On investing in stocks, how he’s like an Egyptian pyramid and why regret is a wasted emotion.
At a glance: Tebogo Ditshego is the group CEO of Ditshego Investment Group, CEO of Ditshego Media, chairman of the South African Reading Foundation, and a judge in season four of SABC 1’s One Day Leader.
How would you describe yourself? I’m like an Egyptian pyramid. At first, what I try to build looks crazy, but my patience, persistence and long-term focus gradually turns what seems impossible into a probability, and eventually a reality.
What passions does your wealth allow you to indulge? Reading and travel. It’s always eye opening to read a new book because you’re able to travel to other parts of the world, and experience what others have experienced from the comfort of your armchair.
Does being wealthy equate to being happy? In the sense that the opportunities I’m able to create for others give me fulfilment.
What’s your fundamental wealth-growth strategy? I invest 20% or more of my total monthly income in stocks. Benjamin Graham, American economist and author of The Intelligent Investor, recommends investing a percentage in bonds, but so far I’m invested in stocks. The bulk of my investments go towards growing my business.
What financial advice would you give your 20-year-old self? I’d tell my 20-year-old-self to invest 20% of his income in stocks. That’s all I’d say. My view is that even if you’re earning a small amount today, when you look at it in a few years’ time, you’ll be surprised at how it accumulates.
Low risk or high? I’m high risk and long term when it comes to investing.
What did you do with your first pay cheque? I bought clothing, and a few months down the line opened an investment account.
Who would you most like to have a one-on-one with, and what would you ask? I’d have a one-on-one with Rwandan president Paul Kagame and ask him how he managed to turn the country around to become one of the world’s growing economies. He follows me on Twitter but I haven’t yet had this conversation with him.
Why would you hire yourself (or not)? Yes, because I underpromise but overdeliver, take initiative and deliver consistently excellent work.
What are your views regarding philanthropy? Philanthropy must be guided by principles that transcend the company and the business in which it operates. Even if you contribute in your industry, you should also contribute to the betterment of your community, country and world.
What gives you hope? My long-term goals and looking at how far I’ve come in my career.
What makes you happy? My name is Tebogo, which means appreciation. So I’d say being appreciated contributes to my happiness. Internally, appreciating what I have also plays a role.
Who or what inspires you? Breathing. As long as I’m alive, I’ll be inspired. I’m also inspired by those who came before me and what they had to overcome to succeed in their respective crafts.
What is your greatest failing? I don’t remember.
Which of your qualities do you most appreciate? My equanimity. I’m able to remain calm in the midst of a storm and this makes for level-headed decision making — consistently.
Which of your qualities do you like least? None. My bad qualities are what make me human. These include being a perfectionist and setting high expectations immediately. I do have to manage my expectations.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would have a faster metabolism, so I wouldn’t need to work so hard at gym.
What have you learned from failure? That failure is only final if you quit.
Which talent would you most like to have? I have all the talents necessary to excel in my industry. When I was in high school, I discovered I had a talent for public speaking and communication. I invested in them by studying communication at the University of Johannesburg.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Writing a fiction book titled Kasi Nerd; being listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s top 30 African Entrepreneurs under 30, and being nominated to receive an award as one of World CSR Day’s top 50 Social Innovators globally.
What is your greatest ambition? To expand Ditshego Media into becoming the first global African public relations company.
What do you most value in a person? Their intelligence, without a doubt.
What possession do you treasure most? A painting I was given by a child at the Johannesburg Children’s Home in 2011.
Have you achieved everything you want? Not yet. I have so many goals, it will take a few lifetimes to achieve them all!
What do you still want to do with your life? I’d like to write a book about marketing and entrepreneurship.
What do you fear most? Nothing.
What is your single biggest regret? I have no regrets.
What book changed your life? I’ll be narcissistic and say my own book, as it allowed me to challenge the stereotypes around people from the townships. Another option would be The African Origin of Civilization, by Senegalese anthropologist and nuclear physicist Cheikh Anta Diop, as it helped to shape my African identity.
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