Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Poverty vs Middle vs World Class Thinking

The two greatest influencing factors on how we think (and thus how we live) are:
  1. The books we read, and ...
  2. The people we associate with.
The types of books we read reflect how we think about ourselves. Are we constantly in "fantasy land" trying to escape reality by reading novels with little or no moral redeeming value? Or are we learning from history, engaging in personal development, and understanding how money and business works?

The types of people we associate with is also critical in how we think about ourselves and even where we end up in life. Take our income level, for example. Add up the annual salaries of your several closest friends and divide it by that number and you'll likely have your annual income. We are who we hang around.

What this means is that we generally gravitate toward five broad categories of thinking and living based on the books we read and the people we hang around. According to Steven Siebold (author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class), those categories are poverty, working, middle, upper, and world class thinking.

Those with a poverty or working class mentality talk about (and mostly grumble about) the past. They are constantly blaming others for their failures, for not getting ahead, for their bad breaks in life. Could be a boss, a parent, a teacher. They got screwed over by someone and that's why they are where they are at. It's a victim mindset.

Those with a middle class mentality talk about other people - comparing up or down and always trying to position themselves a little better than their peers. It's either keep up with the Joneses or it's bragging about their latest toy. The middle class have also deluded themselves into thinking that they are where they're at because of their hard work. Most middle class folks thought they hit a double when in fact they were born on second base.

Those with an upper, or better yet, world class mentality talk about ideas. They are always looking for ways to grow, increase, become better, build, influence more, impact more, do more, be more. And so they are reading books that help them think better. They associate with positive, excited people and avoid negative, limiting people.

Questions to Ponder:
  • Are you focused on the past, other people, or big ideas?
  • What books are you reading that support the direction you want to go?
  • What people in your life do you need to limit your exposure to?
  • When will you begin to implement the answers to these questions?


Jakibe said...

Question: What is the mentality of Christ? Is it fair to say - none of the above??

My first reaction to your post was that I wanted to strive for "world class thinking"...but then I got to thinking about it and now am not so sure.

It may be that all these 5 categories can be placed under the broader category of "worldly thinking".

isn't the goal for Christians to be spirit led thinking? This is not affected by who you hang around, but by who you are filled with (The Holy Spirit). It happens when the spirit quickens the words of the Bible as you read them.

Thanks for the post!


Lyn Perry said...

Thanks Jakibe for entering the fray - and providing a link to your blog! (I hate anonymous posts and delete them without a second thought :-)

As for the 6th mindset, that of Christ, I readily agree that his way of thinking is above and beyond the 5 categories mentioned here. I should write a post about the difference, but for now let me say that #1-5 are on a continuum and that the way of Christ is not on the continuum. It's a different "thing" and that's why I wouldn't put it as a #6.

More later, lgp

Lyn Perry said...

Okay, here's the "later" :-)

After further thought, let me pick up where I left off and say that I would not include "the mind of Christ" as a 6th alternative, nor would I classify the 5 I mentioned as necessarily "worldly" (implying that they are anti-God in nature).

What I mean is that I think that #1-5 are on a continuum and that the way of Christ is not on the continuum. It's a different "thing" altogether.

Now the continuum is neither right nor wrong in and of itself (one can be moral or immoral with a poverty mindset as well as with a world class mindset). Insofar as the mind of Christ is our true goal and ultimate Good it stands apart from the 5 stages of thinking.

Another way to put it is that the mind of Christ should serve as the wrapping that surrounds all other mindsets. Considering buying a home as a place to reside vs as an investment property to rent out isn't worldly per se. But it could reflect different mindsets. My contention is that seeking Christ's mind should influence our motivation behind such a consideration.

Does that make sense? So given that I want to follow Christ in all things, where would I best utilize my mind, talents, resources, etc. Do I maintain my poverty thinking? Do I settle into working or middle class thinking? Or do I want to strive to become a world class thinker? I'm for choosing the latter. This doesn't make me better or worse than others, it simply is what I'm called to do based on knowing what I know at this stage in my journey with Christ.

Thanks for the dialog. Lyn

Jakibe said...

Great dialog Lyn - I'm enjoying the interaction...

