Saturday, October 22, 2011


I dug this piece as well from my archive; I’m not sure you have seen it. It was written by the legendary Deolu Akinyemi. Have a happy reading.

Once upon a time, a big manufacturing company had a problem with their machine. Their machine was huge and monstrous and it was quite a challenge to pin down exactly what the problem was. The machine simply stopped working, their internal engineers tried tirelessly, but hours rolled into days, and days headed for weeks. They decided to hire the services of a city renowned expert engineer.

The engineer came to the site as soon as he was briefed. Like all engineers, the first thing to do for him was to diagnose before prescribing solutions. He had a word with the heads of operation of the company and they commissioned him to solve the problem. He strolled into the engine room; it was a really big room with lots of pipes, engines and cylinders. It was a big operation. The expert engineer strolled in, observing carefully as he walked along; few engineers from the company closely behind him, trying to see for themselves where the problem was. The expert engineer, oozing the wisdom that comes from plenty of white hair strolled carefully around the entire room, touching, pausing, feeling and thinking; after walking around for about 30 minutes. The engineer requested for a hammer from his tool box. He took out the hammer, and hit a particular spot on one of the cylindrical pipes. He asked them to switch on the engine, they did, she struck the place again, and as if by one stroke of magic, the engine’s responded, and began to work again. He asked them to switch off the engine, and then turn it on again. The machine responded as if there had been no problem whatsoever, it worked smoothly.

All the engineers were surprised, but excited. Alas the machine was up again. News went fast to the operations manager and the CEO, the expert engineer was indeed an expert, as he had solved a very complex problem that had bedeviled the whole company and help them ransom for too long. Their excitement however faded when the expert engineer sent them his bill. He was demanding for a small sum of $10,000. The engineers could not believe their eyes, the operations manager was exasperated. He could not reconcile the bill, with the story he had heard of how the problem was solved. Not to appear rude by denying the expert of his charges, the operations manager requested that the expert engineer break down his bill, so that the company could understand what they were paying for.

The expert engineer wrote his bill promptly. $1 for tapping the pipe, $9,999 for knowing where to tap!

Value is not in the physical activity to the expert engineer, it’s in the knowledge that the expert has. Anybody can tap, but few people know where to tap, how to tap, when to tap and why tap. Knowledge is valuable! Small wonder the holy book has in one of it’s wise sayings, “wisdom is the principal thing, and with all you get, get understanding”, in fact there is a version that says about knowledge, that even if it costs all you have, or all that you’ll ever have, go for it! Wisdom is the right application of knowledge; wisdom is the tapping and the knowing put together.

Interestingly, we are in an age driven by information. The leader is not the strongest physically as it was when the biggest economic activity was war, it’s not the man with the biggest farm, as it was during the agrarian age, neither is in in the complexity of structures as it was with the technology driven age, today we are in a time where the most informed, or those who can control what we see, hear or think, literally control us. We are in an age where we are overloaded with commercials on all sides. Everybody wants to get their information into our thinking; everybody wants a little space on the hard disc of our mind. The world is shrinking so fast that what used to be called global news, now seems very local. In this age and time, you cannot afford not to be informed. You cannot afford to spend your life tapping around in aimless trial and error when the pool of knowledge lies a few meters from where you are.
The reason why the axe is not cutting well is because the cutting edge needs to be sharpened. The reason why we exert ourselves is because we are operating contrary to wisdom. If you know how the machine works, you’ll know where to tap. My motivation today is simple, get knowledgeable! How, you may ask?
Watch out for the concluding part. Have a blessed day.

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