Out of Luck: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
23rd November 2015
Define bad luck. Is it when your alarm doesn’t go off on the day of your job interview? Is in when you miss your flight and have to buy a whole new ticket? Is it when your numbers come up but you can’t find your ticket? How about this for bad luck. After working your butt off just to qualify, you finally gain admission to the best secondary school in Ghana – ST. Augustine’s College, of course – when your mother suddenly passes away.
That’s enough of a blow – enough bad luck to last most people a lifetime – that is until you get to form two, and your father also dies!
Now, you have 21 siblings, who all depended on your father, so there’s absolutely no way you can afford to stay in school, even though you stayed up night after night, studying just to get in.
So you go home. you’re 15 years old. There is nobody to look after you. Your siblings are hungry. You need to do something. You hit the streets looking for work, but the only hustle you can find is a job as a trotro mate. You know you’re not a trotro mate. You’re an Augusco student. But this is where life has placed you. Now, you spend your days hanging from the open door of a rusty van, hoping to God one of your school mates won’t spot you.
That is the definition of bad luck.
That is also the story of my friend Kwao. He is much older now, and still lives in Accra. I’ll tell you more about him in a moment, but let’s focus on you for a minute. What’s happening in your life? Are you going through some bad luck yourself? Maybe you can’t find a job, or you can’t get a husband, or you’ve failed your exams, or you didn’t get that promotion, or your boyfriend dumped you, or your car broke down just when your salary ran out. Perhaps you’ve been trying for years to have a baby, or you’ve given up on ever achieving those goals you dreamt of when you graduated. You’ve looked at your life and decided that it’s not going to get any better than this. You’ve simply run out of luck.
Well, I’ve always had my own theories about luck. Some of you may think that your current situation is no fault of yours. It’s bad luck, or ill fate. But if you have been doing the same thing for years and your luck has not changed, then why don’t you change what you’re doing?
My friends, life does not get better by chance. Life gets better by change. If you look around and you don’t like what you see, then change what you do. Go to work earlier. Rewrite your CV. Read some books. Save some money. Work harder than the hardest worker in your office. Change. It’s the only way.
Too many of us wake up in the morning and pray to God, asking Him to change our situation. Perhaps we should be asking Him to change US instead. If we don’t think we belong where we are right now, then WE should move to the place we want to be, not stay where we are and hope that the place will rather transform into where we wish to be. WE are the ones who should change, NOT our situation.
My friend Kwao found himself in the worst possible situation when his parents died and he was forced to be a trotro mate. But he knew that was not where he belonged. He knew he was NOT a trotro mate. So he changed. He stopped hating himself and started to believe. He worked hard. He saved money. He sharpened his skills. He invested his money. He took risks. He sought help. He tripped, he fell, he got back up. If one thing didn’t work, he changed what he was doing, and kept changing until he found a way that worked.
Today, my friend Kwao is Seth Kwao Yeboah Ocran, founder and CEO of Yoks Investments. One of his companies, Yoks Car Rentals, has a fleet of almost 100 cars. They provide superior rental services to all the 5 Star hotels in Accra, including Kempinski.
Today, on your way to work, if your trotro mate tells you that in 15 years, he will be a millionaire and own 100 cars, you will probably calmly advise him to stop smoking marijuana. That’s because you will look back 15 years into your own life and realise that you are pretty much in exactly the same situation you were back then. It’s time for a change, my friends. My friend Seth Ocran changed, and ended up living a life most of us can only dream of. Your change must start now. You don’t have half the bad luck he had, so it shouldn’t take you half the time to get where he is.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and whenever I ruin out of luck, I just change, and make some more.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!