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Book Review: The fear of the unknown

BY: Elizabeth Owusu Kissi

“The Path of an Eagle – Despair, Hope and Glory” -Chapter 6

In life, we mostly see things through the filters of who we are; and it's funny how the darkest moments of our lives can bring about the best ones.

In his book, titled “The Path of an Eagle – Despair, Hope and Glory”, which was published last year on his 50th birthday, Dr. Daniel McKorley gave a gripping insight into his life; detailing how various experiences of his upbringing have shaped him into the business magnate he is today.

You could see that the CEO and Executive Chairman of McDan Group's successes in business and professional life contrast sharply with his childhood poverty; he doesn’t look anything like the pain he’s been through.

If the title of his book insinuates comparisons with the eagle and its ways, it is because he mimics the bird in its tendencies and has charted his life to reflect the fortunes of an eagle - a fitting simile, given that his name means an 'eagle' in his native Ga tribe. 

Reviewing Chapter 6: Fear of the Unknown of this book gives you an enchanting inspiration worth every reader's time. Having read this book thoroughly, I made a few notes I thought to share with you. Below are the morals I find thought-provoking.

Dr. Daniel McKorley

  1. GREAT LEADERS REQUIRE SELF CONVICTION

Getting to this chapter, titled- III. Korley: The Eagle of Songhor, I ask myself this question: can a person be a leader without conviction? Well, possibly, but one can’t be a great leader who motivates and inspires others to change without conviction. 

As a differentiating value, conviction is an unshakable belief in something without the need for proof or evidence. It is that passion that allows an individual to overcome obstacles when they arise; because deep down you know and have a strong belief in what you're doing, regardless of the struggles and challenges faced along the way. 

It is with this conviction that Dr. McKorley, among all odds, approached one of Africa’s largest salt mining concession-the Songhor Salt project at Ada in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Knowing very well the perils that awaits him in this journey of salt mining, he was poised to take up the challenge. Currently, he is bringing out the best of his best in this new venture; by keeping to his promise and ensuring jobs are readily available for the people of Ada. 

For I believed deep down in me that the resource of the Songhor must inevitably end up in Ghanaian hands and when optimally exploited, this resource could be a source of great wealth generation for our country and the creation of thousands of jobs for the indigenes”- Dr. McKorley

 

  1. HARDWORK AND DETERMINATION BREED RESULTS 

Hard work is an essential element in attaining success. In this book, you will find out that, without hard work, nothing grows. Without making a conscious effort to excel, you will remain where you are. Determination is the essence of increasing your chances of being successful in a particular thing or achieving a particular goal, and it can also help you to stay motivated and continue striving towards the one thing you want to achieve.

“Winners embrace hard work and love the fruit of it, but losers see it as a punishment; and that is the big difference between success and failure.” - Dr. McKorley

 The inspiration here is that without hard work, it is not possible to be an odd one out and achieve something that you have always wanted. Even those who fail initially end up winning at last if they don’t leave the hand of hard work. 

"Earnings and profits are God's way of rewarding us for forming relationships with others and serving them faithfully and effectively." - Dr. McKorley

From this book, you could see that his determination guaranteed his achievements. It is further intriguing, how he worked hard at a tender age; with an unquenching zeal to make a living out of nothing.

“I was one of the lucky few because, at age 12, I had begun hawking in the community, selling either bofrot (puff loaves) or kerosene. This was done mostly after school and on weekends. I worked so hard and soon attracted the attention of some tenants in our own house who would ask me.” - Dr. McKorley

The truth in this is that there is no secret to success, and neither is there a shortcut to success. It is the results of determination, preparation, hard work and lessons from his failures that ‘gingered’ him to keep pushing. Hard work helps you gain experience. It helps you discover many new things. It enables you to think smartly to solve a critical problem and achieve results. Hard work is the only key to achieving that which you want. It teaches you discipline, dedication and determination. And that is what Dr. McKorley had which he used to break the shackles of poverty off his feet.