Some thoughts:

The big dichotomy is worldly / heavenly (or kingdom). As followers of Christ, we are told that we need to be Heavenly minded, and not Worldly Minded (Colossians 3:2). "Worldly" as you say, is defined as anti-God - the world is at enmity with Him.

Though I have not read the book (and it sounds like a very interesting read) I would say, from what you have described that the 5 mindsets are actually different "tiers" of worldly thinking. None of them can be described as "Heavenly" because the thoughts that make up the 5 different mindsets focus on "the world".

Take this quote from you: "Those with an upper, or better yet, world class mentality talk about ideas. They are always looking for ways to grow, increase, become better, build, influence more, impact more, do more, be more." On what stage are they seeking to grow, increase, become better, etc.? Is it "in the world" or "in the coming kingdom"?

The same exact question could be asked of the other 4 tiers - and the answer would be that the hangups that define these mindsets all focus on "this world".

Don't get me wrong - I don't think focusing on ideas is a bad thing. It's just that I want to focus on "the ideas of God" and not the "ideas of man". The ideas of man are all leading to destruction (Proverbs 14:12) - While the ideas of God will not pass away.

I believe for a Christian - growing, increasing, becoming better, building etc. should all be activities focused on the coming kingdom...not this world.

After all - this current reality will melt away at his coming. Only his (yet to be revealed) kingdom will endure. If I have spent this life "building up treasure" in that reality - it will be a sweet arrival. If I have built up treasure in this life (not just monetary) - it will be bittersweet. Paul said: "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

And so - I would not say that the mind of Christ is a wrapper which holds the other 5 - I would say that the 5 are all held in the wrapper of "the world". The mind of Christ is a radical alternative mindset which focuses on the things to come.

What do you think?

God bless -

Lyn Perry said...

Okay, quick response and this will serve as a seed for a future post.

The dichotomy is not world/heaven. Worldly does not mean "of this world" it means "worldly way" - that is, opposed to God (or, the spirit of the antichrist). Just because something is "of this world" does not make it "worldly" - God created a good earth, the world around us is a wonderful thing, humans are amazing creatures and come up with astounding ideas and accomplishments. This is a good thing pronounced good by God (Gen 1).

Acknowledging this in no way detracts from God's glory, but in fact honors our Creator (Psalm 8). So I want to affirm what God offers us through creation. All good and perfect gifts are from above - money, sex, power, etc - they are all "heavenly" gifts that can be abused and used for "worldly" means. But that doesn't make them bad.

Don't fall into the Eusebian fallacy that declares everything of a material nature is opposed to the spiritual. This was Arius' heresy and was rejected by the Church long ago. Jesus affirmed his creation by becoming flesh and dwelling among us. We will one day have resurrection bodies and live in a very physical new heaven and earth.

In the meantime we are not to neglect our role of stewardship and dominion of this earth. We are not to be so "heavenly minded as to be of no earthly good." :-) Not accusing you of this, but some of what you wrote reminds me of the attitude "heck with the world, Jesus is coming soon." This will never do.

So while we are to seek first his kingdom and righteousness, the import of this is that we are to work so that God's reign (what is really meant by his kingdom) envelops all that is. Thus my image of Christ wrapping his thoughts around ours. So, no, I disagree that there is a dichotomy.

Well, more later. Enjoying the dialog and how you are making me exact my thoughts on this matter.

Cindy said...

Hi Lyn,
I stumbled upon your post by googling "middle class mentality." Why you may ask did I google this. It may be my inner upper class mentality trying to escape my middle class mind:)
I have many questions about this and am searching for the answers. I really would like to escape the middle class rat race and I know it's all about altering the middle class mind set that I was born and raised with.

Thank you for the post.

Sandy said...

This is a great discussion. Jesus said 'Seek ye first the Kindgom of God ... '. He also said in the Lord's prayer 'Thy Kindgom come, Thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven'. I believe that we (true disciples of Christ) are the instruments to establish His Kingdom on Earth and execute His will on Earth. After all, God's will is already established in Heaven ... no work to be done there. Therefore, we need to maximize our influence on Earth (as ambassadors of Christ) in every way possible ... politically, financially, in business, government, education and every area of society. The goal always being, bringing establishing God's kingdom on Earth.