“Poverty is a state of mind.” Words uttered by a friend during a conversation about the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 1 (No poverty). There and then it hit me that poverty has 2 dimensions, physical and psychological. Before then the psychological dimension of poverty never came out to play in poverty related thoughts and talks.

According to Fell. B and Hewstone. M (2015), study on group stereotypes indicate that perceptions of people in poverty are immensely negative; labeled as failures and incompetent. These stereotypical labels trigger negative emotions that may activate passive harm behaviors to the poverty stricken. Such negative stereotypes of society on poverty are contributing factors to the potential severe obstruction of attempts to reduce poverty. This basically sums up my concern that our attempts to reduce poverty are being destructed by the majority of our mental make-up. We all have a part to play in helping the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reduce poverty worldwide.

Despite psychological egoism being widely perceived as an empirical claim, I stand to agree with the claim. The modern day world is very competitive and highly motivated by self-interest consciously and subconsciously. However one may say the human race can be categorized into two groups with different motivations; those that are bluntly selfish in their works and those that are genuinely about engaging in work that promotes the welfare of others alongside their own welfare (altruist). Because of our human mechanism that desires to succeed and at times tends to naturally wish success for others, but not if that success brings the other more fortune than theirs, sometimes helping people seems like or becomes a stumbling block to that success we want to attain.

I’m just saying let’s adjust the psychological dimension of poverty by eradicating stereotypes on poverty and its victims. Also by dimming egoism and distinctly practicing altruism.

Eradicate Stereotypes by:

  1. Develop an interest of interacting with people whom you have an opinion of, whether negative or positive. By interacting you get to know the truth that will either prove your preconceived notion right or wrong.
  2. Encourage others to keep an open mind and interact to leave no room for stereotypes.
  3. If you have the facts, educate those who are stereotyping.

Dim Egoism, Bright Altruism by:

  1. Educate and Empower victims of poverty.
  2. If you spot talent in a poverty victim help enhance it to a level that will bring them out of poverty.
  3. Give what you can, in whatever form.
  4. Say no to corruption especially one that steals from hardworking victims of poverty.

Success is not for one man only. You’d be surprised that greater success is derived from acts of selflessness.  Miss Ludo

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary:


  • a doctrine that individual self-interest is the actual motive of all conscious action



  • concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself:  seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others


  • unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others


Fell. B and Hewstone. M (2015). Psychological perspectives on poverty: A review of psychological research into the causes and consequences of poverty. Retrieved from

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