We hear this every time; ‘there are no opportunities for the youth’, ‘It’s only the people in power who get rich’, ‘we have no access to capital to seize any oppprtunities’ and on and on.
Quite frankly, we’re directing excuses of failure at opportunities of success – which is why I’m not surprised at a statistic I heard recently at USIU that said only 4 out of 1000 people can be successful entrepreneurs.
I am almost obsessed with looking for opportunities wherever I am. Whether I’m sitting in a restaurant noticing areas where efficiency can be increased or areas of untapped potential – to sitting in traffic and seeing what necessities are not being addressed.
When you train yourself to look for practical solutions to problems, you’ll open your mind countless opportunities available. You’ll see that no one can monopolise each and every opportunity to add value to society, and you’ll realize there are very proactive steps – often baby steps – you can take to achieve your goals.
Take for instance the security situation that Kenya faces today. Evil has entered our country and has perpetuated itself in the worst form imaginable – making us fear the most basic of tasks for risk of attack. While our security forces are tasked with addressing that danger, there have arisen several opportunities to make regular citizens safer. Formal security services can be provided at bus stops at a fee to the matatu and bus operators who ply those routes – a very visible and alert security presence will be more of a deterrent than nothing at all. And that’s just one opportunity to add value to citizens while addressing a need.
Wherever you find yourself, you can add value to people’s lives – thereby seizing opportunities by creating businesses that address problems. If you ‘leave it for later’ because you can’t address something – I guarantee you someone else will find a way to get it done.
Another clear need that is arising is the need for the enabling of the bottom-of-the-pyramid economy – the focus of my work. We know that the more you empower people with micro businesses – show them a way forward and an ability to enhance their lives – the less prone they are to adopt violent, desperate or extremist behavior. Where there is no hope, there exists a void that can be filled with whatever anyone with influence cares to fill it. We can be a part of the positive, rather than saying ‘that’s someone else’s responsibility’.
Be a part of the solution. It’s not an easy road, but nothing ever is. You won’t get rich quickly, nothing guarantees that. But you get to be part of something bigger; you get to positively impact people’s lives and grow at the same time. I promise you, there are few better feelings than that.
Stay safe and add value wherever possible.