I was watching the latest episode of ABC’s Shark Tank on Hulu yesterday and admiring Mark Cuban’s genius. A thought came into my head from a quote I had read before:
“Only the student can defeat the master”
Mark Cuban gets better and better with each investment he makes. He learns from each one and his contributions in the tank are legendary. He has become a “Master”. I follow him everywhere, even off Shark Tank and consume his wisdom from far.
As I was thinking, it occurred to me that, “Mark Cuban is human” and I can be like him too and better. He is not a “feel good” super hero from a movie, he is a living role model to be emulated. For me to be better than him, I will have to beat him or surpass him. Maybe even become his adversary.
It made me realize what really scares a lot of African businessmen and why they don’t share. They are afraid that the student will become better than the Master. They are afraid of creating adversaries.
Creating better students than the Master is however a virtue in Martial Arts. The greatest satisfaction a Master can have is to finally be beaten by his own student. It means that he has succeeded in keeping the art alive and passing on knowledge to the next generation.
I also realized another reason why most of the African businessmen don’t share. They never had any Masters themselves. Those who had good Masters , pass on knowledge and become Masters themselves. It is what happens in the Igbo trader/artisan’s “Imu Ahia” model. It is what has created the greatest informal distribution network on Earth. I will write more on that shortly.
“He who is taught only by himself has a fool for a master”. — Ben Jonson
That quote above is self explanatory