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The POTENTIAL III: Minding Your Own Business

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I have since realised that youth can be turned to advantage, that things are easier when one is young (contrary to popular opinion and everyday observation); that when one is young, the 'whole world' typically rallies around to help, advice is easier to get and experience, to garner, and the ancient argumentum ad misericordiam holds sway. Ironically, that is when one is interested in camaraderie, looking-good, feeling-fly, wasteful spending; rather than in investments, digging-deep, taking-root, securing assets (land other/more than cars).

I had therefore urged that we break forth, start our own businesses, but realise limits, and stay safe. But I have also seen how that is not the reason we are where we are (poor, jobless and thronging ourselves to death; Boko Haram joblessly working on our National security, sovereignty, and sanity; and the Government dutifully procrastinating, denying, and politicking), how we indeed break forth and set limits (that we do not court save conquer), how we are easily quietened, silenced, satiated; for we quickly lose focus, loose grip and, in not minding our business, place it in loos.

I have since discovered that youth is when many a potential is wasted, that youth is many a potential wasted, that there is more to life than potential; that, to succeed, the one with potential must invariably mind his own business, however young it may be.

Every business has potential, since potential is the ability to do, or to be. It is that inherent property of a thing that is converted to work done once inertia is overcome. As this potential is proportional to kinetic energy and hence momentum, one's potential determines one's velocity; and one's velocity itself determines one's momentum.

Momentum like potential is very vital to life. It is the product of one's mass (one's influence) and one's velocity (the rapidity of one's achievements). It is a reflection of how easily one can knock down obstacles, and a measure of how big that obstacle can be if one is to prevail over it.

In youth, the common trend is for one to grow so much and so tall that he acquires great potential (go to so many schools and acquire so many certificates, so many degrees) and then break into a run (start a career) with high velocity and momentum, and knock off many obstacles both necessary and unwarranted; for one to be deceived by his momentum and sheer velocity that there exists no obstacle too big, and no price too high; for one to be deluded into thinking that all collisions are elastic, that his momentum and velocity suffer no changes.

Likewise, in a starting a business, the common trend is to reduce costs so much that one hijacks market, and consequently make so many sales and so much profit that he begins to expand and sprout branches; spend anything and buy everything just to announce that his kola had been broken for him by a benevolent spirit; employ redundant staff, squash competition by buying them over (yet if they were so good he would not have been able to squash them), and finally lose focus and diversify - after all, the typical Nigerian prides himself on numbers as against efficiency.

However, as there are no perfect collisions - for as Newton had observed, momentum changes upon collision and the rate of change of momentum is proportional to the force applied - these incessant collisions, distractions, soon take their toll: reduce one's momentum, velocity and efficiency. So that, in not minding one's business, one experiences a change in momentum, a deceleration, exerts force, and knocks his opponent(s) into action - to one's eventual detriment.

If only one had chosen his own path and stuck to it, if only one had outlined his journey and set out in earnest, if only one hadn't allowed himself to be distracted, if only one had decided in his youth what to do and stayed true to it, if only one was guided by sustainability rather than population; then many a collision would have been avoided, many a disaster averted, and many a business spared to this day.

In 1974, Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, was asked to speak to the MBA class at the University of Texas at Austin. After a powerful and inspiring talk, the class adjourned and the students asked Ray if he would join them at their favourite hangout to have a few beers. Ray graciously accepted.

"What business am I in?" Ray asked, once the group had all their beers in hand. Everyone laughed [as] most of the MBA students thought Ray was just fooling around. No one answered, so Ray asked the question again. "What business do you think I'm in?" The students laughed again, and finally one brave soul yelled out, "Ray, who in the world does not know that you're in the hamburger business."

Ray chuckled. "That is what I thought you would say." He paused and then quickly said, 'ladies and gentlemen, I'm not in the hamburger business. My business is real estate." [Then] Ray spent a good amount of time explaining his viewpoint.

In their business plan, Ray knew that the primary business focus was to sell hamburger franchises, but what he never lost sight of was the location of each franchise. He knew that the real estate and its location was the most significant factor in the success of each franchise. Basically, the person that bought the franchise was also paying for, buying, the land under the franchise for Ray Kroc's organization.

McDonald's today is the largest single owner of real estate in the world, owning even more than the Catholic Church. Today, McDonald's owns some of the most valuable intersections and street corners in America, as well as in other parts of the world.

*** As told in Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
It is never too late to nurture that business to health once again, to focus, to be dedicated, to hold our destinies in our palms- as they ought to be. It is never too late to shirk ourselves of these clueless National Agenda; that a disease becomes an epidemic doesn't make it less a disease, it makes it much worse.

To eradicate joblessness and poverty, kith and kin that they are, stay true to purpose (as I shall discuss in the next article in this series, The POTENTIAL IV: Staying True): start your business today- and mind it!

Ayokunle Adeleye.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Ayokunle Ayk Fowosire and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Ayokunle Ayk Fowosire