Dwarves and Gorillas: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
19th July 2016
So yesterday, I told you about the Hungry Boy, the epic life story of Dr. Daniel McKorley of the McDan Group. A man who started selling on the streets at the age of 12, and became a millionaire by 28. How did he do it? What was his secret? Hunger. A desire for more. A yearning to take whatever he has and use it to get whatever he wants. This has propelled him to attain unimaginable wealth, and the ability to change people’s lives for the better.
In my conversations with Dr. McKorley, I have tried to uncover the “secret sauce”, to understand that magic ingredient that has made him more successful than his peers. So the last time we spoke, I asked him about his hunger. Why was he always yearning for more? He has already beaten his competition, his company is prospering, he could pretty much sign million dollar cheques all day long, and by evening, he wouldn’t have even made a dent in his bank balance. So why was he still hungry? What more did he want in this world? His answer stunned me. “Kojo”, he said, “In this country, we like to walk with dwarves just so we can call ourselves giants”
That blew my mind. How true. I found myself taking a mental journey through Daniel McKorley’s life, and suddenly, I really understood what he meant. When he started making serious money from his maize and coffee trade, he was still a messenger at the time. Daniel could have looked at his fellow messengers and thought, “none of them have as much money in the bank as I do”. When he was made general manager of the shipping company he had joined as a messenger, that was enough of an achievement for him to have righteously boasted for the rest of his life. That was a total rags-to-riches story right there. Messenger to manager. Or better still, kerosene seller to general manager. He had made it in life. Most people would have quit right there and gone off to be motivational speakers or something. But Daniel McKorley didn’t want to be a giant among dwarves. He wanted to be an actual giant.
The fact that he had more money than other messengers meant nothing. There were still richer and more successful people than him, so he found them and competed with them. And beat them to become a general manager. King of the heap. Top of the pile. Boss of the team. The end. Right? Wrong. There were still other people out there doing better than him. Why be a General Manager when he could be a CEO? Why be an employee when he could be an employer? So he quit his job, started his own shipping company, and found others to compete with.
I felt I had cracked it. I’d found this multi-millionaire’s “secret sauce”. And his own words explained it better than I ever could. “Most people just can’t break out of their comfort zone.”, he drawled in his gravelly voice. “They achieve one thing and they are happy to just keep living on the past glory of that achievement”. Just like a regular sized person living off the praise of dwarves, I thought to myself.
“If you really want to be great, don’t walk with dwarves, run with gorillas”. That made sense to me too.
Challenging yourself can be unpredictable and uncomfortable. That’s why they call it getting out of your comfort zone. You leave a place where you are sure of yourself, you leave a position of comfort, and you enter a place of risk. Running with gorillas does not sound in the least bit safe. But placing yourself in that position of danger will force you to operate at your absolute best. You’ll need to either be excellent or die. And that is the simple secret of men like Dr. Daniel McKorley. They force themselves to take risks, to try new things and take chances that would terrify mere mortals. They jump without a parachute, and they punch above their weight. Their last achievement means nothing. Their next achievement means everything. That’s what is means to run with gorillas. And that’s how he Daniel McKorleys of this world keep getting better and better. By never allowing themselves to get comfortable. That’s their secret sauce.
So my friends, today, I’ve got to ask: Are you done? Is this all you can do? This job that you’ve been doing for almost a decade, this car, those clothes, these things you obtained, these goals you achieved years ago and have done nothing else since. Is this all you can do? Are you done?
Daniel McKorley is a 45 years old multi-millionaire. He has more money than anyone can spend in a lifetime. But he is still hungry. He believes he hasn’t even realised half of his potential yet. Daniel was born a dwarf, so he’s always looking for gorillas to run with. He refuses to get comfortable, because in comfort lies collapse. How about you? Are you comfortable? What a pity.
My name is Kojo Yankson. Are you done, or are you ready to run?
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!