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As March draws to a close and we
move onto April I always get reflective and analyse where my life is going.
This is because the month of April is my birthday month so the feeling of
growing older is more pronounced.

This year however I’m extra
thoughtful and reflective coz I’m hitting the big 29. Shaving off the boys to
man label to become a fully-fledged Man. I try to live without regret and make
the most of my life in the good and bad times so I’m not scared or anything
about getting older. In fact I’m embracing it.
29 is a big number no doubt and
it’s been heavy on my mind that I’m in the twilight years of my 20s. Drawing on
the comparison with a football match, once the game clock is at 70 minutes; fans,
players and coaches start to pay attention to the clock more as the game
reaches the penultimate stage. The intensity of the match usually increases,
players cannot afford to pass the ball around aimlessly and every chance has to
be taken with ruthlessly efficiency. These are the moments that separate the
winners from the losers. 
Every move has to be telling and
if a coach wants to turn the game or keep it safe, critical substitutions have
to be made at this juncture. Any football fan will tell you the last 20 minutes
are nerve wrecking and for a reason because it’s nearly impossible to recover
from a set back or poor decision like last night’s Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
match which saw Madrid lose 2-1 after controlling most of the game.
This sort of feeling is what’s
gripping me at the moment albeit with a little less intensity.
I’m at the age where all my
financial moves have to be better than the last. I have to start building an
asset and income base that will give me comfort as I grow older and settle down
to have a family. I have to keep my standards high as far as dating is
concerned coz that next girlfriend may be the last. I essentially cannot afford
to fuck around because mistakes made at this time will have far reaching effects.
These are the final 20 minutes of my game so I have to get it done right.
Although I’m getting older I
still feel very young and I do look younger than my age would suggest. A lot of
people place me in 24-25 range and Last year I was surprised by someone who
inquired if I was still in school when I was spotting a grey trousers and white
shirt without a tie. When I was running a bar last year and the police came to
bother about seeing the owner I would simply tell them the owner is not around
,I’m just an employee and get away with it. There are times I get out of my car
and people just assume it belongs to my Dad or older brother. You actually have
to speak with me to gauge my maturity. Appearances really are deceiving.
That said the remarkable thing is
I’ve matured incredibly. In 2012 I set out to launch a business and have been
in the entrepreneurial world fulltime for 3 years now and in those years I have
had a wealth of life experiences and gained a perspective of the world that is
beyond my age.  The growth has been
metamorphic .If I was a caterpillar before then I’ve become a butterfly. I have
been able to appreciate life at a level most will gain in the latter stages of
their lives.
Not to say I have lost my youthful
bliss. It’s almost like there are two sides to my personality. I still like to
wild out and party once in a while. My dress code has stayed relatively the same
over the years. I’ll never be a suit and tie kind of person. I can jam computer
games from evening into the wee hours of the morning and I still have the
passion for hip hop I had at 12. I’m still a sucker for a pretty face, you can
almost predict the girl I’ll hit on in a crowded room and I’ll succumb to any youthful
predictable things but underneath it all is a grown responsible man with drive
and ambition.
The reason for this is that when
you’re building a business, you interface with the world as it truly is not as
it appears to be. I’ve lost 90% of the friends I grew up or went to school with
and the void that they left has been filled with a large network of business
associates and other useful people in general. I’m the youngest person in my
industry and most of my associates are in their late 30s and 40s. These are
people are interface with as contemporaries on the same level. This has
coloured my mind as I listen and observe their approaches to life and business.
There’s a guy I grew up with whose dad has become a close advisor and friend much
more than the relationship I share with his son who’s my age. We can discuss
chicks and music with the son for a few minutes yet I have lengthy discussions
about life and business with his Father that stretch for hours. He will openly
come to me for monetary assistance when he’s in a fix and he has also bailed me
out on occasions. I feel out of place at times when hanging out with the boys because the things that stimulate me are more refined. I don’t
have time for pettiness.Often times I roll alone and I’m comfortable riding solo.

In the last 3 years I have
employed a lot of people, some older, some younger some permanent and some
temporary. When you take upon the responsibility of being an employer, the
landscape changes.
People place their livelihood and well being of their families on your ability to lead them. You have to pay them
well and on time and this challenges you to be a better person.
 

