The Long Game | Frankology 61

Among other things, I have in my relatively short career done door-to-door sales, telesales, sold advertising space (on and in maps), served tables and drinks extensively, and even pushed a broom for a factory cleaning service. My “favourite” of these was the door-to-door sales, an activity I endured with no less than two separate companies. Interestingly, both “jobs” were offered and conducted under the premise we were involved in some kind of “management training program.”

The first, we were essentially issued a rucksack, filled with a bunch of meaningless crap, given a lift to an area (Zambezi Drive in my case), where you were summarily released upon the world and instructed to sell as much of the crap as you could. For the not so astute reader – we were hawkers. Despite selling rather well, I did not hang on to this “position” (commission only) for long. It was summer and I don’t do well in the sun.

The second, was somewhat more sophisticated. Again under the premise of a “management training program” we attended extensive selection-interview-training-processes, at a rather fancy looking office block in Pretoria, for a little over a week. Those of us “chosen” were to be taken to an undisclosed location, put up and fed. There, we would continue with our management training. I am grossly simplifying how this all happened as I am only telling it for reference and the details have no bearing on the point. In a nutshell, we were put up on a campsite (erected by us), spend all day under the trees learning a pitch, which when nighttime arrived, we would deliver to unsuspecting homeowners, the idea being the sale of a much overrated, overpriced geyser timer.

At 15:00 we would clean up and dress up, suit and tie. By 17:00 we were dropped off at our allocated blocks, from 17:00 till 18:00 you knocked on doors, dodged dogs, traffic and berated residents, trying to make as many appointments as you can. From 18:00 till 20:00 you ran from appointment to appointment trying to peddle your shit. Simple as that.

How many among the modern workforce are still willing to go the extra – free – mile? I’m referring to taking a job for little or no pay, purely for experience, or, the right to add it to your resume. I’m talking about doing what needs to be done because it’s all there is for the moment. When nobody is hiring because you have no experience, when nobody is contracting because there is no budget, when nobody is listening because you have no clout. When determination and sheer fortitude is what it requires to succeed.

I’m talking about going longer, harder and sticking it out, above all others. I’m talking about conducting yourself with your long-term goal in mind. Doing things you don’t want to do, things others refuse to do, just so you can ensure a greater success later on. I’m talking about offering help where it may be needed to establish yourself as an asset in a group, tribe or industry. I’m talking about rolling stones out of the path of others, not only so they can return the favour, but rather in the belief it will mean something later on, prove you are a team player, show you possess empathy and work ethic.

It is not low hanging fruit, but neither is it difficult to do, it is just at times unpleasant. Few successful entrepreneurs tell career-stories which don’t include this type of narrative. People who “worked their way up” are the same. There are things which are vital in the shaping of successful individuals. Now, I am not saying it all needs to be unpleasant, that unpleasantness is a prerequisite to success. In fact, many of these experiences will become fond memories, or may even be viewed as interests. What I am trying to drive home is this, possessing the qualities it requires to do these things, and to execute them well, is what it takes to make it in the long run.

When I look back at the two experiences above, it is not with fondness. But I do not regret doing them at all, on the contrary, I am truly glad I did. It taught me a lot about sales, human nature and even more importantly my nature. It taught me, that which you read in the sales-books will not get you very far in the real world. The books are a guide only, that every individual is nuanced and requires a fresh, adaptive approach to sales. It taught me that none of us are as important as we think we are. It taught me there is no shortage of unscrupulous individuals willing to take advantage of the unsuspecting, but the most important thing I learned, is that there are still people in the world with kindness in their hearts. People who offer dinner, to a stranger, when they clearly had little, people who donated umbrellas, when it was raining. People who offered whatever they could because a stranger could benefit more from it than they could.

