Jose dos Santos, Cell C
  • Cell C CEO Jose dos Santos has this advice he would give to his young self: learn, grow and never give up.
  • He also believes ambitious young South Africans shouldn't use social media to form opinions, especially not of themselves.

Business Insider SA caught up with Cell C's CEO Jose Dos Santos for advice that he'd give his younger self.

"If I could give my younger self some advice starting out, it would boil down to three things: learn, grow and never give up.

"Education is exceptionally valuable, but don’t get too hung up on the piece of paper that you would get from a degree. Not everyone will have the opportunity or the means to receive a tertiary education; but if you can’t you should do everything you can to self-educate."

These are some of his tips for ambitious young South Africans:

1. Read

"Read books that will expand your mind, like biographies, and for today’s youth, books on the digital economy. In the digital world, there is a wealth of information for young people to access that will help them learn.

"I enjoy reading biographies as well as business and investment books. One I recently finished and really enjoyed was called Predictably Irrational by Professor Dan Ariely."

From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, Ariely explains how to break through these systematic patterns of thought to make better decisions. (Photo: Milim Kim)

See also: This is what Maria Ramos and other SA CEOs are reading right now

2. Surround yourself with older, wiser or smarter people

"Listen to them, ask them questions and adapt and apply their advice to your own circumstances. When you are a young person, you feel invincible – it’s only when you are older that you learn that there are people who have walked a similar path to you and will have valuable lessons to learn from." 

3. Don’t let other people's opinion of you guide your choices

In today’s world, social media can be detrimental in this regard.

"Social media must never be the primary platform for interaction with others. Rather spend time in each other’s company, because being face to face with someone provides insight into the human spirit that sitting behind a PC or mobile phone will not do."

4. Don't give up

Success comes from never giving up and always following your dreams. And remember, success is not measured in money, but in the wisdom you are willing to share, the kindness you have to offer and the moral support you are willing to provide to those around you. Success should be measured in the upliftment of others, Dos Santos says.

See also: Here's what they wear at Cell C

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