Knowing is not Enough. This is why they succeed


Many young people believe that they have great ideas. Ideas that will change the world, secure their name in the hall of fame or at the very least make them very wealthy. Yet, they have no money nor any achievement to show for their brilliant ideas.

Do you know someone like that? Maybe very close to you or maybe even you!

The question is, why do many people with great ideas rarely achieve them, while some people who are not really that talented, end up with great wealth.

I remember discussing about a man that sells some basic food commodities in main market Onitsha. He obviously didn’t attend any higher institution and will be considered an illiterate by most people’s standard.

However, by the last count, this man has already built 20 multi-story apartment in Obosi (a small town besides Onitsha). In the East where I come, there are many similar examples, and in Lagos where I live, even more, examples abound in all the major markets in Lagos.

Many factors are responsible for this trend and I will explain just a few of them here and hopefully more in subsequent post.

1. Knowing vs. Doing

Many young people spend years learning business or related courses in school. While I have nothing against schools, as I am also a graduate, I have realized that too much learning without application will actually paralyze you. This is why most of the richest people in the world are dropouts (think Bill Gates, Zuck among others)

To make matters worse and without trying to undermine our lectures, it is still important to note that most of our lecturers have not practiced what they are teaching us, and in fact teach the same thing every year, even when the world is rapidly changing every day.

This is why I started a business school after 18 years in business (and still counting).

Just last Saturday, while discussing with one of my students (Hassan Oyekan), he said and I quote,

“… If I have a choice of going to Harvard or attending Millionaires Academy, I will choose Millionaires Academy…”

While this seems farfetched, I understood what he was saying. Many business schools simply teach theory, but the bulk of our teachings, are from the school of hard knocks! Practical information that young people need to build a life and a career.

2. Apprenticeship

Another powerful reason why we have “illiterates” who seem to succeed more that “graduates” is apprenticeship.

This is one of the greatest secrets to the success of eastern traders. In fact recently, BBC carried a quiet documentary of this powerful phenomenon that has created uncountable millionaires who never went through the four walls of the university, but went through the real, practical university of apprenticeship, provided by their master.

I learned this lesson while in University, and so after school, I quickly started an apprenticeship under a real businessman, and that is where I learned the rudiments of business.

It is a pity that this wonderful institution is dying off, as more youths seek for faster wealth and most parents now insist on sending every teenager to higher institution, whether he scored 50 in Jamb or 20.

The end result is a constant production of hundreds of thousands of unemployed, confused and half-baked graduates flooding the labor market. No offence guys! but our school system is totally broken.


3. Peers

Another extremely important factor of success that many youths are not aware of, is the critical effect that people you hang out with, has on your future.


Your friends today, are a mirror of your future. …Engr Emma Okoro.

If they are worthless, people with little ambition, you are going to become worthless eventually. If they are complainers and whiners, you will end up blaming the nation for all your woes and have nothing to show for your life.

But if you are hanging out with Shola Akinlade , co founder of paystack, you will soon have a big fintech company. If you are hanging out with Chimamanda Adichie, you will soon write an earth shattering novel, if you are hanging out with Razaq Ahmed, cofounder of cowry wise, you will soon have your own hi tech solution company. If Emmanuel Ademola of Landwey is your buddy, you will soon have a big estate of your own.

Don’t mind the names I mentioned, I just want to show you a few young people (in their 20’s and 30’s) that are blazing pathways in our peculiar economy. You can add other young achievers you know below.

Do you know that all of Zuck’s roomates and buddies are now billionaires, basically because they hung out with Zuck.

Do you know that Billionaire Steve Ballmer past CEO of Microsoft, knows almost nothing about programming when he joined Microsoft, but his major ticket to great wealth, was being a class mate and buddy of Bill Gates, before he dropped out of Harvard.

And what of Steve Jobs and his pal Steve Wosniak?

I will say this again. Your friends today, are a mirror of your future. If you don’t like what you are seeing, quickly change your friends. But if you doubt this, then write about your story in the next 20 years.

A word is enough for the wise…

Wishing you success.

Engr Emma Okoro

Coordinator, Millionaires Academy