If you are unwilling or unable to put in the effort, stick it out, with the long game in mind, well, someone else will. They’ll leave you whining about how your life is so unfair, while they enjoy the fruits of their years of labour. You may even find yourself their underlings, bitter at their success, and it will be all your fault. Proving yourself valuable now is not rocket-science, dig in, dig deep, repeat. When the time comes, it will be your turn to help others. This is an ongoing cycle, this is the long game.

In it to Win it | Frankology 60

Ultimately, we are all “in it to win it.” This is true of our personal lives, professional lives, careers, and businesses. If you believe this statement to be untrue of yourself, you are either naïve, lying to yourself (and others) or both.

If you focus on the personal front first, all you need do is ask yourself when was the last time you chose your needs or even wants over those of someone else? Took the last of the treats in the cupboard, parked in a parking space you clearly were not supposed to, didn’t obey the rules because you were late. There are countless instances where we place our own requirements above those of others, we do this almost automatically. Those of us who are more “selfless” (or strive to be) are better at considering others before ourselves, but when it comes down to it…

On a professional level, this detail is even plainer to see. Even the most “selfless” among us would not pass up a promotion, for the greater good of someone else’s wellbeing and that of their family. Of course not, our duty is to our family first, right? Strange how stating it this way, making it a duty, suddenly transforms the lack of selflessness–selfishness–into something more palatable, honorable even.

Not one among us can claim looking after your family first, is in any way deplorable, but if this is true, where do we draw the line as to what is selfish or disdainful ambition, and what is morally decent and proper? I contest that this is a very fine line and that it keeps moving, depending on circumstances. Circumstances global, individual and specific.

Let’s take an easy one: bribery or corruption. Ask anyone if they will pay a bribe in return for benefits of any kind and they will without hesitation reply with a resounding “no.” Yet, bribery and corruption are rife, at all levels of society, meaning someone has to be offering and accepting bribes. The same question would have completely different implications for the individual depending on their circumstances. If it were their last 10k on offer, which in return would revive their business with say 100K. Would offering the bribe still be equally appalling? Or, if offering the 10k meant they could retire and someone else would stand the chance to move up a rung and fill their shoes? How do we feel about it then? What if there were a sick child involved, and the money was all which was needed to recover? Still unacceptable? What if it were your child?

While the moral high road is exceedingly easy to occupy in public, the truth is far more complex and far less clear-cut. The history of the British Secret Service, their many branches, and those of other countries, is yet more proof of this.* I am currently reading a book on the subject. The sheer number of double agents, betrayal, and treachery is astounding. If society was as moral as we all proclaim it to be, how do conditions like this even exist? The answer is a simple one; we are all “in it to win it.”

Being in “it to win it” is neither deplorable nor honorable, it is natural.

Alarms Are Not the Boss of Me | Frankology 59

In a recent ‘life experiment’ I stopped using an alarm clock – all together. Now, I should mention at one point I was completely governed by alarms, literally living my life from one to the next, eight to ten a day.

A little over a year ago, I set myself a goal; I was not going to use any alarms at all. There was no time-frame for this other than as soon as possible. One by one, I implemented changes which allowed me to dump an alarm for each. Of course, the most obvious, and most difficult, was to be the morning alarm. In truth, I doubted whether I’d ever be free of this one.

Turns out, it’s fairly easy to stop using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. It’s nothing more than a habit, really. Today (and every other) I woke to the sounds of the day. Birds chirping, pets and neighbors, that sort of thing.

Admittedly, depending on where you are in the world, and even on the season (sun doesn’t rise till well after 08:30 in the winter here), it may prove to be trickier than simply deleting your alarm. Even so, there is something liberating about it. Strange when you think you’re still getting up at the same time.

While I’m not sure what the mechanism is, I’m sure it makes a profound difference. Not in the sense of bucking the system but rather, the system no longer owns you, or, possesses less of you.

Time is the single most precious commodity available to us. Managing it in a different and more natural way, I believe, is where the growth lies. While there is no more time than when I started, I do own more of it now.

