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Buckets or Pipes


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This is a story I shared in a number of seminars during the weekend, and I think it’s only proper that I share it with you as well. I’m not certain exactly who owns the story, but I believe I have read it in one of Robert Kiyosaki’s books before. It’s an interesting story that connects with us in some little ways. It’s the story of our lives, and we can clearly see where we are in our journey.

It so happened that once upon a time, in a village somewhere in Africa. A new king ascended the throne, and felt it was the right thing to get water for his people. He decided to hire the services of two good young men to help deliver the promise of water to his people. He offered to pay them $10 per 25 litre bucket of water, and the two of them were excited about the possibilities. The first day of work they both carried 10 pairs of buckets each. It was tedious and hard labor, but by the time they got their payment, they were excited all over again. They continued like this for one week, until one of the contractors called his colleague and told him that even though they were earning $200 per day, he did not feel that what they were doing was sustainable. He suggested to his colleague that rather than go to the stream to fetch water everyday, why not put forces together and develop a pipe that can run from the stream to the town. The colleague however wanted none of that approach. Why will he leave the bird in hand and be hunting for two in the bush. Why should he reduce the number of buckets he can fetch today, and focus on a pipe that might fail, that might burst, that might even be attacked by militants. Rather than take that risk, the bucket colleague continued to fetch his water. The pipe colleague decided to still carry about 4 buckets in a day to have some small cash, and focused his energies almost totally on constructing the pipes.

After 1 month, the pipe had gotten halfway. This ensured that the colleague who was developing the pipe didn’t need to travel as far as the bucket pusher to get more results and to still have time to focus on completing the pipes. After three months, the pipe was completed. On the day it was launched, he was able to fill over 100 buckets of water. Now he doesn’t need to go anywhere anymore, the pipes just need to be open and he’ll earn. The bucket pusher of course lost his job and had to apply to another village. His strength was also waning. He couldn’t go on vacation, he couldn’t really afford not to work for long. He doesn’t have time, he is busy, he is a bucket pusher!

Before you criticize the bucket pusher too much, I have a few questions for you. Can you afford to stop working for 3months or more? God forbid you have a health issue that requires your resting for 6 months, does that thought frighten you? Do you have income that does not require your input anymore to be made? Do you have a system that you are working on that has the capacity to be a pipe for you? Are you dimming your present to brighten your future? Are you carrying buckets or building pipes? Don’t get this wrong, having your own business is not building pipes, so long as the business needs you everyday, the chances are high that you have a bucket carrying business. When you die, nobody can inherit your bucket carrying business, but someone can inherit your pipe. Carrying bucket can become sophisticated with the use of trucks or cranes, but so long as there is no system, or the system requires your regular input to survive, you are still carrying buckets!

Carrying buckets is a good start, in fact it’s were we all have to start if we are to make anything in the short term. There are creative ideas that can make the buckets you even carry worthwhile and effective. If you want to grow and become wealthy however, you need to start working on your pipes. Let me give you a few examples of what can constitute a pipe, and the characteristics to watch our for in a good piping system.

1. A real estate investment can be a good pipe system. It’s simple, you invest money and time in building a house, and you put it up for rentals. Even if you don’t work for again, if you have enough of these type of investment, it continues to yield annually. If you live in a country where rent is paid monthly, you earn monthly. Like all pipes, there are some elements of risk. Risk here involves something major happens and people need to flee where your property is. There is a fire incident, a water incident or a natural disaster, or there is an economic meltdown and the values of property plummets. All good thing however have risks, so it’s just understanding the worst and moving in faith in spite of it.

2. Investment in some stocks could be a piping system. There are a few companies in Nigeria that have attained the status of a full pipe for their owners. We have not experienced many company transitions from owner to manager. Any company you can trust to last long, and still be around to pay dividends when you are no longer fit to work is a good pipe. All you need to do is build an investment profile that is big enough to make your dividends make sense. There may be lulls in the market on the short term, but to a person who is looking to build pipes there is no problem. There are people who enter the stock market with a bucket mentality, it’s fine. When these type of people seriously outnumber the pipe layers is when the economics begins to wobble. Investment in stocks is a time tested way of building a pipe. This also has it’s risk, the investment is in a business, and there is no business that is risk proof. It’s just that when all you are doing is carrying buckets, you are running a greater risk!

3. Network Marketing is another good piping system. Many of us have experienced the wrong type of Network Marketing. We have experienced companies that we didn’t know where not built to last. To know a network marketing opportunity that can build you a pipe, the design in place to make it last is crucial. If you ask me, I’ll say this offers the biggest piping potential amongst piping opportunities. Why, because in just a few months, or years, you can have a network that companies that have existed for 160yrs can’t boast of. Imagine for example that you are in a network where you make one sale per month, and coach your direct report (downline) to do the same, things will grow slowly, but if this model of small activity is maintained in 20 months, you’ll have a network of over 1 million people. Even if it was one per year, and it took you 20yrs to build this network, it is well worth it. There are network marketing companies that are over 50yrs old currently, and some that are 10yrs and in between. Some of them have millions already in their network and some people are not actively involved anymore, but are earning obscene amounts per week. The upside of this is that the capital requirements are very small compared to the first two, and is augmented by work. The downside and risk in this, is that the NM company may not last long, figuring out the DNA of a successful NM company is the required skill here.

4. Setting up your own business, and building systems to ensure that you can retire is a good system. I worked for Procter and Gamble early in my life, and I can say quite confidently that they have a good system. The company has existed of about 172yrs now, the owners have died, and their children too, but the company continues to yield returns for members of the Procter and Gamble family and many of the people who invested in the business along the way. Setting up a systemic business requires a lot of commitment, and hard work. It’s never an overnight success, it takes patience, perseverance and keeping one’s hopes alive. You contend with the speed of advancement of technology, with your environment, with changing times and changing policies, but if you build a business in an area that is your passion, you have a joyful ride all the way. Failure doesn’t move you, success doesn’t relax you. What you want is more than the results, even the journey is appealing to you. People have build businesses, that took care of them, and it’s a good pipe building option. The downside is, business is a risk and you may fail a few times before you succeed. I however do not know anyone who ever succeeded in something he/she never tried.

Are you carrying buckets or are you building pipes? Are you winding down your buckets for the pipes you are building? Or are you too busy with the demands of the buckets that you are not thinking about pipes. Don’t be foolish, the characteristic that qualifies the ants as an example of wisdom, is their ability to live today, with tomorrow in mind. We have said that fear is not enough to stop you, we have said you chose the game that you play, we have said a lot of things about a lot of things. Don’t miss out the essence. You are a spectator if the words touch you and there is no action. You are a player if the words make your game better. 

There are a number of pipes that I am building at the moment that you can be a part of if you want. We are not running beyond ourselves, we are taking it slowly as we have come to understand the value of patience and gradual sustainable growth. We don’t need superstars, just level headed people who are willing to dim the present a little to brighten the future. I have learnt from both my successes and my failures, and I’m much better off in action than someone who is afraid of falling.  If you are interested in knowing the pipes I am working on, and to be a part of this movement that is not confined to Nigeria or to Lagos. You can download skype and add me, my username is adeoluakinyemi. you can also mail me, or reach me on facebook. 2009 is a strategic year, and I’m looking for 300 people, whose financial destinies will be transformed. We’ll be going around Nigeria and around Africa. We’ll be building a big network of pipes, and perhaps kicking of a school of entrepreneurship as we go. There are pipes to build, and two are always better than one! So, whether we do it together or not, find you team, and start working on your pipes.

For additional reading – Kiyosaki’s quotes

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  1. This is a mind blowing one…I’m sure it must have provoke the thinking pattern of many people that read it…I have always been on the look out for opportunities, please let me know more about the pipe building as I want to be part of the construction engineers.

    Thank you,

    Obinna UniQuehnd

  2. “Don’t be foolish, the characteristic that qualifies the ants as an example of wisdom, is their ability to live today, with tomorrow in mind. “- Good thinking!!!

  3. Awesome! Awesome!! awesome!!! This one is like a two edged sword. I am liking it each minute i read it. Aba, Deolu, You re an inspiration. I am going ahead with the building of my own pipe. Right away

  4. Yemi, You funny well well o, make u no worry, militant no de worry themselves with that kind bucket wey u de use fetch water from well.Lol!!! I feel u sha! The only thing we should fear is fear itself according to FDR. I de miss u well well o

  5. thanks again, oga deolu, i have always been druming this into my brain and i am still focused on it, thanks

  6. Kilanko Oluwaseun

    What a lovely piece! God bless you,sir. You have taught me to be in support of new ideas especially the ones that will make life easier,I should develop myself in whatever I do and also that I should invest in what will make me work less and earn more. All these lessons for me? Thank you!

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