Strive Masiyiwa sat for a live panel interview at a Youth Town hall in Dar es salaam. This was a highly anticipated event as evidenced by the large crowd in attendance at the townhall and online. These were people who strive for success and sat to hear the words of a wise man, whose success and character are an inspiration to a dynamic continent of talented youth. Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe’s richest man, is the founder and CEO of Econet wireless telecommunications group,a diversified company with operations in nearly 6 countries. Mr Masiyiwa is also renowned for his work as a philanthropist and his commitment to inspiring our African youth. During this 130 minute event, Mr Masiyiwa had more than a few pieces of advice of extreme value to any eager young person.
Do not be satisfied with dissatisfaction in your career. Mr Masiyiwa began by narrating his entrepreneurial story. Having lived up to the expectations of his humble background by graduating from University and earning a job at a telecom company, Mr. Masiyiwa seemed to have it all. However, he talks about the dissatisfaction he felt in his job and his subsequent quest for an efficient telecom industry in Zimbabwe. This perpetuates the point that whenever you are not satisfied with your job, you have room to try something you are passionate about and succeed. Satisfaction in your work is the greatest gift you can render yourself. Your career is your platform for exuding excellence; it is a story which you must make a best seller
Effective time management is a crucial skill in life.”When it is important find the time, when it is extremely important make the time”,responds Mr Masiyiwa to a question on how to juggle business/career and family life. The takeaway from this quote is the essence of priority which many people fail to understand and incorporate in life. Set your priorities through knowing what is important to you at a moment in time. You may be a woman with tons of commitments but you should always rank those that are of utmost importance at that time. This does not mean that the others are not as important. It just has huge implications on how you allocate your time. Your priorities are “extremely important” of which you should “make” the time for. On the other hand, your non-priorities are “important” of which you allocate to time you find. Through this simple principle, you can efficiently navigate your commitments in your life through mastering the art of time management.
“Entrepreneurship at the greatest is when you reach out for a human need and try to solve it.” A common question addressed to Mr Masiyiwa was “what are the opportunities for entrepreneurship in the African continent?” Unfortunately, thinking of entrepreneurial opportunities in terms of certain industries or fields is wrong. The most successful entrepreneurs aim at addressing a need. The problems in our continent are numerous and varied and they are your entrepreneurial opportunities. Look around you and notice the problems and needs people have then tune yourself to brainstorm for solutions.Each time you see problem, think of the possible solutions to it.
Opportunity = Need
Attitude is everything. Mr Masiyiwa urges the youth to “take a perspective” or a stance and “never get flustered” Your attitude is the underlying factor within you that reflects the results of every aspect of your life. Your perception towards every event, every person, and every endeavour in your life determines your reaction, your expectations and effort in every situation, and that is an invaluable attribute. That said, we need to learn how to feel our attitudes and tune them in the right way for every situation. In other words, we need to train ourselves to think in certain ways in order to attain success.
Learn to develop essential skills. Mr Masiyiwa also spoke elaborately on the essential skills needed in a 21st century young person. He insists that a skill is not necessarily God-given as “It can be learned and practiced and you will have to do it over and over again.” The first and most crucial skill is to love your neighbour and you love yourself. This is not just a bible verse that you can choose to adhere to. It is really the foundation of entrepreneurial activities particularly entrepreneurship itself as a calling to cater to a human need as well as the teamwork needed to attain success. Furthermore, Mr Masiyiwa did not cease to motivate the youth in the midst of failure. He urges us to be resilient and to not fear failure as it is only an obstacle in the quest of success. Because just like how eagles hunt even in the worst of storms, we will persevere even in the worst of failures.