In the past few weeks l have had to deal with some odd requests from ardent readers, all wanting to know who, indeed, was telling the “truth” about the Ghanaian economy.
These requests were influenced, mostly, by the series of articles written in this column lately about the need for one not to be daunted by the perceived economic challenges but to seize the opportunities therein to achieve financial freedom.
Well, it is not that “financial freedom” is just achieved by “seizing opportunities” but then it can be achieved by recognising opportunities and exploiting them, using a thoroughly calculated and defined steps, as these are sure bets to, at least, have a meaningful life devoid of financial stress.
One other pointer to the whole idea that economic challenges are not necessarily indications that you need to close shop and go home is that most of the successful companies you see today were all built during periods perceived as “hard times” by the economic actors at the time-consumers, businesses and most other stakeholders.
Today you have CNN, Fortune, IBM and the rest, touted as good and great companies to work for, but a cursory look at their history shows that they were not built when the world economy had everything going right. In fact, the opposite was the case.
So the stimulating question at this point is this: Has there ever been a period when the world economy was ever so rosy that the world could feed itself three meals a day, industries were doing so well to the extent that Governments needn’t operate?
Certainly that world is yet to be born, or perhaps, a portion of another planet because on earth it is a dream, a dream that could live on for another 100,000 years or more!
Okay, with my own question posed, let us now look at one of the questions asked by readers of this column, to serve as a guide to what l would like to explain in this week’s article in detail.
This is how the question (perhaps contribution instead) goes: “Thank you for the great work that you are doing educating us on issues concerning the economy. Whereas l have become so much interested in the economic issues affecting this country, thanks to your column, l am still not convinced that the economy, as it is now, is the right place for serious business investment today.
“Socially, we have invested heavily here because this is where some of us were born, with family and other social relations here, so we cannot talk down on that. But the economic indicators do not offer the right hope. We have energy crisis, water crisis, currency crisis and generally poor performance.
“ Do you still think, after my submission, that we still have what it takes to invest in this country and help it grow? In the past l achieved so much here but now l cannot see the way forward”.
Well, as always, this is a heavily edited piece for meaning and clarity. To set it off, let me say, straight up, that there is no such thing as “impossible”. Indeed, it is only the thought of impossibility that today we have some “legends” among us, even though these people died several years ago.
We have the Thomas Edisons and the rest, who illuminated our paths and gave us knowledge and insight too. There were no impossibilities in their quest, just a matter of curiosity.
I would therefore say that the writer’s concerns border on “curiosity”; curious about how one could make seemingly impossible possible, and not just a case of not having what it takes to make it in this “economic situation”.
Certainly you got what it takes to be part of those seizing the right opportunities if only you are ready to apply yourself to the task. That task could be about fighting a health condition or an economic condition.
And on this occasion it is an economic condition so let us look at some of the ways, and perhaps, the encouraging situations that have shaped the thinking and the path of others in the past, which led them to their desired breakthroughs.
The big one is this, that, if you have been successful in the past there are no guarantees that you are going to be successful this time too. Understanding past achievements is great, but you should not be blinded by them. This affects businesses as much as it affects individuals.
Talk about the “good old days” only sums up the current struggle to make things work. The good achievements of the past are only the platform on which future success will be built, but are no guarantee of continued prosperity.
And the next point of note is that in all conditions there are winners and losers. A rainy day, which may not be too good for the fan at a football match may be a good relief for the farmer waiting for such downpour for his crops. And it may also be good business for the umbrella seller too….
There is this story about two walkers in the Rocky Mountain who, one morning, saw a giant mountain lion coming towards them down a narrow path.
As the story goes, immediately, one walker sat down and pulled a pair of running shoes from his back-pack, prompting the other, in astonishment to say to him: “You’re crazy, you’ll never outrun a mountain lion”. The other replied: “I know, but l’ll sure as hell outrun you”.
What this means is that once he was able to outrun his friend, as the lion will almost certainly concentrate on one, he would be free! The inference here is that anyone wanting to “get ahead” must beat their rivals and overcome challenges too.
There is, therefore, an opportunity that lies hidden in any seemingly hopeless situation and you surely have got what it takes to find it, if only you set yourself up for it.