Many Nigerians subscribe to the “Hustle o” idea. Thanks to the creativity of leading comedians, the idea has become some kind of mantra. Lines like: “Hustle o, make your friends no use your teeth as opener for party;” Hustle o, make your neighbours who don go work, no telephone to ask you whether there is NEPA (light) at home;” “Hustle o, make dem no ask your children to play role of gate-man in their school play…” are a few examples of the many ‘Hustle o’ messages. It is an expansive field that allows anyone to craft and share their own ‘version’ of the idea. To stimulate, challenge and encourage everyone to put their hands to the proverbial plough and be up and doing.
When many persons picture the hustle, they include seeking out individuals with contacts or access to contacts that could open opportunities for them. These opportunities are usually of a material nature. So, there is almost always a chasing after contacts and persons whose assets and reach could be leveraged for some benefits.
It is a welcome mantra and should be encouraged for much of how it ties with the protestant work ethic in its basic essence, and its overall impact on the level of productivity in any economy. Yet there is need to employ discretion in the hustle. There is need to give thought to
other elements that make up the specific hustle beyond the attraction of cash and other material benefits. This here is a benefit derived from considering more deeply some of the comments made by Billionaire businessman and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates on his recent divorce from his wife and friend of twenty-seven years, Melinda Gates during a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. He called the divorce “a very sad milestone.”
In a classical story that reminds every one of us about the huge mistake in taking things at face value, Gates admitted he “made a mistake” by his association with Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced billionaire and convicted sex offender. By the way, Epstein did not have those appellations at the time of the active association between both men. But were there red flags that pointed in those directions, which he may have noticed?
Meanwhile, what made him seek the company of Jeffrey Epstein in the first place? It was the hustle. Philanthropy hustle. Who can query or question the motive in seeking more funds to enable the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation do much more than it has done across the world? Who can query the intention behind that laudable goal?
Despite the noble intentions, Gates regrets the association, not only because it introduced a wedge into his relationship with his wife, but because it appears as if Jeffrey Epstein was only leading him on without an real intention to persuading his friends to support the work of the Foundation. Looks like Epstein was ‘posting him,’ as they say down town. Hear Gates: “I had several dinners with him, hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts that he had might emerge. When it looked like that wasn’t a real thing, that relationship ended. But it was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him credibility. There were lots of others in the same situation, but I made a mistake.”
The message out of this sad episode if for all hustlers to take discretion along in the hustle. Discretion is the angel over our shoulders with the alarm clock to warn us every time, while in the hustle, to remember that not all that glitters is gold. May God help us heed the warnings when they appear.