The Bank Manager had turned me down for my first loan application. What was I to do next?
In the Bible, a great king, told his son, “With all thy getting, get understanding.”
One day I had the opportunity to discuss my problem of raising money from banks with a well-established business elder. He listened for a while and then said to me, “you are a very good engineer, but you need to get a better understanding of how banks work; you talk about money and banking like a man in the street. It might get you into politics, but it will not help you succeed in business.”
After such a stinging rebuke, I don’t think I slept much that night, but I knew he was right:
Always seek to get deeper understanding of an issue first. Never accept that anything is as simple as it looks, in fact when something looks really simple, then you should approach it with caution, particularly if you have never done it before.
I could have railed in anger at the criticism that day. I could have told him I have a degree in engineering, and I majored in economics; or I could have argued with him and told him what I thought of the system. However, if I go to someone for advice, I do not argue with them or use it as an opportunity to show them that I am smart; that’s dumb! I knew that none of that mattered, I was doing something I had never done before and I needed to get “understanding of it”.
…If you have never done it before, get understanding.
…If you want to improve, get understanding.
…With all thy getting, get understanding.
To be continued….to show what I did next
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa