Stop the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign

I don’t like the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign and I think it should be stopped with immediate effect. But before you click away in disgust, please read on for my reasoning here.

I’ve studied loads and loads of some of the best goal setting techniques. I’ve studied the techniques of some of the most successful business leaders and spiritual leaders. I understand the ‘law of attraction’, visualization and prayer. In all that stuff, when you want to achieve something, or change something or gain something, the thing you must do, at all times, without exception is to focus on the thing you want, not the thing you don’t want.

‘Make Poverty History’? What are we focusing on there then? On Poverty and on History! Ok, some clever so-and-so came up with this catchy title, I can hear them now (“It’s a play on words! It means ‘let’s end poverty by making it historical’ and ‘let’s make history within the concept of poverty’….”)

Sometimes you can be ‘too clever’ for your own good. We should not be telling everyone to wear the words ‘Poverty’ and ‘History’ on little plastic armbands to remind them of poverty and history all day long. We should be telling everyone what we really want.

In the 1970s in the UK there was a campaign that started with the aim to make sport available for everyone. What do you think they called the campaign? “Make Couch Potatoes History?” no, of course not, it was “Sport for All.

So ask yourself, what do we really want? Have a think about it. Shouldn’t we really want to make everyone wealthy? Happy? Healthy? Shouldn’t we be focusing on happiness, abundance and the future? Shouldn’t we be focusing on not lifting people out of poverty but pulling them up into wealth and abundance? Shouldn’t our campaign be something like “Make Everyone Wealthy Now”? I know it doesn’t sound clever or flash. The truth seldom does.

The words we use are important. The words we repeat in our heads are important. The words we focus on is what we get. Make sure you focus on the things you want.

And don’t even think about getting me started on “The War on Terror”…

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6 comments on “Stop the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign

  1. Could we do the same ‘positive reversal’ to other charities to help them achieve their real goals?

    The point here is that these are suggestions that might help. I am not declaring war on charities. The aim of all charities should be to fix whatever problem they are focusing on so that they are no longer needed (I would have thought). So here are a few ideas that might help. Some clearly aren’t as catchy, but others have such a positive vibe I can’t believe no-ones suggested them before. (Thanks to Jem Renals for the best ones).

    Healthy Working Animals for the World’s Poorest People = Healthy Working Animals for the World

    Anti-Nazi League = Pro Tolerance League

    Women Against Violence Against Women = Women For Respect For Women

    RSPCA = Royal Society for the Promotion of Kindness to Animals

    NSPCC – Royal Society for the Promotion of Kindness to Children

    Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) = Royal Society for the Assurance of Safety (RoSAS)

    Breast Cancer Research = Breast Wellness Research

    Oxfam = Oxfed

    Children in Need = Children in Joy

    Got any better ones? Please add them below.


  2. Here’s a comment on the article emailed to me:

    I always enjoy your newsletters but this one really lit me up!

    I often get e.mails urging me to go to the Breast Cancer web site because they have a scheme where their advertisers count the clicks and contribute to providing free mammograms. I wondered why I felt such resistance to taking part until I realised that every time I thought about breast cancer it made me feel afraid and so I learned to avoid those messages. If the site had been called breast health or something similar it might have had a different effect.

    When I first became aware of the Law of Attraction it took me a while to get to grips with the concept of identifying what I want without it triggering a feeling of lack, e.g. I want more money because I don’t have enough. Then someone suggested that instead of thinking about what I want I could think about the things I already have that I’d like more of, e.g. I’d like more lovely clients to join our training groups.

    At the last seminar we ran, we discussed the idea that ‘positive thinking is bad for us’!

    It took a minute for this to sink in until we explained that in order to think positively about something, we first have to identify it as bad or negative. For example, an event we were looking forward to gets cancelled and we feel sad or angry or disappointed and then, in order to feel better, we try to out a positive spin on it by thinking of other things we could do with the time – but we have to feel bad first in order to get to this point.

    However, if instead of thinking that things are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we deliberately choose the way we want to react to things, there will be no need to think positively because there will be no negatives – only events. So next time something that you were looking forward to gets cancelled, choose to feel excited at all of the possibilities now on offer!
    I’m looking forward to more creative ideas and to hearing what names people come up with for the “lets-make-sure-everyone-has-a-reasonable-standard-of-living” campaign!

    Very best wishes,

    Ann Hawkins


  3. “The words we use are important. The words we repeat in our heads are important. The words we focus on is what we get. Make sure you focus on the things you want”.

    This is excellent…especially for someone as infirm of purpose as myself!


  4. Mother Theresa was a very wise human being – she would happily attend a pro-peace march and would stay clear of anti-war marches. What you focus on and promote expands, what you resist or fight against grows stronger.


  5. When I first searched “Make Poverty History” and you’re blog appeared, and the first line was “stop the campaign” I was about to click the back button. But I’m glad I stuck around. You’ve actually made quite a valid point.

    I’m not too sure how many people would actually agree, but the argument you put across is very good. Make Poverty History sounds catchy, but as we can clearly see 5 years on from the original campaign, it hasn’t worked. We need something new. A new focus or slant on the campaign.


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