Graduation: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
24th November 2015
So yesterday, I told you about my friend, Seth Yeboah Ocran and his amazing fifteen-year journey from trotro-mate to CEO and owner of 100 luxury cars. For me, Seth’s story is a goldmine of inspiration. There are lessons to be learnt from every stage of his amazing voyage across the choppy waters of hardship and adversity to the calm shores of wealth and affluence that he occupies today.
In all honesty, the miracle of Seth’s life could only have happened to someone with Seth’s attitude. After losing both parents in his first two years in secondary school, a fifteen-year-old Seth was forced to become a trotro mate, just so he could feed himself and as many of his twenty-one siblings as he could manage. Of course, this was pretty much an impossible task on a trotro mate’s salary, but somehow, Seth managed to do it for two years.
TWO YEARS hanging from the back of a rusty van, handling sweat-soaked, snot-studded cash, enduring the insults of rude, obnoxious passengers, being bullied by policemen and harassed by drivers. Two years of getting covered in lorry park dust, breathing in exhaust fumes, snagging flesh on rusty car window frames, screaming “Odokor, Kaneish” from dawn ’til dusk, all for a pittance a day. I have no trouble admitting that I probably wouldn’t have lasted a day in the conditions that Seth endured for two years.
But here’s the most amazing part of Seth’s trotro mate experience. Seth graduated. Go to any trotro station or Lorry Park in the country, and you will find drivers and mates who have worked there for fifteen years. Not Seth. He knew he was not a trotro mate, so from Day One, he started planning his exit. He wasn’t satisfied with being a mate, so he learnt how to drive.
Now, this is not free. You have to buy the fuel and pay the driver for his time. In many cases, you have to pay a rental fee for the car you use for practice. Now, Seth was earning next to nothing, but in spite of the paltriness of his wage, the guy still managed to save enough for his driving lessons, as well as a little nest egg with which he kick-started his first business ventures. But more about those tomorrow.
Today, the message I wish to share with you is simple. I have talked often about how God sends you through the wilderness on your way to the promised land. Well, He does it for two reasons: First, to test you, and then to equip you. You see, the principle is this: before God can give you a million, He must first see how you handle a hundred. Seth made almost nothing, but he was able to distribute that nothing between, his sustenance, his siblings and his savings. He showed he was capable of managing the little given him, so God gave him more.
Second, God was equipping him. All the financial management skills Seth is using today to grow his multi-million dollar business were learnt as a Trotro mate. Making his miniscule salary cover all his obligations – including saving – was all the MBA Seth would ever need to manipulate his abundant resources today. God tested him, and when he passed, God equipped him for success.
My friends, whatever you are going through, please know that it’s only meant to test you and then equip you. Your days of rejection, your weeks of illness, your months of joblessness, your years of failure in business, our decades of dumsor, our centuries of underdevelopment, all these wildernesses are meant to test us and equip us, so if we want to move out of the desert, we must first pass our test and prepare ourselves for the promised land.
If you’re still in it, then you’re not done learning from it. If your blessing has not yet arrived, it’s because you are not yet equipped for it. So pay attention. What have you not quite finished learning yet? Is it patience, is it humility, is it love, is it forgiveness, is it humility, is it love for others, is it the ability to save? Whatever it is, master it. It is the only thing standing between you and your promised land. Master it and graduate from your wilderness.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how Seth Yeboah Ocran of Yoks Investments, guaranteed his success by failing. But until then…
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I learnt how to fish in the desert, so I now eat abundantly from the river.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!