A couple of years ago I was visiting a friend who had lost a close family member to cancer and we got talking about dealing with sudden loss. The deceased was his sister- in- law (she was married to his brother) and had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer just four months prior to her passing. She was a stay- at- home mum who took a lot of pride in being a home maker and who dedicated her life to caring for her husband and their three teenage children (two daughters and one son).
At the time of my visit, this friend of mine had just returned from visiting his bereaved brother who was based in South Africa. He mentioned with a great deal of sadness how for the entire week he was with his brother and his nieces and nephew, the house was in a mess and they had to order for meals from a nearby restaurant as none of them ( father and children) knew how to clean or cook. My friend jokingly remarked that he would not be eating pizza for another year as he had eaten more pizza that week than he had eaten in his entire life. This story freaked me out as my mind wandered to my own situation I remembered how many times I had put off teaching my children how to cook.
I have since embarked on a mission to teach my daughters how to cook Ugandan dishes and have many times been asked by this “dot com crowd” why I don’t have a recipe book that they can follow. A few weekends ago I was making dinner with my eldest daughter and giving her a lecture on the importance of following my instructions to the letter as I wanted her to prepare this particular dish in a certain way “no questions please, no wise suggestions, just do it the way I say you should”.
She waited for me to leave the kitchen and then went on to prepare the dish in her way. As we sat down for dinner everyone was going on about how nice the food smelt and we couldn’t wait to “dig” in. The food tasted great, better than anything I had ever made and then to my absolute shock, the family went on to make a declaration that from now on “mummy should hand over the reins to my eldest daughter”.
I quickly realised that I had lost my monopoly status as the best cook in town. My daughter was delighted and she gladly explained what she had done differently. She mentioned that she had followed the broad plan on how to prepare this dish and made one or two additions to the ingredients, used different spices, increased the cooking time and prayed to God that her “innovations” don’t backfire. All I will say about this experience is that I was humbled.
This incident reminded me of one of the first lessons I learnt regarding wealth creation which is that there are many ways or methods to make money and create wealth. I find this fact very refreshing as we don’t all have to flip plots of land or sell second hand cars or be business people travelling to China or be accomplished corporate lawyers to be financially independent and wealthy.
In fact, whenever you watch interviews granted by wealthy people anywhere in the world, the one question you can be sure they will be asked is “what would you recommend I invest in? Where can I get the best return for my money?” I am always intrigued by the response to this question because never once have I heard any of these wealthy individuals give a straight answer to that question.
Invariably the answer to this question goes like this “it depends on ……..”. Then these high flyers almost always go on to share the principles of wealth creation. They talk about the importance of having an in-depth understanding of your chosen field or business or market. They emphasise hard work, persistence and resilience. They all admit to making blunders and learning from these mistakes. They all mentioned how they have always had a deep desire to be financially independent.
Without exception these wealthy people have had a mentor, someone who influenced them and showed them the ropes. They all enjoy what they do and get a deep satisfaction from their work and not just from the money they generate. Now here is the big one for me, they all mention good luck or having a lucky break which in my case I interpret as the hand of God in their circumstances.
I am yet to come across a success story that does not have these seven or so principles, even though there are hundreds, probably thousands of ways to make money. The human mind is amazing, it’s capable of ideas, concepts and innovations that can be used to meet human needs.
Once your idea is meeting a need, providing a service or adding value you become a problem solver and it won’t be long before you get paid for solving problems. By going with the latest fad on how to make money we limit ourselves and curtail our opportunities to create wealth. As we think about how to get wealthy, we all need to remember one thing Methods for creating wealth are many, Principles are few. Methods can and usually change, Principles never change.
Grace Makoko is Standard Chartered’s head of financial markets, East Africa.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor