An African proverb “you cannot enjoy viewing masquerade carnival from a single location” is often used to encourage diversification. During carnivals, various masquerades perform several songs, dances and stunts in different locations to entertain cheering crowds. Because the masquerades move around to perform in different locations, viewers keep following different masquerades from one location to another. Yet, before the carnival, each masquerade patiently practices, prepares and decorates itself in a private location in order to attract viewers. Afterwards, two or more masquerade can collaborate as teams for some performances. Without patiently developing their professional bases, people seeking diversification easily become baseless speculators flocking wherever financial wind blows them.
Some motivational speakers challenge people to quickly diversify their sources of income and avoid carrying their eggs in one basket. Yet, they forget to tell people to discover, develop and fortify their bases as anchor for diversification to avoid premature diversification. In Nigeria, many pharmacy and engineering graduates seek jobs in banks and telecom service without establishing in their professions despite spending many study years. C. Ronaldo spent years to develop and fortify his footballing base before investing in perfumes, hotels, singlets, pants and other ventures. Bill gates developed Microsoft operating systems before his diversification into hardware computer accessories, phones, bags and software. The main element in sustainably influential people is focusing and patiently developing something useful to become viable before investment diversification.
Investment is the act of giving time and effort to a particular task in order to make it successful. It is like gradually growing a tree starting from treating, planting, manuring, weeding, watering, pruning and harvesting before mixing in fruit salad. So, you require focus, hard-work, patience and sacrifice to develop a skill, brand, product, career or idea for contributing to the society. When you have successfully developed and activated your base for social contribution, diversification becomes easier as collaboration with other devoted social contributors. But without identifying, developing and activating your base for social contribution like a well-prepared masquerade, you keep jumping between professions without social purpose or focus.
Different areas for social investment
The world is filled with different challenges, problems and needs. Being the prime of nature, humans work to manage and improve the world, solve problems and satisfy their needs. All human endeavours to solve problems and satisfy needs in a society can be categorized under production, administration and security.
- Production consists in creating wealth (products) and using it to solve problems or satisfy needs (services) on the individual level.
Wealth includes food, drugs, houses, machines, books, clothes, gadgets, weapons, vehicles, fuel and other material goods. They come from applying scientific knowledge on natural resources through experiments and fabrications. Three stages in material production include primary production for extracting the crude natural resources; secondary production for processing the extracted resources to become useful items; and tertiary production for distributing the commodities to consumers.
Service are the intellectual, emotional, social and physical assists we render to directly or indirectly solve problems and satisfy needs. They include research and distribution of knowledge, medical care, personal security, music, stories, drama, companionship, leadership, skills, sports, intimacy, beauty and arts. It comes from human efforts to discover, develop and use their specific talents and potentials for rendering services.
- Administration consists in organizing and regulating the activities in the society for peaceful collaboration. It involves making laws and policies to motivate and support people to discover, develop, use and trade their goods and services. Because of its central position and influence, administration employs the services of private citizens and corporations to fulfil its functions. It collaborates with all sections of a productive society to establish institutions for motivating, regulating, supporting and protecting the whole society.
- Security, on the societal level, is an extension of administration which is meant to protect the society from foreign and domestic threats. It requires gathering information on the society’s relationship with insiders and outsiders to primarily prevent attacks on the society. It also involves defending the society when the layers of preventive measures fail, and the society is attacked. Using different goods and services levied on the productive members of the society, the administration directs and coordinates the society’s security.
Though they are classified differently, these three roles work together to ensure progress and security for the society. Through nature’s generosity, each individual has some dispositions and talents for contributing from any role to solve problems or satisfy specific needs. By discovering, developing and using their talents, potentials or resources for solving problems in the society, humans earn happiness, income and dignity. When someone is working on what he/she enjoys and is naturally disposed to, the work becomes passionate and fun. But struggling to fit into some booming fields, while neglecting one’s passions, talents and dispositions may yield extra income, but not fulfilment.
Uniqueness in building each area of social functionality
Individuals who desire fulfilment from their work identify their passions, social problems or needs they desire to solve or satisfy. From identifying their social passions, they find, develop and utilize their talents or skills in addressing their social passions. The length of time required for attaining maturity varies from one plant to another: maize (3months), cocoa (3-4years) and mango (3-6years). After envying the maize’s maturation speed, if cocoa begins transplanting itself from one land to another, it will never attain maturity. Likewise, if people keep switching roles in pursuit of higher pay or quicker results, they may never attain professional maturity. Diversification in this case becomes a distraction and obstacle to maturity.
Why do people seek premature diversification?
Factors that contribute to premature investment diversification include:
- Impatience and social pressure: the sight and story of other people’s financial success can push people to divert their attention to other supposedly easier routes. Because they lack discipline, some people are not disposed to long-term goals. They seek immediate result from every enterprise and investment: profession, relationship, contract, mission or task. Though they may have good intentions and skills, their desire for immediate result makes them impatient and unable to have stable social impact.
- Socio-political instability: progressive societies are organized for people to contribute from any of the three categories of social functionality: productivity, administration or security. But, due to some political factors, some societies lack the social structure for progress, especially on productivity. By disorganizing and obstructing productivity, such political factors bring mass-exploitation, scarcity of amenities and a high level of desperation. In such desperation, many people are forced to abandon their preferred means of social impact, in order to survive by any available means.
- Not having a social purpose (opportunism): great societies are built by people who respond to social challenges by devotedly finding solutions and reforming the society. Yet, due to levels of social enlightenment, some people are so invested in fear and greed that they only hunt opportunities for personal gain. Such opportunists are like masquerade spectators without social investment or purpose, who smartly abandon any society once they stop benefiting from it. To benefit from exploitative social structures, they can even assist or defend exploiters than work towards social reform. No society can grow with such smart opportunists who only seek personal benefits in places organized by other people, or even in disorganized societies.
Managing the pressure for premature investment diversification
By their natural gifts of reason, creativity and responsibility, humans are the main agents of progress in the world. As agents of growth, nature assigns them individually at birth to different societies where they will support and harmonize growth. Also, nature deposits in each one some specific talents and dispositions with which they can influence progress in their society. They build progressive societies by properly developing their talents and collaborating with other people to develop and use theirs in the society. They invest in other people’s growth because one masquerade cannot make a carnival. So, managing the pressure of premature investment diversification can take these few steps:
- Find your social purpose: your purpose is the social issue or problem that disturbs your mind, and which you wish to solve. It could be hunger, poverty, diseases, ignorance, social disorder, unproductivity, war, crisis, emotional suffering or emptiness. You identify the problem which you feel deeply and passionately wish to solve. This is the area in which you wish to make a true and sustainable impact. Then identify how you want to solve the problem: whether from IT, education, sports, medicine, politics, religion, banking, manufacturing or any other.
- Find and develop your means: after identifying your social purpose and the means of impact, you evaluate, identify and start developing the potentials and talents you need for it. You develop it through patient and consistent practice, studies and training to master that specific area of social contribution. This is the most difficult stage, where people are tempted to shift their focus to other fields that seem easily lucrative. This stage comes with the highest level of pressure for premature investment diversification. In case of insufficient resources for development, the individual may need a side-activity that does not threaten the main purpose. Those who pass this stage eventually establish themselves in the field and become competent for their social impact.
- Connect with the right people: while establishing competence in your field, you connect with other people in the society for an interdisciplinary approach to social progress. A mason alone does not build a house. He needs a plumber, electrician, decorator, carpenter, painter and other professionals for a complete house. Likewise, while developing means for your social impact, you connect and motivate other people to master their own fields. After establishing your competence, you can start investing 10 percent of your income monthly in other serious people’s establishment and expect steady dividends from their growth. This is the best time for diversification and negotiation from a position of competence, authority and social purpose.
Food is not made to beautify itself, but to develop and supply its nutrients to the body before exiting the body as excreta. The end of food is not sh*t, but health in the human body. And food becomes useless if it exits any person’s body without supplying the required nutrients for which it was eaten. Likewise, the end of human beings is neither death nor self-enrichment, but making sustainable impact in the society. And humans live empty lives if they do not patiently develop themselves and make sustainable social impact before death. So, you were not born just to make a living, but to make sustainable impact in your society.
Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm
– Abraham Lincoln
 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, International Student’s Edition, 8th Edition, s. v. investment
 Cf. Henry Hazlitt, Economics in one lesson (New York: Pocket books, Inc. 1946) p.149
 Cf. Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 2009 edition, (Abuja: Panaf press, 2009) p.23
 Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “creating jobs by plugging people’s needs and creativity to the reward system” in Restartnaija, 28th August, 2018. https://restartnaija.com/2018/08/28/reward-ensures-the-continuity-of-creativity/ retrieved 12th August, 2019.