10th September, 2012
This is the tenth secret I learnt from my millionaire friend which I was sharing with you before I digressed to allow me share some insight with you on how to read with profit. I hope you followed the series. In case you missed the link to my FREE ebook “How to Get The Best From Every Book Read”, here is it again: http://tinyurl.com/bpnnu5k. Enjoy every bit of it.
The secret I am sharing in this edition is profound. It contains the strategy for turning every adversity into platforms of opportunities. Read it with understanding.
I was in a state of deep meditation and reflection when my daughter rushed into my study shouting: “One man is looking for you.” I walked to the door, and guess who – it was my Mentor! I was wondering what he was up to this time. We exchanged pleasantries and, predictably, he walked in the direction of my study. I offered him a chair but he remained standing for about three minutes, gazing at my shelves. He was just nodding his head and intermittently muttering “that’s good.” Apparently, he was satisfied that I had increased the stock of books in my study beyond what he had seen the other time he was in my house.
He explained that the reason he was in my house was to tell me that he would be travelling out of the country that Saturday and he wanted to confirm whether I was at home so that he could give me a very important capsule. I thanked him for taking the trouble to come.
Within every problem, there are great treasures. “The capsule I want to give you today, I will title: Every Perceived Mistake Contains a Seed of Fortune. Now let me ask you a question and I want you to be frank in your answer: ‘Have you ever faced a difficult situation? And what was your reaction at that time?”
It was a tough question. I had gone through difficult moments, but the one that drove me to the cliff happened when I was in my final year in the Department of Political Science at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife). We were preparing to write our last examination paper for the final semester in part four. In that particular paper, I had earlier scored above thirty marks out of forty in the continuous assessment. The paper was scheduled for a Saturday from 12 noon to 3p.m. On that day, I was at the cafeteria in my Fajuyi Hall hostel doing a last-minute revision for the paper. At about 11.20 a.m. when I was getting ready to move to the venue of the examination, a colleague in the department walked up to me, looking worried. I thought he had come to call me so that we could go to the venue of the examination together. But instead he dropped a bombshell… the time for the examination had been changed to 8.00 a.m. – 11.00 a.m., and they had just finished writing the paper I was still reading for! He explained that all efforts to contact me had proved futile. To say the very least, I simply lost all my senses. I picked my bag, rushed to the venue of the examination, but the lecturer had already gone to the staff quarters, a distance of about six kilometres from the venue of the examination.
In panic, I raced to the lecturers’ quarters. Ben Johnson couldn’t have done better. I explained the situation to the lecturer, but he refused to budge. But after prolonged begging and some measure of crying, he eventually agreed to assist me on the condition that the Dean of the Faculty was still around. We drove in his car to the Faculty of Social Sciences of the university.
Unfortunately, by the time we got to the Faculty, we were told that the Dean just left a few minutes earlier. I was confused. We both waited but the Dean was nowhere to be found. After a while, the man drove off. But I was still hanging around. After about ten minutes of waiting, the Dean returned and I explained the situation to him. He was sympathetic and wanted to help. I rushed to the lecturer’s house again, but unfortunately, as I learnt later, he went to town after leaving the Faculty and there was nothing the Dean could do. It was a very tough situation. The following Monday, when my Head of Department got to know about it, he wrote a strong letter on my behalf to the Dean, saying, among other things, that I was the best student in the Department. The Faculty wanted to help, but there was another strange problem: my file was missing! To cut the story short, I could not graduate with my colleagues. I had to re-sit the examination. To be honest, suicide was not far from my thoughts.”
There is a purpose for everything.“That is an interesting experience,” my Mentor said, and then asked: “So what happened thereafter and how did you find yourself in journalism?”
“While I was alone on the campus, I had to really meditate and pray to God for I did not know what to do,” I replied. “But a voice told me to utilise the time writing articles for newspapers. Before then, I had developed a consuming passion for Newswatch Magazine, particularly their business section. I knew every writer there. I wrote a few articles on the economy which were published by The Sketch and National Concord newspapers. I was very excited. I documented it in my diary that I would like to be a journalist.
“Eventually, for my National Youth Service Corps(NYSC), I was posted to serve at Moslem Comprehensive High School, Imepe, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. While at the school, I set up a Press Club, and one of the activities was reading the news at the Assembly every Wednesday morning. It was so popular that people around the school would sometimes gather to listen to the news. An idea occurred to me to launch the Press Club. I did and I was able to draw to the place journalists I had always admired. Yanju Adegbite, formerly of Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) and Soji Akinrinade of Newswatch were also there. They were both impressed. Apart from donating money, Mr. Akinrinade offered to employ me at Newswatch or assist me to secure a job in another media house after my national youth service. He fulfilled his promise. I was given a job in National Concord as a Proof Reader. I accepted the job as it would enable me to pursue further education. It was while in National Concord that I enrolled at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Ikeja, for a Postgraduate Diploma where I got the Director’s Prize for the All-round Best Student at the end of the programme. I also enrolled for my Master’s programme at the University of Lagos thereafter.
“By divine intervention, when I moved to African Concord Magazine, the then Editor, Mr. Bayo Onanuga (now Managing Director and Editor-in-chief of The News) persuaded me to join the Business Desk. I did and have been in business journalism since then. Financial journalism has taken me to countries I couldn’t have dreamt of travelling to”.
Every problem is purpose driven.“That is great. That is great,” my Mentor said several times. “Now, I don’t have much to say again, your story has said it all. But let me share these few words with you on this topic. Usually, what we call failures are not failures at all but points and platforms for God to either bring out a particular strength in us or take us to the direction He wants for us in life. Every informed millionaire knows this. When I was listening to your story, the question that came to my mind was, where would you have been today, if you had not stayed behind on the campus, if you had not served where you served and if you had not met those people you met? There is a lesson I want to leave with you today and it is this: if you have absolute trust in God, He can turn what you consider a disappointment into a gem of opportunities. Remember, His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. “When you encounter difficulties, don’t brood over them, don’t say things like, ‘God why me’? The questions you should ask are: God, what are you saying to me here? What strengths are you trying to draw out of me? Where are the seeds of opportunities in this situation? Once you develop this habit, you will only be failing forwards and not backwards, as John Maxwell would put it. I had gone through several trying moments myself and God had always unfolded gems of opportunities after each experience. The righteous is permitted to fall seven times “You see, the wisdom is not in not failing, it is in coming out stronger every time we fall into difficulties. We are permitted by God to fail several times. And if you have not failed before how would you appreciate what success is? That is what the late Tai Solarin meant by his quotable quote, ‘May your road be rough.’ “I am sharing this with you because you will certainly come across trying circumstances in your journey to financial freedom. You will lose money. Friends will betray you. Advisers may confuse you. But every time you fall into difficulties, don’t despair; just ask those sets of questions again and you will come out better”.
“Enough for today,” he said as he gave me two books to read.
•Every problem contains at least seven ways of mining the treasures inside it
•Every time you face a challenge, don’t panic. Look within for those hidden treasures
•Get some of the resources I have recommended and make use of them. They would show you how to develop your problem solving muscle
PS: Do you have any money questions bothering you? Send it to the money doctor at [email protected]