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Message from the Morning Man: Why do you do it?


It’s Friday morning, discerning listeners.

Discerning Listeners…You know, sometimes I try to picture you all – the wonderful people I talk to for four hours and ten minutes every morning. Who are you, Discerning Listener?

Are you a CEO? Have you spent years climbing the corporate ladder, working harder and longer with every promotion until you now send emails at three am on a Sunday evening?

Are you a doctor? Are you coming home from your second twelve-hour shift in a row? Have you spent more hours this year doing locum work than you have with your children?

Are you an entrepreneur? Are you building your empire by the hour? Is the hustle keeping you awake, crunching the numbers, reworking the business plan, while the world sleeps blissfully?

Are you a politician? Are your days filled with twenty-minute meetings that last four hours? Do you spend more time trying to articulate the views of your masters, than you do fulfilling the mandate you were assigned?

Are you a lawyer? Are you up because your latest case requires more reading than ever? Have you  been practising your closing argument in the mirror all night?

Are you a banker? Is this your first time listening to the show this week, because you usually leave the house around four AM?

Whoever you are, Discerning Listener, one thing you’re very likely to be is hardworking. The Ghanaian Professional usually is, and this is great. We work hard, and hard work is good. But I hope we occasionally stop to remember why we’re working so hard in the first place. Is it for money, power, respect? Or something else we’ve all forgotten?

Once a fisherman was sitting near the seashore, under the shadow of a tree, sipping on his palm wine. A rich businessman came by, carrying his two briefcases, and asked why the poor fisherman was sitting under a tree, relaxing and not working. The fisherman replied that he had caught enough fish for the day. Hearing this, the rich man was surprised. “Why don’t you catch more fish instead of sitting in shadow wasting your time?”

The fisherman countered: “Why would I do that?” The businessman thought the answer was obvious. “You could catch more fish, sell them and earn more money, and buy a bigger boat”.

Fisherman was still quizzical. “What would I do then”? The businessman said, “You could go fishing in deep waters and catch even more fish and earn even more money”.

Again, the fisherman asked, “What would I do then?” With growing impatience, the businessman retorted, “You could buy many boats and employ many people to work for you and earn even more money”.

“What would I do then?” the fisherman asked serenely. ” You could become a rich businessman like me”, the businessman quipped with a smug grin.

Without missing a beat, the fisherman asked in the same level tone: “What would I do then?” The businessman picked up his two briefcases and, with the finality of a man arriving at a clearly logical conclusion, he said, “You could then enjoy your life peacefully”.

At this, the fisherman burst into fits of laughter, as he said, “What do you think I’m doing right now?”

I must say I’m proud of all hardworking Ghanaians who are toiling daily to make a difference in our nation. My friends, today, I just want us all to remember the fundamental reason for our daily toil. So take a break whenever you can, spend time with the family, buy yourself a new pair of shoes, take the occasional Friday off and go relax in your village. Take a little of the time you spend on others, and spend it on yourself. Let us learn to stop and smell the roses while we’re alive, because we don’t know how long we’ve got.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I work hard, just so i can play hard.


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