I know of a businessman who twenty years ago built a reasonably good business in Lusaka. Unfortunately, something horribly went wrong in his decisions. He had partnered with a foreign investor to supply power equipment to ZESCO. As is common in most business partnerships, the other party was not fully committed to the business and this was the beginning of the end to a promising business journey. The business went under.
Over the years, the businessman experienced personal and family problems as the financial situation deteriorated. He lost his Avondale home, lost his vehicles and I was shocked when I saw him riding a bicycle. His physical stature had decimated and I was convinced at this point the next destination would be Chainama hospital.
Human beings generally fail to comprehend failure or drastic change of fortune. Many have died as a result. I know of many former ministers who could not cope with a change of status. Some were ill-prepared for that moment of demotion. Life is not a straight road; full of ups and downs. When we have money, there is the general feeling that we will always have it. Our judgment suddenly gets impaired. What is important to remember is that failure will always be part of us. Posterity will never judge us for failing. It will, however, judge us for failing to respond with courage and determination.
In the case of this businessman, I observed that he was not prepared to fall. Every morning, he used this bicycle to deliver merchandise to homes. I do not know how he was responding to the neighbourhood gossip, moving away from a moderate mansion into a servants quarters; nice vehicles to a bicycle. What generally kills us when we lose our wealth is fear of chinwag from the neighbourhood. Many would rather resign themselves into an early grave for fear of being turned into the neighbourhood source of gossip. This entrepreneur did not seem to care. He moved on with his head and shoulders raised.