Often times I have had to counsel
my employees during hard times in their lives. I have had a technician lose a
Father and Aunt in the same month, employed 2 single mothers with another
falling pregnant on the job. Another older guy I subcontract lost his wife so
he has been left with 2 children to take care of alone. I had a woman make
bogus allegations about one of my female employees sleeping with her husband.
There’s so much drama and you can never prepare for the twists and turns. You
have to keep your wits about you and avoid emotional decisions. I have noticed
that I always bring the best out of my employees. I encourage them to think on
their feet and they deliver most of the time.
I kind of have an idea of what it
feels like to be a parent because people under your employ look up to you for
everything. It’s a really scary feeling to be looked up to in that regard.
There’s that stare you get from them during a crisis or meeting that really challenges
you to man up and deliver. It’s not for the feint hearted.
Building a business and leading
the people under your employ is extremely challenging and difficult but it
matures you.
When you’ve been through it all
it’s impossible to come out unchanged. One thing about me is I listen and I’m
very observant. The common denominator with all the people I’ve met is that
most are clueless about what they are doing and where they are headed and the
level of regret amongst them is alarming.
As I am turning 29 next month
from an objective point of view I’ve pondered about what I have learnt about
business and life in dealing with people and how best I can learn from other
people’s experiences and avoid waking up 20 odd years later with a list of
regrets and a life I am not proud of.
I am grateful to God that I have
a relatively clean slate despite making my own share of mistakes over the
years. Luckily none have been too serious. A couple of highs and lows but I
think I’m on the right path to where I want to go.
I feel I have potentially one of
the greatest business minds of my generation. I don’t know everything but when
the rubber hits the road I grind out results, I’m not a quitter and I don’t let
opportunities fall by the wayside. I follow through on my dreams and goals.
Where this will take me, only time will tell. Though I’m often troubled by the
challenges of the business world I plan to transcend all this and build
something that lasts.
In our society there is a strong
belief that money and success eventually lead to stress and downfall and for a
good reason as the statistics show it. I’ve lost count of the times someone has
pointed out a person who used to have it all but lost it all through
womanising, extravagant spending and pure irresponsibility.
I do however believe there is a
way to transcend the drop, to get away with success and all its spoils and not
lose your soul or your life or both. I want to rewrite the old script. I did
not sign up for business to be average or live like a pauper. When I strike
gold I want to enjoy it yet keep my nobility and humility.
They say experience is the best
teacher but it is a painful teacher. Foresight however is gentler. You can
avoid a lot of pain and heart ache by learning from other people.
I have a great mentor in my Step
Father and he is a source of great wisdom daily. He always tells me that if he
knew what he knows now at my age he would be a multimillionaire by now and his
goal is to keep me from making the same mistakes he made by imparting his
knowledge to me.
The key lesson I have learnt from
my interactions with people are as follows. Complain and regret.
When choosing a life partner take your time and marry for
the right reason.
I see this almost every day
and this is the first mistake most people make. They settle down with someone
who doesn’t complement them and in the end they grow apart. The only thing that
holds the marriage together are children. My advice is to choose a mate who you
can see yourself growing together with in all areas in 20 years someone with a
hunger to grow who challenges you mentally.
Don’t waste away your youth
chasing women. I believe you lose money chasing women but you never lose women
chasing money. As you continually invest in yourself you find the quality of
women you attract keeps improving. Women naturally dig guys with their sh*t
together, that’s a natural fact. When you do settle down it’s gotta be with someone
who matches the work you’ve put in. I definitely ain’t running around to hustle
backwards. They say the bitterness of marrying a low quality woman is
remembered far longer than the sweetness of how easy it was to get her so keep
your standards up and aim high. Rejection is part of the cost of doing business
so don’t fear being turned down, fear having your time wasted, fear regret. You
can always bounce back from a defeat.
Do not rush to have children until you can afford them. There is a common misleading theory that miserable
married people tell the unmarried ones that once you get married blessings and
money will rain on you. The reality is marriage is responsibility. Once you
decide to have a child and settle down you lose the freedom to risk it all
because children take preeminence. Family planning is important. I know guys my
age who can’t get into business and are forced to work unfulfilling jobs
because there are mouths to feed at home. I want to give my children a better
upbringing than I had so I will decide to have kids when I feel I have laid the
bare minimum foundation for them.

Save and Invest Most people will never invest in a business because 9 out of 10 businesses
fail initially but the reality is job security is a phantom. A pay check is no
longer guaranteed consistently so it is wise to save and invest even in stocks
because we are stronger when we have options not weaker.

 

Health and Balance. In the casino of life it’s easy to carry on like you cannot be touched but
if you don’t take care of your health and live responsibly then the hens will
eventually come home to roost. You want to be around to watch your children
grow and to grow old. This requires focus on your diet, exercise, responsible
drinking and avoidance of drugs. The most important thing is to have a
responsible sexual life. There are oceans of diseases swimming around so watch
who you lay with and always use protection. 

Spirituality This is an area of my life that rarely gets attention but I have observed
that families that fear God and at least acknowledge his grace in their lives
are much more blessed than those that don’t. It is very important to have time
for God in your life. There are invisible forces in the world beyond our scope
of understanding. Acknowledging them keeps you on the right path.

 

The Social Mirror. The seed of regret in the latter stages of life usually stems from people
that did not follow their own hearts. A lot of people marry people they were
pressured to by family and society. A lot of people studied what seemed right
in the eyes of society. I admit it takes balls to swim against the tide but the
long-term benefits of living on your own terms cannot be quantified. It is for
this reason that I always trust my gut more than everything else. Most of the
world is confused to begin with so don’t hand over the keys of your future to
someone else.

Risk It All The
greatest risk you can ever take is to not risk anything at all. The people with
mediocre lives played it safe and the people with admirable lives were willing
to take a fall initially and eventually scaled great heights.

The difference between people who
take initiative and those who don’t is literally the difference between night
and day. Winners and losers aren’t in the same time zone. If you don’t shoot,
you don’t score.

Goal Setting Most people only hope and wish for life to be better without taking action
and leaving everything to chance. To get ahead you have to set goals and follow
through with action. A plan A that leads to a plan B that leads to a plan C.
That’s the only way to manifest things into existence. People by nature want to
achieve the most with the least amount of effort. However life is not a
lottery. There aren’t any short cuts to any place worth going. 

 

I’m almost out of steam so let me
end here but this year is one I am taking very seriously and I pray I do enough
to get to where I want to go.

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