A 5-Step Formula to Advance Your Condition: A Pathway Out of The Slum

Updated: Nov 2, 2021


"The ghetto is not where you live. The ghetto is inside your mind. And anyone that tells you that you can’t get out of the ghettos of your own mind has no idea what they are talking about" – Frederick Lenz

"It takes nothing to stay in poverty, but everything to break free from it" – Odowu Koyenikan


In the content of a recent article in the magazine "Psychology Today", author, John A. Johnson describes the card game of poker as a metaphor for life. In consideration for this concept, we must acknowledge that not all individuals are dealt the same hand within the forthcoming of their existence.

There are some who happen to be born into a life of luxury or comfort, providing easier paths to profitability and amenity while others are left to deal with less fortunate beginnings. Nevertheless, if Johnson’s statement holds any sense of truth within it, then we must recognize and attest to the fact that good starting cards help, but they do not determine if you’ll win the game. In fact, they don’t even determine if you’ll survive!

Crime prevails in the slums; jails fill up in majority with individuals from the lower class and the cycle continues. Why is it that this seemingly never-ending pattern rambles on like an armored freight train, free from disturbance through the night? How can we as a people take a stance in reversing this unfortunate course of perpetuation? What can the individual who is dealt with a hand that is less than favorable do to get themselves into a more prominent position?

These important questions may hit a nerve, but they seem to continuously lack serious consideration. The avoidance in dealing with such issues opens the door for more harm and destruction to infect the lives of those around us. Consequently, it will take more than just a one-legged approach to combat this problem as both society and the individual must be called at some point to take responsibility for what is and for what has become.

1. Adopt and Accept a Warrior Mindset

This world can seem to be a harsh and unfair place, yet by honestly seeking to face and find the truth within our situation, we can begin to make things right. When one opens their eyes to the truth, they begin to notice that there is a way out and there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Every great individual that I have known or read about has either been born into significant hardship or they have encountered it along their course. Life is filled with ups and downs. Some are granted more difficulty than others but the individuals that rise to greatness use the strife of their past to callus their souls and they become better because of their difficulty. Such figures stood firm in their convictions and advanced when it counted.

The door of opportunity may be more difficult to enter or reach for those born into adversity, but desire and will can overcome all boundaries. It remains especially important for individuals born into hard times to adopt and acquire a certain type of mindset and identity early in life that will prepare them for what must be done.

"If I have no choice but to fight, then I must become a fighter. I will do whatever it takes and quitting is not an option!" The true acceptance of this motto and the absence of common blame that is placed upon others will begin to plant the seed of a rugged and accountable mind which is necessary to persevere through the midst of struggle.

When one acknowledges other positive influences through history who have gone through similar circumstances. When he or she reads and educates themselves about the lives of these figures, they will realize that they too can make it out!

Society rewards those who possess value, and we can become more valuable by working on ourselves! You can separate yourself from the majority by reading and by educating yourself consistently as the acquisition of ideas and information through books and educational resources can arm one with the tools necessary to advance their situation.

2. Do the Opposite of Those Who Surround You

It can be difficult to perceive of a life outside of your immediate circle. We are raised in households and neighborhoods that dangle and illuminate pathways in front of us that initially appear lustrous but almost always end up in ruination. It remains our responsibility to decide and to understand if the direction that others have traveled will in fact lead us to a desirable destination.

Are the individuals around you leading a life that you would truly desire? Are they existing with eminence and bliss or have they learned to settle? Have those around you chosen a path that will likely lead to an outcome that is less than favorable? Can you name one gang-banger or drug dealer who has gone on to live a long, healthy, and happy life outside of prison? Why then would we choose to follow along the path of those who have failed to amount to anything? What has hindered our spirit in such a way that has ceased our ambition to fulfill our potential?

Those voices that tell us that we will never make it are lies! The idea that we are forever doomed is false! We live in a world that is filled with opportunity for everyone, we must begin to view things differently! Has our lust and impatient desires acclimated toward flash brought us to a point of impatience and impulsiveness? If we are going to end up in a life that is different than the lives of those around us, then we need to begin doing things differently!

As we live differently, we must learn to block out or steer clear of the down casting, peer pressure, and negative attitudes from those around us. We must begin jumping at honorable opportunities that can potentially advance our situation and we must realize that it is not an overnight process. Watch and realize what those negative people around you are doing and make a conscious effort not to follow. Do what they have not done, what they are not doing and get to a higher place!

3. Use Your Situation to Your Advantage

American author and speaker Byron Katie quoted “life is simple. Everything happens for you not to you”. What we may think of as unfortunate or less than favorable can turn out to become an asset rather than a liability. Desire, hunger for growth, and a will to win have proven to manifest intensely in places where comfort is lacking. When you want it so bad that you can convince yourself that you will to do whatever it takes, you have assuredly tapped into a higher frequency!

Ambition and motivation are enhanced by visions of advancement and prosperity! Few forces will be able to halt the individual with a ravenous thirst for advancement when he or she has adopted an incontestable perspective and a ferocious will to persevere. Instead of accepting a hopeless perspective, try thinking of what those in your community are lacking, what is missing in their lives, and how you can help them. Perhaps you are the one destined to solve a particular problem or deficiency. This may be your ticket to prosperity! Could you have been born into a situation for a reason?

When one opens their eyes, they will begin to see that there is always opportunity in helping those around them. How can you as a person immediately or potentially help those around you to better their condition? How can you find strength in their failings? What strengths do you possess that you can use to serve others? What steps can you take to better understand yourself and those in your setting? What is needed by those who reside in your household, your neighborhood, or your family?

We often fail to notice how lack of resources can at times aid us in generating something unique and sincere. The pain that you feel should force you to use your mind and to think, to look at your life from an outside perspective. Can this situation that you are dealing with help you to ask questions about yourself that most others will not? To look within yourself and not only find out who you are but also who you want to be. By choosing not to make excuses for inaction but instead using our minds and doing what we can with what we have, we not only begin to move in the right direction, but we help to lift others up along with us.

Famous psychologist, holocaust survivor, and Author Viktor Frankl explained in his book Man’s Search for Meaning how he was able to transform the dreadful and agonizing experience of surviving through several Nazi death camps into something meaningful and beneficial to the world. In doing this Dr. Frankl made a choice to use adversity to make him better and not worse. Despite his unfortunate conditions, he decided to turn evil into good and went on to not only become a great and influential psychologist but also to formulate a school of psychology and philosophy based on the idea that individuals are strongly motivated to live meaningfully and purposefully.

Dr. Frankl proved that we could find meaning in life by responding to life’s challenges in a sincere and humane fashion. We too should do as Victor Frankl has done and choose to see how we can make good out of our “less then favorable” c