Hobbies | Frankology 58

When a hobby becomes work it becomes a stressor, in which case it’s time to dump it. I’m of an age where I no longer do things “because I have to.” I do things because I want to.

Sure, there are times when one must follow through on goals and targets because we need this to stay grounded and to challenge ourselves, but there is no good reason to continue a pursuit if it no longer has an upside (keeping in mind the upside might be on the other side of discomfort). This is even more the case when it is only a hobby.

Hobbies are supposed to be fun, if you’re not enjoying it, fuck it

PC Time | Frankology 57

I’m quite sure a cursory Google would yield at least some information on the subject, but I’m not in the mood. Instead, I’ll pose it as a question; I wonder how much damage, physical and emotional, is caused by sitting staring at our computer screens all day?

The answer would probably vary based on the parameters of the study and maybe even the opinion of the reply, but one thing is for sure, it can’t be good for us. While chasing up and down, back and forth, for meetings, errands and the like, seems tedious at best, it sure must be healthier than vegetating in front of the PC all day.

In the same vein, how much of the “PC time” is in fact productive? I venture to say less than 50%. Maybe, in the future, we should work on projects designed to change this. Projects which encourage productivity over input. This is a future I could better live with.

Change | Frankology 56

“Change is as good as a holiday.” I disagree, but that’s just me.

I don’t like change. I don’t like it at all. I like it so little I find it menacing. That said, there is also something to be said for change. It brings a fresh perspective, hopefully, better results and definitely new ideas. As challenging as it may be for some (including the learning curve), I am still convinced it is for the best.

Being stuck in your ways, married to service providers, or unable to do away with the “old model,” has never brought anyone forward. Forward momentum is brought on by change. Sad but true.

Tackling 2019 | Frankology 55

Every year this time of the year, I am asked (more times than I care to think about) what I think the year to come has in store for us. Well, first, I don’t know, just the same as the rest of you. Second, what makes anyone think this year will be any different from last year?

There are immeasurably few factors which actually change at all. The only major change is the date-stamp, your attitude, and how old you are when you read this. This, and possibly your level of optimism, especially this early in the year. This early, you still have high hopes, your energy is overflowing and you have a to-do list longer than your arm – and good for you.

My to-do list for the year is dead simple: nothing at all.

This year will be a time for the grand “rethink,” restructure and reinvent. Often, we are stuck in our ways, the systems we use and the processes we have developed. We find it difficult to recognise a better way, easier way, better product to help us achieve less workload, less cognitive load and by association less stress.

This year is all about stepping back and finding better ways to do the things I already do.

So, what do I think about the year to come? I don’t.

Discuss Vs Debate | Frankology 54

There are people in this world who perpetually turn discussions into debates. If you are one of those, you need to stop it, now.

Discussions are a conversation about any given topic. Debates are an argument about the topic. Discussions warm and engaging. Debates agitated and antagonistic. Discussions inclusive and free-flowing. Debates belligerent and competitive.

Do you see now?

Goals Are Not Targets | Frankology 53

Goal setting is vital to long-term success. Nobody can dispute this and any who do will base their arguments on philosophical nonsense. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there.

Targets are not the same thing as goals. Goals contain a measure of optimism and ambition. Targets, on the other hand, imply a requirement. A requirement is to be considered done before it is even done. It is not an option.

Implementing targets to complete goals is a useful tool which will work every time and in all circumstances, personal and professional.

Ships and Shipwrecks | Frankology 52

“When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck…”– Paul Virilio

The sayings intention is to convey that all inventions have both positive and negative effects. But, it applies equally well to the idea of “nothing ventured nothing gained.” Every ship ever produced did not end up at the bottom of the ocean of regret.

Each of your failures could just as well have been a success. Failed attempts should never be a reason for not trying. Instead, it should become a chapter in your textbook of prosperity. Something you learn from, draw knowledge from and use to improve your next version.