ALIKO DANGOTE: THE SURE WAY TO MISS SUCCESS IS TO MISS OPPORTUNITIES
“Every problem is an opportunity in disguise”- Benjamin Franklin
Wealth is a response! It is simply how we respond to problems and opportunities around us. You can have all the skills, talents and abilities in this world and still be poor if you are not exposed to opportunities. Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. The best form of education is learning how to see and seize opportunities.
Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Many people miss out on wealth because they perceive certain opportunities to be far below their educational status. Being poor is very simple: Just stay where you are and watch all opportunities pass you by. Are you aware that some of the opportunities you overlooked made so many people millionaires? Where you are today is simply a product of the opportunities you missed or seized yesterday.
Demosthenes once said, “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises”. The real genius of the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, is in his ability to transform challenges into opportunities and opportunities into wealth. When other entrepreneurs termed the Nigerian environment unfavourable and uneconomical, Dangote surmounted the hurdle to open economical doors where hitherto there were walls.
Do you really know why Dangote is the richest in Nigeria and Africa? It is because he is the one that least complains in Nigeria. Have you ever seen Aliko Dangote complain about the Nigerian situation? The guy is so busy looking for solutions that he forgot to complain. And you sit there every day complaining, no wonder why you are so poor! He just listens to people’s complaints and look out for how to solve it. This is the secret of his wealth. Your complaints actually are his own inspiration. Excuses and complaints will always be there for you but opportunities won’t.
In an era where there was a “mad rush” for embarking on construction of vast housing projects by governments and individuals, Dangote was able to decipher emerging industries based on people’s need and revolutionized the cement industry in Nigeria.
In 1977, at the age of 20, Dangote got his first mega break during the FESTAC ’77 — the Second World African Festival of Arts and Culture, held in Lagos. Dangote received a N500,000 loan from his maternal grandfather(Alhaji Sanusi Dantata), a commodity trader, in order to seize a construction opportunity that FESTAC ’77 had brought to the city. This opportunity gave birth to his cement business, and laid a foundation for what we know today as the Dangote Group. The business flourished and he was able to pay his grandfather back in six months. While people from all over the world were in Nigeria reveling in the gluttony and indulgence heralded by FESTAC 77, the young Dangote saw the opportunity to advance his business because of the massive construction going on in various parts of the country. He seized the opportunity from FESTAC 77 and established Dangote Group of Companies in 1978. Albert E.Dunning once said, “Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them”.
Dangote was passionate about solving problems and seizing life-transforming opportunities and in the process, he undoubtedly became the richest in Africa. Hear this: Your job has an expiry date but seeing and seizing opportunities is a life-long journey. The only thing that is truly ours in life is the opportunity that we see and seize, not our job. Anybody that connects you to opportunity has already given you a key to wealth. This is the main reason why my core responsibility as a youth empowerment coach is connecting youths to opportunities.
What really keeps people ahead in life is not their degrees, certificates or abilities but the opportunities they were able to see and seize. People get ahead in life by the opportunity that they seize while others lag behind because of the opportunity they miss.
You will need your job to gain experience, exposure, acquire necessary skills, form formidable relationships and make ends meet at the moment. But your job must NEVER be your ultimate plan. Make your job as temporal as possible but make seizing opportunities a life-long journey. There is nothing as financially liberating as getting to a point in your life when you are no longer looking for job but seeing and seizing opportunities.
You must never allow your ‘comfortable’ salary blind you from seeing opportunities around you. You may be so comfortable today with your salary but the truth is that your financial future depends on your ability to leverage on life transforming opportunities. Take conscious effort to stop complaining about situations around you and instead look out for ways to be part of the solution. You are as rich as the solutions you provide and not the complaints that you make.
Your pride is your stumbling block on your way to wealth creation. Stop allowing your pride to get in the way of your wealth. Go out there and solve problems that are seemingly below your status. Don’t be ashamed to start small, only be ashamed to remain small. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Proud people will always say, “I don’t need anyone’s help. I can do it myself”. Yes, you can, but have you? Don’t be too proud to ask for assistance or for information you need to get yourself on the right path. Do not be unnecessarily proud because you have accumulated degrees. Many young people who never go to college are building stupendous wealth. Never allow your pride to get in your way of making a difference wherever you are.
Real financial security and freedom is not in your job, but in your passion, gifts, talents, and your ability to see and seize opportunities. Benjamin Disraeli said, “The greatest secret in life is for a man to be ready when his opportunity comes”. The people who will be rich in life are not the ones that are looking for jobs; they are the ones looking for opportunities. Today, look for opportunities to solve problems around you. Look for opportunities to make life better for others. Look for opportunities to impact lives positively. Look for opportunities to help others achieve their goals.