Chocolate Diaries: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson

Chocolate Diaries: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
8th August 2016
You know, life is a constant forward march. I have been trying to embrace that recently, by doing a little self-assessment. It has caused me to be extremely brutal and honest with myself in identifying my flaws, and trying to understand why I do things the way I do. I’ll share some of the insights I have gained over the next few days, and together, we will uncover whatever lessons we can from them.
The first insight I would like to share is about one of my worst flaws: Impatience.
When I was barely four years old, a family friend brought my mother a gift. It was the biggest bar of chocolate I had ever seen – about half my height at the time – the size of a bar of key soap. The moment I set my eyes on it, I wanted to eat it so badly, but my mother wouldn’t allow it. She said we would all have a piece in a few weeks’ time, at Christmas. A few weeks?! How on earth was I supposed to wait that long? My mother must have seen the look of desperate craving in my eye, because she placed the chocolate bar in her suitcase on top of the wardrobe in their bedroom.
I remember watching her with strangest feeling of desperation and deprivation, which I now recognise to be impatience. Why was she putting it all the way up in her suitcase. I was barely two feet tall, so there was no way I was going to reach it up there. Or so she thought…
That evening, while everyone was watching TV, I snuck into their bedroom. I moved two bedside stands and placed them next to each other, I brought a plastic chair and placed it on top of the stands and climbed on top of the whole precarious pile to open the suitcase and pull out the chocolate bar. I then sat on the chair, unwrapped the extension-board-sized bar of goodness and started munching away. Of course, I was caught in the act, at which point I burst into tears from the sheer embarrassment of it all.
Standing there with my sticky little fingers wrapped around the chocolate bar, and tears streaming down my face while my parents and older sister laughed and took pictures, I know I may have been too young to understand all the complexities of my shameful situation, but I definitely remember thinking the brief taste of the chocolate was definitely not worth the hassle that followed.
So that was the end of my criminal career, but definitely not the end of my impatience. And my friends, I can tell you today, that almost every mistake I have ever made since, can be traced directly or indirectly to impatience. You name it, from my health to my marriage to my career to major investments and life-changing decisions… anytime I’ve got it wrong, it was because I simply refused to wait. I saved for years to buy my dream car at the time, an Audi A4 S-line twin-turbo that could do 0-60 in 5 seconds flat. The minute I had enough for the deposit, I walked into the dealership and bought the car. I couldn’t wait another minute. The very next week, Audi released a new model, and the price of the old model I had just bought was slashed by almost 40%!
You see, my problem is, I want results now. I can’t stand bureaucracy of any kind. Some people have suitcases full of new clothes they have never worn. When I buy anything, I wear it the very next day. I can’t bear queues, I can’t abide conversations that don’t go straight to the point, I just don’t understand how people can deliberately do things to delay the final result. Why? Why don’t you want it now?
Well, as I mature, I have began to slowly understand why. You see, good things take time. Time allows thought. And thought leads to discernment. Discernment is the essential ingredient of good decisions. And my friends, you can never have too much discernment. This job has taught me that. Here at Joy FM, we know that it’s better to be right than to be first to break the news. That’s why Ghanaians always say, “if we haven’t heard it on Joy, then it’s not yet true”. That is the result of patience. And it is a key part of what we do here. Which is why you are all known as “discerning listeners”
So even though I have struggled with patience in my personal life, I have clear evidence of its value in my professional life. And today, I want us all to resolve together, that whatever we’re doing, whatever we’re pursuing, whatever we’re applying for or aiming at, we will take a minute, pause, and think it through a little bit. Sometimes, deliberately delaying the end result is the best favour we could ever do ourselves. Instant gratification is just that – instant. And it’s often followed by regret, as the fullness of time reveals the folly of our haste.
My name is Kojo Yankson: first, thought, then action. That’s the process, and I will not be rushed through it.