Someone, somewhere on the internet riled up the anger of already burdened Zimbabweans when they said that poverty or brokeness is a choice. I love conversations about personal finance as you know and followed the discourse on the matter with special interest. Many opinions were thrown back forth and the story might still be raging on by the time you see this article. I tend to prefer discussions in a practical and down to earth manner so I would prefer to tackle the question is being broke a choice in Zimbabwe?
The definition of broke is very much a matter of opinion. A simple definition is that it is running out of money but you will find many different expressions or signals of being broke out there. Some might go as far as to distinguish broke from poor. I’m not concerned with fretting over the definition and nuances. Let’s look at being broke, poor and everything in-between as lacking financial success. This regardless of your circumstances or station in life it is simply a measure of your ability to navigate the financial aspects of life.
Another word we will have to define is choice. What exactly is a choice? We can use words such as election or decision as synonyms for choice. Meaning it is a selection made by someone. Bear in mind that choices are not always active and can in fact be passive. What I mean by this is that choosing to do nothing is in fact a choice. To bring it full circle the statement would therefore be lacking financial success in Zimbabwe is a selection making our question is lacking financial success in Zimbabwe a selection?
Let’s take a moment to look at the structure of success. Seeing as our subject is a lack of financial success the best approach is to look at the structure of success itself then consider what it takes to succeed or fail. I like keeping things simple so success is execution. You have an objective and you execute the objective. I think that is a simple enough definition to follow. What does it take to execute? Well, a big part of execution is preparation. And when we apply this to financial success we can see clearly that preparing the skills required to execute will definitely contribute to success.
Of course one cannot execute thin air to create success. Especially when we are talking about money the old saying “it takes money to make money” comes to mind. Opportunities are the product of many things. As a person who deals with many people in business, I can safely say a successful business takes the coming together of many factors. You have to have a product, a system, marketing, sales, customers, resources and more to get a business to succeed. Career success isn’t much different, it takes a lot to get it right and climb the corporate ladder. I use these two as talking points because those are the sources of income for many of us, employment or some sort of business.
When it comes to opportunities we have to be cognizant of just how fine the margins are. Opportunities can come from having access to the right people to ask or knowing the right places to look. Opportunity can be something as simple as having people around you who can afford your product to make the business idea viable. Fine margins indeed but opportunity is key to success.
So is it a choice?
To tie this all together we have to look at our question again. If success is the ability to execute on opportunities we have to look at both parts. The ability to execute comes from some things that are out of our control such as aptitude and talent but also things that are in our control such as practice and experience, to some extent anyway. It is fair to say that those parts we do not control are roughly evenly distributed across people. When it comes to opportunities it’s a whole different kettle of fish. Talent or aptitude is evenly distributed but opportunities certainly are not. Your very geographical location can make certain things more difficult. So can any other of the myriad of factors that determine opportunities. So can the lack of financial success be a choice in Zimbabwe? Or anywhere for that matter?