Magnet: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
26th November 2015
This week, I’ve been sharing with you the lessons I have learnt from the life of my friend, Seth Yeboah Ocran. He lost his parents in Secondary school and was forced to become a trotro mate just to make ends meet. After two years of scraping by on a pittance, Seth learnt how to drive. But he didn’t yet have a licence, so he felt trapped – stuck doing a job that underutilised his talents, but unable to move up the chain to become a driver just yet. Eventually, Seth decided a change of scenery might be in order.
Choices were limited for a 17-year-old boy with no qualifications, so he tried his hands at being a labourer. Turned out that wasn’t his calling either. He tried other things. Selling books, travelling all over the sub-region, trying to make ends meet. At a point, while he was living with his sister in Togo, some white guy gave him money to come to Ghana and buy him some gold. The deal turned out to be a fraudulent one, so Seth backed off and came back with no gold. The white guy, strangely, asked Seth to keep the money – which later became the seed money for his Accra-Lome trading enterprise.
Eventually, he turned 18, and got his driver’s licence. Vanef Europcar were hiring, and young Seth joined the company. He worked in several different capacities – office boy, sales assistant, eventually ending up as a driver of one of their rental vehicles.
It wasn’t the nicest car in their fleet. In fact, it was probably the worst. Seth often had to ask his client to help him push-start it in the mornings. His client at the time was a Canadian woman named Louise Grenier. She worked for an NGO that was funding road works in Ghana, and had to be constantly mobile. Starting her day by push-starting the car her company had paid good money for, was not her idea of a good time. After a while, Ms Greiner decided life was too short to spend another morning running behind her rental vehicle. She decided to cancel her company’s contract with Vanef and switch to Hertz rentals.
But she still wanted Seth to drive her, so she told him she was willing to pay him extra money to leave Vanef and join Hertz. Seth analysed the situation and realised he was staring in the face of a massive business opportunity. So he asked his client one simple question: If I had my own car, would you hire it and pay me to drive you? Louise Greiner said, “Yes”, and Yoks Rent-a-car was born.
With his entire savings of GHC500, Seth bought a home-used Nissan Primera on hire purchase, and Louise Grenier became Yoks Rent-a-Car’s first customer. She was definitely not the last. He drove expats on business and on holiday around the country to all the places where he had already visited with his book-selling business. He drove them across the border to Togo , where his trading enterprise had built him strong local connections in the city, and at the border. He gave his customers such a great service that they kept recommending him to others, and he kept growing his business. When he was short of vehicles, he would borrow cars from friends, just so he would not let his customers down.
My friends, I wonder whether you’ve spotted the lesson I want to share with you today.
Would the white man in Lome have given his money to Seth to buy him gold if Seth wasn’t trustworthy? Would he have asked Seth to keep the money if he hadn’t believed in the honest teenager? Would Louise Grenier have ditched Vanef but kept Seth if he wasn’t excellent at his job and utterly reliable as a driver? Would she have recommended his service to other foreign visitors if she thought he would let her down? Would Seth’s friends have lent him their cars to do business with if they thought he would misuse them or damage them in any way?
My friends, we often find success through the help of others. But we only attract the confidence of others with the right attitude. Whatever your dream, you will only achieve it through the positive input of others. God never turns up in person to hand you the answers to your prayers. He does it through people – through angels on earth. We are all surrounded by people with the ability to change our destinies with one act. One suggestion, one gift, one hug, one word of encouragement, one decision to patronise your business instead of another. God has already surrounded us with answers to our prayers. All we have to do is draw them to us.
Think of your attitude as a magnet that is programmed to attract different kinds of people into your life. A negative magnet will attract the wrong people, and a positive magnet will attract the right people people. So if you just can’t seem to catch a break, nobody wants to invest in you, if nobody wants to hire you, if nobody wants to marry you, if nobody wants to come to your church, check your magnet. Maybe a little tweaking of your attitude will unlock the answers to your prayers and activate the sleeping “Angels” that God placed around you from the day you were born.
Seth Yeboah Ocran owes his success to his “Angels” – the people who believed in him and provided the answers to his prayers. But those people would never have done the things they did if they hadn’t been attracted by the positive magnet of his great attitude, his trustworthiness and his hard work.
Whatever future you dream of, God has already provided the tools for you to achieve it, so if you still are not living your dream, then check your magnet.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I thank all of you “Angels” for being attracted by my magnet.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!