All the power you can ever use now exists and awaits your intelligent mastery
– Dr. Edward I. Kramer
Several years ago, I attended a Christian foundational class at what is called the School of Exploits in my church. The resource person, Pastor Gbenga Efueye, (who also happens to be my General Overseer) stressed on the potential havoc that ignorance can play in a man’s life.
According to him, ignorance means darkness, and if you are ignorant about something, you are indeed in the dark about it, and can easily miss your way and dash your ‘feet’ along the path, since you are in the dark. “Until you have knowledge about a thing, you will be kicked here and there concerning it by the several inevitable vagaries of ignorance,” he stressed.
In this write-up, I have decided to address the imperative of acquiring knowledge in the process of wealth creation, wealth management/multiplication and wealth preservation.
Stock market ignorance
Many Nigerians, even among the educated elite, have little or no knowledge about the stock market for instance, and it is a known psychological fact that you harbour a certain level of fear and resentment for whatever you have no knowledge about. So, such people end up being apprehensive of stock market investments, and miss out on the formidable opportunity for wealth creation that lies in that market.
All over the world, stock markets have been veritable sources of wealth creation, regardless of the global ‘crash’ the markets experienced in 2008. The markets always bounce back, and many wise investors will still harvest large returns when they eventually do. Ask investors like Warren Buffet about their activities in the global stock markets over the decades.
Meanwhile, some of the people who manage to overcome their resentment and apprehension of the market just ‘endeavour’ to put some funds in the market, and whenever there is a market downturn such as price depreciations of their stocks, they lose heart and sell off their holdings, swearing never to approach the market again!
Ignorance as bondage
Ignorance or lack of knowledge about a thing is really bondage in that thing, and the right kind of knowledge will throw in some light and truly ‘set you free’ just like the Good Book promises.
However, you must be ready to pay the price of diligent study to acquire the requisite knowledge that will galvanise you and aid your ascent in both your private affairs and public undertakings.
A lot of people are of the opinion that there are lots of risks in the stock market, but Warren Buffet – who should know, being reputed to be the world’s greatest stock market investor – put it succinctly when he said that risk comes from not knowing what you are doing. I agree with him to the extent that knowledge of your investment windows and profile will go a long way to alleviate the risk, and help you hedge against the uncertainties inherent in investment decisions.
That is why you find many astute investors having loads and loads of information, data and records at their disposal.
Successful people indeed do form the habit of doing what failures don’t like to do, just as Earl Nightingale stated. You must do this and equally look ahead, for he who does not look ahead remains behind, as the Spanish would say.
Investing in your mind
A preacher once said you must invest in your mind to move forward. This is in consonance with what the great Andrew Carnegie once said: There is a power under one’s control that is greater than poverty, greater than lack of (formal) education, greater than all of one’s fears and superstitions combined; it is the power to take possession of one’s own mind, and direct it to whatever ends one may choose.
Man, if he chooses to, could be the master of his fate, according to Shakespeare. Dr. Sidney Newton Bremer, a man whom I consider as a mentor (on paper), couldn’t have been any more correct when he also said that the biggest room in the world is the room for self-improvement.
When the sun rises, it rises for everyone. In the same way, knowledge is there for everyone to grasp – but you must be inquisitive enough to go searching for it, as it will never come searching for you!
How to obtain the light of knowledge
The means of acquiring knowledge are endless, and go beyond the four walls of a school, even though that is the usual means through which formal knowledge is acquired.
Many have been known to tutor themselves in the art of reading and writing, having been denied the opportunity of going to a ‘proper’ school. If this is true – and I know it is – then it follows that just about anyone can tutor himself on any matter. The underlying requisite factors are interest and a burning desire to attain the knowledge.
You can, therefore, learn through books, seminars, close association with knowledgeable people, tapes and CDs, private tuition, and many other such means.
Mark Twain once said that the man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read, so the mere fact that you can read grants you no advantage in the realm of knowledge acquisition.
The beauty of education
Education, apart from giving light, does one thing no other experience has been known to do: it stretches the human mind into unprecedented levels. And the human mind, when thus stretched by an idea or combination of ideas as education does, never regains its original dimension. That is the reason for the popular saying that education is the best legacy you can bequeath on anyone.
The simple reason the educated or enlightened man ‘behaves’ differently from an uneducated one is that illumination, as is generously provided by education, changes the inner attitudes of a man’s mind, and by so doing changes the outer aspects of his life.
So, grab an education today. And it is never too late to do that. I did hear of a certain Nigerian who got his first degree at 76! Now can you beat that? Do you still think you are too old to get an education now? I guess not.
Also, do not despair that you are ‘lowly’ now. Listen to Oliver Wendell Holmes: “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.”
And to this, I dare add that you only ask yourself the following questions regularly:
“Where am I headed?” and
“If I continue doing what I’m doing now for the next ten years, where will it get me?”
He who does not advance, recedes – Latin Proverb
The heights by great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow