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It's NOT What or Who You Know ….

June 23, 2018

They often say that it's not what you know but who you know. 


Well, that’s what they say. I, on the other hand, have a different version of that. Today I want to tell you to forget about who you know and even what you know. Instead, have this mentality that it is what you do with who you know or what you know that has the ability to change or transform your current situation. What do I mean by this? Read on.


I saw the below bad joke that has been doing rounds on the internet for a while now. It says:


I told my son, “You will marry the girl I choose”.

He said, “NO!”

I told him, “She is Bill Gates’ daughter.”

He said, “OK.”


I called Bill Gates and said, “I want your daughter to marry my son.”

Bill Gates said, “NO.”

I told Bill Gates, My son is the CEO of World Bank.”

Bill Gates said, “OK.”


I called the President of the World Bank and asked him to make my son the CEO.

He said, “NO.”

I told him, “My son is Bill Gates’ son-in-law.”

He said, “OK.”


In a nutshell, this is how office or corporate politics works.


At first, when I looked at this joke it sounded funny and even creative.  But then afterward I started looking at the whole scenario differently. Let’s start with the very first statement; the arranged marriage. Of course it’s nothing unusual for children to have arranged marriages, but what I see wrong with this whole scenario is the fact that the reasons behind the arranged marriage were completely self-serving on the father’s part. 


Secondly, from what the father tells his son, it is very clear that he is teaching his son to be dishonest and a conman.  He is teaching him to be self-serving and selfish, as well as a master con-artist. 


Thirdly, he is teaching his son that one does not have to work hard as long as you know people in high places. The lesson derived from that last statement where he calls the owner of World Bank to make his boy the CEO is that you don’t have to work hard to make it in life, but instead you only need to know people in high places. First of all, assuming that the father of the young boy actually did call the World Bank “owner”, which by the way is impossible because this is not the usual bank, did he think that he (the CEO) would give his son a job based on some silly idea that his son is the son-in-law of Bill Gates? 


And speaking of Bill Gates, is this man trying to suggest to us that Bill Gates is a person who is moved by “big names” when he himself already has a big name? Is this man also trying to suggest that materialism is the way of making it in life, seeing that name-dropping was the way he expected his son to ascend into a higher position in life? I mean, whatever happened to the whole idea of professionalism, experience in business and the like? 


I am not sure about you, but looking at this story now I realize how crazy it sounds. It is from this craziness that I have derived my message for today.


Unfortunately, this man is not alone in his thinking. There are so many people who have the same mindset as this old man. They think being a con artist is the surest way to the top. Whatever happened to good old hard work? What happened to real creative and progressive thinking? Listen, it is not wrong to know people in high places, please don’t get me wrong. What I find wrong is the assumption that because you know someone in high places, then that gives you the green light to do take advantage of them in order for you to get what you want, even if you don’t qualify for it or even deserve it like the boy in the silly joke above. 


Sadly though, so many people today are sailing in the same boat as this man, where they think ascending to the top is as easy as knowing someone in high places. A few years ago that might have been the case but in today’s world, this is not entirely true. Today people have become more results-oriented and since information is readily available on our fingertips than it used to be before, people now know what they want, how they want it and when they want it.

Getting to the top nowadays without proving yourself is not as easy as it used to be. You have to show your worth by showing what you will be bringing to the table, otherwise, the deal is off. Yes, you must show us what you know.


Speaking of deals though, so many people are interested in quick deals. So many young people are getting lost today because they are looking for quick deals. If you are reading this today, please take my advice and do what’s best for you; change your mindset and start working your way up. Shortcuts don’t always lead you closer to your goals, or closer to success. Sometimes they take you further from your goals.  Success has no shortcuts. Success has many corners, crazy bumps along the way, sometimes the roads are impassable and I can guarantee you the trip is always very long. Like Angela Duckworth said, “there is no shortcut to true excellence.


If you want to become the next CEO of a top bank, then pay the price of investing in yourself so as to increase your value. Like Jim Rohn said, “Success is something you attract by the person you become. Become more, you will have more. If you want to be the next best student in the country then invest in your education. Stop that idea of visiting your lecturers at night to offer some extracurricular activities in return for high grades. That is a shortcut that will not work because when you do eventually get a job that requires the course you have “studied” for, it will become apparent very quickly that you got those certificates through unscrupulous means.  The same case applies to being someone’s spouse. There’s no shortcut to getting the right spouse. Stop looking for someone who is "marriage material” and become marriage-material yourself. When you become marriage-material, then you will attract your match.


Life is an echo; it gives back to you what you give it. If you give it crap, it multiplies that crap to the power of 100 and sends it hurtling back to you.  If you give it positivity, it multiplies that to the power of 1000 and sends it back to you double-time. Remember, you are where you are today because of all your cumulative actions of your past. Also, keep in mind that all your actions are as a result of the thoughts you have had in your mind which you actually translated into actions. So if you want life to give you a positive echo, make sure your mind produces positive thoughts.


Instead of taking shortcuts like the old man was trying to teach his son to do, I recommend that you unleash your potential and climb to your success the right way. That is why this week in my ongoing #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 Book Reading Challenge I am recommending this book by Anthony Robbins called, “Awaken The Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!


Like I have always said, nobody who was born was born a loser. How you see and carry yourself determines whether you live to see your wins or not. Remember, it is not just who you know or what you know. It is what you do with that information that will change your situation or your life.


Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.


PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 24th of June, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".





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