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Scaling the walls of life, part 5

Hi folks, I’m back again with another edition of the “Scaling the Walls of Life”. I hope the previous editions have been useful; and I believe you are reading at least a book a week as I prescribed the last time.

Anyway, let’s me zero in on our subject for today: and I want to talk about trust. Trust can not be learned, purchased or acquired. They can only be earned. And you have to do everything in your power to earn it! Your success in life hinges on this essential virtue. It can make or unmake you!

A true story is told of a popular businessman in Ghana who made it from rags to riches through trust. The man I’m talking about was an “adieyie” many years ago who went about sewing bad clothes for a fee. Striking his frikywa finger bell, he sang to attract customers:

Adieyie with his machine
Went to town to sew bad clothes
When he shouted adieyie
People start to laugh at him
When he shouted adieyie
People start to laugh at him

He went through this in the scorching sun on a daily basis. There were days that business went bad and he did not get any cloth to sew, but through it all he never gave up. And it was one of such days that he had his breakthrough. He was passing by the house of a White family: the children in the house were excited about the music of the adieyie and requested that he is invited to entertain them. After the invitation, the adieyie was offered the job of a houseboy which he willingly accepted.

He served the expatriates diligently and faithfully; and when they were leaving Ghana for good, they put him in charge of their fabric shop. He met all the sales target given to him. To cut a long story short, he was asked to pay for the shop in installments which he did, and eventually became the proud owner; and that was how the Adieyie became a millionaire. His fabric shop which was around the Cow Lane in Accra was the biggest and most popular in the country in the 70s and 80s.

On the contrary, many people have blew away life-changing opportunities because of mistrust. I’m pretty sure that a good number of our youth praying for job opportunities will not live up to expectation when their prayers are answered. About a year ago a young man pestered me to find him a job as a driver. One day, I asked him to take my car to the workshop for a minor maintenance work which shouldn’t have taken more than an hour. He spent almost half a day and brought the car unfixed. When questioned, he gave me so many excuses as to why the problem on the car wasn’t fixed. Interestingly, the half tank of diesel in my car had reduced to some few litres when he returned the car.

He came home the next day for the car to execute the unfinished assignment of the previous day. I bought more diesel, and secretly set the readings on the speedometer to zero before giving him the car keys. And as usual it took him several hours before he brought the car back. When I checked the speedometer, he had travelled 150 kilometres, meanwhile, the workshop was only 10 kilometres away! In fact, I became skeptical about his behaviour and decided not to find him any job because I didn’t want him to embarrass me; but his situation was very critical – his children had been sent home for non-payment of school fees, and on second thoughts, I decided to help him. I convinced a friend to buy him a taxi, but unsurprisingly, the young man woefully disappointed!

He failed to render account for the agreed money he was to give my friend daily. There were too many excuses; it was either the car had a breakdown or he was arrested by the police or something else. My friend had no other choice than to take back his car. The driver is still jobless and he is in serious financial crisis more than before. Funny enough, he is jumping from church to church for a financial miracle!

In conclusion, I want to reveal that most private Ghanaian businesses are not doing well because of lack of trust. There is a large format printing firm managed by Chinese where I have been printing banners for my programmes. Their lead time is excellent; they always delivered on time. One day, I was going to them to print some banners for my book launch, I was approached by another company doing the same job but managed by Ghanaians within the same compound where the Chinese were operating.

The Ghanaians convinced me to give them the job to help build a local business, and reminded me that I will be helping develop a foreign company at the expense of a local one if I give the job to the Chinese. I remembered the clarion call for us to patronize made in Ghana Goods, and I felt guilty. I gave the job to them, and I got my fingers burnt! It took them days to finish a job that the Chinese would have taken few hours to do. The sad part of my story is that I couldn’t use the banners for the book launch because they were delivered after the event. I never went back to the Ghanaians to do any job. I still patronize the services of the Chinese.

Trust, is therefore, a major key to your success and breakthrough as you scale the walls of life. You must strive to earn it! And don’t forget that trust is built and maintained by many small actions over time.

Anthony Obeng Afrane



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