There’s a story told about a businessman who went to see a close and trusted friend.
“Things are so tough,” he began to say, “I feel I’m in a deep hole and every day it just seems to get deeper.”
“Tell me the problem,” the other man asked sympathetically.
“Everyone is against me,” his friend said emphatically, then he began to list all the people who had undermined him and wanted to take over his company. It was a pretty impressive list.
After a while, his friend chipped in: “It appears almost everyone is trying to destroy you?”
“Absolutely!” And he continued to give more detail of people and things that had conspired to undermine his business.
“So what are you going to do?” his friend finally asked.
“I shall fight and fight.”
The friend listened and then gave this advice: “I noticed as you were speaking that you yourself do not believe that you have contributed in any way to this situation?”
“No, I have not contributed in any way at all!”
“I see. So what will you do?”
“That is why I’ve come to you for help. I need to borrow some money to see me through this problem for the next few weeks.” The friend then politely declined to give the man any assistance.
I personally would not help such a person. Do you know why?
# If you find yourself in a “hole” for whatever reason, the first thing you must do is to stop digging and making the hole bigger.
# People who refuse to accept responsibility for any situation they’re in will only make the situation worse by the actions they take. If you have a problem to solve in business, don’t get distracted by looking for scapegoats or trying to mobilize political support against perceived enemies. This is why many state-owned enterprises (parastatals) find it so difficult to solve business problems.
# If you want others to help you, you must first stop digging, let go of the shovel, and allow a trusted someone to give you a hand up!
# To move forward, you must dust yourself off and analyze honestly how you got yourself into that hole. While you may feel a bit defeated, don’t just drown your sorrows with drink or other destructive and time wasting habits. An eagle in a storm must be alert for danger and opportunity at all times, not at risk of slamming into a cliff or falling into a different kind of hole!
What is the Japanese proverb? “Fall down seven times, stand up eight!”
Author: Strive Masiyiwa is a London-based Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of diversified international telecommunications group Econet Wireless