic necessities. Shelter, food, water, companionship. Further pushed by modern society is electricity: to an extent, if you’re looking for work as well, access to the internet is an even greater advantage.

Really, if you think about it, you don’t need so much. You could list just about 10 things to put in a bag and live off that bag for the rest of your life. We are born into an environment where everything is so accessible that we take them for granted, and that feeling blinds us from what is really important. So, what’s important to you now?

You can learn what is important now.

When you have barely anything, lacking all the luxuries of a standard middle-class life, your priorities will shift.

To the average consumer in modern society, they would have so many avenues to luxury. From social media, social circles introduce content that attracted them in the first place, even influencing them enough to share it, not really regarding their values.

Take them away, and your priorities change to a primal direction: instead of a phone to waste your seconds away, you want to find fire for warmth. Shelter from the rain, money for food and water, and food itself.

That’s important now. Not the dumb videos that you watch, or the success porn pictures you find on Instagram.

The things that fulfill you. Connections. Memories. Love. That is important.

You can be rich with these few things.

You can learn how rich you are.

Imagine your house burns down. Car explodes. The things you possess, gone. What are you left with when you have no material things?


You are responsible for your mood and your actions. You are responsible for your reactions to everything that happens in life. If you set yourself in a poor setting, how would you react?

You can learn how rich you are by seeing how happy you are with nothing to your name. Are you enjoying life in spite of that? Is life still as colorful as it’s made out to be?

If you’re not happy with yourself even if you have nothing, then here’s the hard truth: you depend on objects for happiness when there is something more important in your life.


And you should be grateful.

You learn how to be grateful.

You can learn how to be grateful for being alive. You can learn how to be grateful that you’re breathing, walking, eating, drinking, living. You have these hobbies, you have these interests that you pursue.

When we are poor, we are denied the opportunity to chase after these things. To be poor in fulfilment is a tragedy.

Now that you realise that, be grateful for everything around you. Be grateful for yourself first, then everything else. Don’t take anything else for granted.

The homeless learned this the hard way.

You become aware of the homeless.

These scenarios that I’ve described above, they’re happening right now. The homeless are in many places, and most not to the public eye.

You gain an awareness of the struggles these people are going through, and you gain an appreciation and respect for their efforts. They go through this everyday: can you?

Ponder on that thought and maybe you’ll feel compelled to help others. That’s great. Stay grounded and real.

It’s one of the best shock events to stay grounded

A shock event is a term I use to describe events that teach you a lesson the hard way. Examples include:

  • The loss of a family member
  • Getting fired from a job
  • Breaking up with your significant other

To lose everything and become poor/homeless is considered a shock event. It teaches you a whole list of lessons. You’ll stay grounded that way, and become more self-aware of who you are as a person. You can learn more about yourself with less things.

That way, you’ve tasted the worse and fought back against fear. We have an inherent fear against the unknown. Emulating a poor environment can get you acquainted with that unknown fear, and you will learn that it gets better from now on. Everything gets better from now on.

And that’s okay: with nothing, you can only go up. You can get richer financially, but most importantly, internally. Starting now.