On a trip back from Uganda I met a man who was traveling to Tanzania to help run a branch of the family business. He had just turned thirty. He told me a story of how his uncle moved from Pakistan to Uganda in the nineties to start a car dealership. With only enough capital for one car and a dream of supporting his young family, he kicked off. From what my new friend said, the uncle still lives a very simple life and was still very focused on growing the business and even more, setting up the next generation for success. As it stands, this company now sells four hundred cars a year.
What struck me in our conversation was the statement he made about growth: slow growth is permanent.
In Zambia, over the last ten years, many people attained abundant riches in an unusually short period of time. People you may have known to beg for transport to take a bus across town now had Range Rovers and flats (the “modern investor’s” choice).
Seeing this only intensified our desire to catch up – whatever the cost. Now it is this cost that so many are willing to pay so that the growth catches up with our dreams – to our own detriment as a people. Now corruption for us is only of serious value if it’s in the millions, if it’s a politician who has stolen, or if someone is a supplier from Kitwe. But what about the extra you want paid for doing your job?
Quick success drives so much of our growth plans. We don’t want to participate in the economy the way our parents did. The slow and grueling growth – brick by brick. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why businesses we know are rarely passed on from generation to generation. We start a business with the hope that it will give us eternal income in year one, pricing our products at five or even ten times the cost.
Stop rushing your growth. Fast money and quick success isn’t always permanent. Slow but sure steps do more for you than you can ever imagine. Plus, who are you racing with? Your mission on this side of earth and the next person are totally different and your skill sets are incomparable.
Young person, the question you will need to ask yourself is this: is everything you are doing now to be consumed in your life alone, or are you doing it for others? Will we know you for having been rich, then stripped of your riches when the law or the business you are stealing from finally catches up with you? The answer you give will determine how you see your progress.