I’m too poor to buy cheap.

Franciszek Kieszkowski

Polish Proverb


Growing up in a communist dictatorship, I heard this a lot, but I heard it in Canada, I didn’t hear it in Poland because there was nothing to buy in the first place. It is a proverb that I have never forgotten and that jabs at me once in a while to make sure it is never forgotten. It jabbed me this morning, and so I am giving it the time and space it needs to feel important.

When you are poor, you cannot afford to buy cheap things. It makes sense. If you buy something cheap, you have some initial savings but then it ultimately breaks down or just doesn’t work the way it was intended to, and so you buy another one, and another one, and another one. When you add up all the cheap things you bought to save money, it is usually  higher than the expensive thing you should have bought to begin with.

This is a lesson in value. A tough lesson to teach in a world obsessed with discounts and savings. It’s a tough lesson to learn but an indispensable one in one’s search for meaning and happiness.

It doesn’t just apply to money. It especially holds true for personal growth, self help, and self development. You can’t see yourself as just good enough or be satisfied to accept things simply as they are. I mean, of course you can, but you’ll frustrate yourself and will begin over and over and over again.

If you want a purpose and joy in your life you need to dream big. You need to dream as big as it is reasonably possible, without becoming cartoonish. Dream big. Set your sights high, and fight for that dream with every resource that is available to you. Become tenacious. Be obsessive. Sacrifice your time and your long hours of entertainment for something you can be proud of, something they can’t take away from you.

You may be poor, but that does not define you. There is greatness in you. A greatness that has yet not been able to manifest itself. I know exactly how all of this sounds. Don’t worry, I abhor pretty words and fake compliments, but there is only a handful of ways to describe how amazing you are, and what power you are capable of harnessing.

You have to aim big. You have to dream up things, your child self, would eternally embrace you for. No more small talk. No more cheap talk. No more thinking or saying how you can’t or will never be able to do something. Forget the past and only glance at tomorrow.

Today, choose to be great. Do the things great people do. Think like great people do. Dream the dreams great people dream. Let that old polish proverb sink into your heart and mind. Let it jab at you also, so that you never forget it.

You are great, and you have no choice but to manifest who you’ve always been meant to be.