Mind Your Own Business: Entrepreneurship column from Ayokunle Adeleye

The POTENTIAL VI: The Way You Eat Your Mango

I was meant to have three uncles, just three. I never met one – In person – but I read (with) him, read his books, his notes, and saw his spirit, his drive; I do not know what he looked like, yet he taught me: he taught me to dare.

My other uncle nurtured me from afar; I learnt by osmosis. He once said he’d not have (or take) whatever God had not given him. So in his short, fulfilling, life – no but’s – he taught me that Pastors are not God, that Winners are made and not enslaved, that right is forever right irrespective of what any Pastor says; and, most importantly, he taught me contentment.

My third uncle is the first. He taught me from Pluto, he taught me by radiation. He is a genius, and I learn to be one. I pretend not to listen to him, and he in turn pretends not to notice, but I do, and he does. I inform him whenever I want to start something, not so much for his monetary input, but so that he can discourage me – as he should – and I can go ahead anyway (making adjustments for his concerns) – as I should. He teaches me caution, a by-product of anticipation.

So that whatever and whoever I am today and forever I owe it (in part) to these three people – and I am always indebted to my father, who made me (painfully). Of course, I pick up lessons as I go on: I recently saw what personal ambition can do to a Church – or any organisation for that matter. I recently observed how comparison and strife can ruin peace and progress.

Newton had said if he saw further than his peers, it was because he stood on the shoulders of giants; well, I have seen. I see how my forebears forever change me: I learnt diligence from my father, and camouflage from his mother. In fact, as much as I can remember, the only word Father ever taught me was “diligence” – it just so happened that I hadn’t known that word at the time.

All these people together influence(d) the way I eat my mango: daringly, cautiously and contentedly, diligently and in camera.

Yes, life is all about eating mangoes. How d’you eat your mango? That red, green or yellow fruit is not the traffic light, but it can determine how quickly you reach your destination – I have intentionally avoided the word Destiny; don’t ask why.

Eating mangoes is easy, it all boils down to one thing: anticipation.

The mango has two impressive ends: a tip, the truncated end, and a hilum, the part where the stalk held. Most people eat their mango from either end; the choice of which, I submit, reflects the innermost orientation of the consumer. For if one began at the tip, he would soon find out that the hilum leaks – quite readily for that matter – and that he should have begun at the hilum (in anticipation of the leak).

My submission therefore is that if someone keeps eating mango after mango from the tip, he must not have learnt to anticipate. Akin to the Yoruba proverb that goes, rather jocularly, “Ẹni t’ó bá jẹ panla tí kò bá ta’yín, ọ̀dájú onígbèsè ni”. (Abegi, help me translate am.)

As every businessperson knows, shit happens – and how you face it determines how your business fares. As every good businessperson knows, one must anticipate shit before it happens and be prepared for it: anticipate a fall in demand and reduce stock, anticipate a rise in price and increase holdings, anticipate a new government policy and take advantage – that’s how Aliko became Dangote, Dansa, Chi and what else?

Anticipate…

It is common knowledge that property is cheaper and easier to acquire when the seller, rather than the buyer, initiates the offer. It is commonsense to have some money saved up for just that purpose. That is the secret of the wise, that was how the Egyptians of Biblical times became subjects of the Pharaoh, that was how the slave trade was hatched.

Sometime ago I was in Lagos and I met this man in the bus who told me how he saves up toward December rest assured that property will be up for sale at rather ridiculous prices come January just because (foolish) people overspend during the Festive Period and are broke by New Year when there are bills to pay, school fees especially! Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So to keep that business afloat, you must break forth, realise set limits, mind your business, be true to yourself, accumulate assets and forego liabilities, and watch the way you eat your mango: anticipate; be daring, be cautious, be content, be diligent (time is of the essence) and never show off your true worth (obì t’ó bá f’orí pamọ ló máa n gbó káká; it is the kola that conceals itself that matures).

Never do whatever it is you can’t afford. Never let anyone push you.

Plan your life and stick to it. Never change your wardrobe because some fools will rather wear their future and will have you do the same. Our worth is never in the suits we wear, it is in the values we carry.

#Youths, Save Nigeria. Yes we can. It is our turn.

 

Ayokunle Adeleye.

Sagamu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.