IF there is one story that everybody loves, it’s one where somebody rises, falls and picks himself up to triumph. There’s nothing like a good old fashioned comeback. It’s only a sadist that loves to see someone fall, and fall for good.

Whenever somebody appears to be the underdog in any given contest, I do not know why but there is something about an underdog that makes people root for them. Perhaps it’s because most of us human beings might have an innate sense of justice, we hate to see a bully succeed.

A comeback is something that takes a lot of psychological strength. A disappointment is never easy to fathom, as they say – it’s a bitter pill to swallow. There is a reason why it is called a bitter pill to swallow.

I’m sure each of us has taken oral medicine; it’s often not tasty, and what’s more, you normally take it with water which is tasteless and you can taste the medicine when it touches your tongue – it’s usually bitter.

Nobody likes that bitter taste, just as nobody enjoys a disappointment. Unfortunately though, disappointment is a part of life.

There is no running away from troubles. If you’re going to live, then know you will face challenges and some will end in disappointment. What will matter then as I often say is the courage to pull it together and fight on.

A story of success from the get-go is not always as common as one where you have to struggle and go through all sorts of things before you eventually triumph. Life’s plans are seldom actualised through smooth sailing. You always have to jump a few hurdles before enjoying a benefit of some sort.

There is a man called Jannie Mouton. Mouton is a great value investor in South Africa.  He runs an investment company called PSG which has a market capitalisation of US$12.5 billion.

He is a well accomplished investor today, but it was not always a case of smooth sailing for him. Mouton made the front cover of the Forbes Africa magazine July, 2017 edition.

The related article revealed that on 5th August, 1995, Mouton was fired from a stock broking firm in which he was a partner. As if that was not enough, his name which formed part of the brokerage name – Senekal Mouton & Kristoff – remained on the door. 22 years down the line,

Mouton remembers the experience so vividly. Mouton’s words, ‘If you were fired in your life, you must have realised you’ve made a mistake. I think it was a good lesson. It’s a team effort and all the team must be happy and must respect their standing credibility and wisdom. I’ve learned a lot about that.’

The article quoted Mouton’s son – Piet – on his father’s ordeal two decades ago, “I was in first year (of university) and was 19 years old. The first part started with Jannie being fired. He was so ashamed he got my mother to phone and say he’d resigned.”

Such is life when you are down, especially if you have been doing well almost all your life. When you are used to accomplishment starting from your school days – primary and secondary – going all the way into college/ university and then work, it is very difficult to deal with disappointment.

In fact, you’re more likely to have difficulty coming back from disappointment than a man who has been failing for many years and then starts moving forward only to face a disappointment.

So make no mistake about it ladies and gentlemen, a setback, a disappointment can really deal you a fatal blow if you do not have the heart to fight on. It takes being a man of steel to make a comeback.

Back to Mouton, following the disappointment of his firing, he proceeded to buy a 51 percent share of Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed PAG for R3.5 million.

He sold it two years later for R107 million turning a profit on the sale of 2,957 percent in just two years. And with that he went on his way to build a mega investment group with holdings in banking, education, agribusiness among others. Mouton has successfully completed his comeback, what about you?

Wallowing: Nobody likes wallowing, nobody likes to feel useless and certainly all serious minded people hate to be in stagnation. And of all the things that I have mentioned which are undesirable, the worst thing in the world is to fail and give up.

That is an absolute no no! You have to fight your way back to your desired position, even if it takes you retreating for a little bit only to return and triumph.

In life, there is such a thing as a holding role; a role in which you are simply staying adrift before you make your next move. The holding role is a very important one for anyone that is looking to accomplish big things in life because things in life do not always move at the pace that we desire.

They say God’s plans are not our own, but at the same time whatever we ask God, if we have even the slightest of faith and we believe that we have it, then it will be granted to us.

So always remember that there are different ways in which to play a holding role. If business is moving slowly and cash flow is at its worst, you may consider getting a job in order to sustain just as long as you do not forget about your dreams.

If you work and stress levels are getting higher, you may consider going on leave in order to refresh. When things are not going, we all need to sit down and press the reset button.

It is when we reset that we will be able to make a comeback. So ladies and gentlemen out there, Mouton got fired from his own company and he came back to build a multi-billion dollar business.

Not that work must be taken for granted, but here in Zambia, we are so hooked to our jobs such that you almost never hear anyone talking about resigning to pursue other interests. It’s like talking about leaving a job is some kind of blasphemy! Interestingly even people close to retirement would want to hang on to their jobs, but surely – Is there no other role that you can play in Zambia?

How many people do we hear of who have long since passed their best yet they are sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring and hear that they’ve got such and such an appointment.

In life, there is such a thing as moving on. It’s better to move on, reinvent yourself and make a proper come back as something special – not begging for your old job back!

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