Today, many public figures have on countless occasions encouraged and urged young people in Ghana to emulate him. Why? Because now, he has a success story that everyone would want to listen to.

“If l have attained this height in life, then everyone can,”- Dr. McKorley

 

  1. HAVE A LIFE GUIDING PRINCIPLE

Not so many people are familiar with the decisions he had to take to ensure he had a worthy life. Those who are privy to hearing it sometimes think it’s a cooked-up story. Some others also think he is just ‘street smart’ and that is what has helped him manoeuvre his way through life. Well, you could be right but come to think of it, don’t you think one will need to be ‘street smart’ enough to know where to go and who to talk to? I mean, it helps sometimes. And I believe ‘chairman’ has proven to be more than that. 

Nonetheless, having read this book, it is clearer that, even with his little to no educational background at the time, he still had basic life guiding principles that he held dear in his life.

He mentioned role models and tutors who helped him make sense of these life’s basic principles. Among these principles he mentioned, ‘wisdom’ was his foremost. 

“I believe strongly in wisdom. It is the first thing one must have if one is to succeed in any endeavour. Wisdom teaches a person how to deal with people and money.” - Dr. McKorley

Wisdom is of great importance in our lives, as it helps us to deal with things in the best possible way to achieve the best results that a person seeks, considering all the possibilities that may arise to change the order of priorities and thus change the goal-seeking behaviour. The second principle he mentioned was Leadership.

“True leadership happens when the leader is absent. True leaders invest in people, as success without a successor is a potential failure.” - Dr. McKorley

The best investment any of us can make is in other people. Effective leaders provide clarity of purpose and motivate and guide the organization to realize its mission. If a leader places too much importance on himself and carries everything on his shoulders, what happens when he is not there? It means things might go south and eventually take a nosedive. From experience, Dr. McKorley learned to invest in the right people so they can handle affairs when he wasn’t available. Thirdly, he shared his views on having the ‘Can Do’ Attitude.

“Though I have always been calm and reserved, I can prove tough when the need arises. The hard life I led in my childhood has taught me many things. One of them is that I never see impossibilities.” - Dr. McKorley

Without a decision to keep going no matter what, a business is likely to crumble when faced with any difficulty. But a core value of perseverance motivates you and your employees towards success. It was evident that Dr. McKorley indeed built his whole life around the characteristics of the eagle. His resilience and perseverance were accurate predictors of his achievements. His ability to stick with his goals and passions was crucial to his adventures. Fourthly, he mentioned Perfection and Consistency.

“We are all not perfect and it would be quite outlandish for one imperfect being to expert another to be perfect. But dwelling too much on that can jeopardize a lot of things.” – Dr. McKorley

Whether you're motivated by money, purpose or your goals, it's important to always keep in mind that consistency is more important. However, holding ourselves to a perfect standard only sets us up for failure, disappointment, and making the progress a whole lot harder than it needs to be. Although we are imperfect, it is important to constantly strive to improve upon who we are and what we do, as we try to be consistent in our dealings. Lastly, he mentioned Honesty, Humility, Hard work and Discipline as his final principles.

“If you want to climb to the top, you have to start from the bottom” - Dr. McKorley

Honesty is the foundation for trust in a relationship, and trust is necessary for a relationship to function and thrive. When you're always honest with people, it tells them that they can trust you and the things you say. It helps them know they can believe your promises and commitments.

Humility on the other than helps one extend more compassion and empathy to you. Those who practice humility are more likely to consider others' beliefs and opinions. This is most likely because humility offers the opportunity to become less self-involved and more attuned to the feelings of others.

When it comes to discipline, the role of discipline in our life helps set orderliness, efficiency, punctuality, organization, and focus on our tasks. A life without discipline is like a ship without radar. Therefore, the importance of discipline in life just cannot be ignored.

 “The Path of an Eagle – Despair, Hope and Glory” is one book you wouldn’t want to ignore if you are an ardent reader. Most people consider success as having a great career, wealth, and respect from peers. However, in this book, you will understand the reasons you need not overlook the very simple things of life in achieving that success you want for yourself.