Be Bored | Frankology 70

So much of the work we are doing all day is work we do simply to keep busy. There is no real value, use or even outcome from the work. We check emails constantly, news feeds, statistics, analytics and so on. Maybe it’s time we stop this and allow ourselves to be bored. Maybe this will spark creativity for useful work again. Maybe it’s all which is needed for the ‘brainwave’ to come crashing onto the beach.

I disagree immensely with the notion of looking for something to do when the work is completed. There are many managers out there who employ this tactic. It is a useless measure which creates nothing but anxiety among the workforce. You are far better off allowing freedom to wonder, leave the office, read a book, or whatever they choose to do. As with everything, there are limits to this and one must be realistic, but the point is you will not only end up with a happier workforce but a magically more productive one too.

Barking Dogs | Frankology 69

It is widely agreed that humans, and their breeding habits with dogs, are responsible for the domestic dogs’ bark as we know it today.

It is widely accepted that no human alive today, appreciates the incessant torment that is a dogs’ bark.

Why the fuck then, have we not in the year 2019, begun breeding it out again!?

Being a Cow | Frankology 68

These are not my ideas, Steven Fry voiced and discussed these ideas, on the Making Sense (Sam Harris) podcast. Although a bizarrely simple concept, it is too good not to pass along.

A cow in a field is never bored. It has but one function, to be a cow. It must eat, eat more, stand around and eat yet a little more. Sometimes some rain may fall on it. Sometimes it will defecate, but it is perfectly satisfied in its role as a cow. No need for more. Absolutely no sense of the need to improve itself or its circumstances. It is a cow, and this is fine.

Is there a version of this for people and if so, is it liberating or is it a hindrance? The answer, of course, would be different depending on who you ask. But, if we are striving to better ourselves, when is it enough and what is the target? Is there a point when we become the cow? Or are we destined for a never-ending battle to the top of the next hill, only to burden ourselves with the crest of the next?

We search for happiness in a new experience, we are never satisfied with the cow we are. Can we be? I submit, there is no answer, it is a case of the chicken and the egg.

Progress is Progress | Frankology 67

Often it feels like we’ve hit a brick wall and that there is no way to move forward. We experience this in our personal lives, we experience it more so in our professional lives. We experience it as the workforce, as managers, and as business owners. It happens to all of us; it is all but unavoidable.

Learning to navigate this phenomenon can be considered the ultimate tool for workplace happiness and we all know by now, happiness in the workplace breeds progress and innovation. The mistake many of us make is to think this is unimportant, or worse that which we do is unimportant.

While it could be difficult to find meaning in a “meaningless job,” it is important to look for it. Even when the meaning is less obvious, or can only be derived further down the chain. For example: In South Africa, when we encounter roadworks, there is always an individual whose job it is to stand and wave a flag, the idea being to warn motorist of the up-and-coming roadworks. The job in and of itself is meaningless—nothing more than waving a flag—but the purpose is important and may be of immense consequence.

As managers, it is your job to search for meaning. It is your job to instill this meaning in your workforce. Meaning coupled with progress is the road to great achievements. Once you can spot and assign meaning to your work, you can do the same for your workforce. Thereafter, it is important to appreciate progress and accomplishment.

The Progress Principle says the single most important aspect to more motivation and more positivity towards a workday, is making progress in meaningful work. In other words, a sense of accomplishment. While it may be up to managers to instill this in the workforce, it is also up to the workforce to recognize progress everywhere.

Progress, no matter how infinitesimally small, is still progress. Own it, enjoy it, seek it out, revel in it. Every inch forward is an inch you no longer have to cover. Over time, thousands of inches make up miles and when you look back, you can do so fondly. More importantly, you can do so with pride.

Other People’s Garbage | Frankology 66

All the crap on your phone is other people’s garbage. There is nothing there which is yours. Emails, social media, messages, games, documents, websites—all other people’s garbage.

We cannot do without them, nor are they going away but we have the power to limit the power they have over us. Spend time thinking about useful methods to reduce your phone usage. A couple of years from now, we will look back on the marketing and usage of mobile phones the same way we look back on the marketing and usage of cigarettes. ‘What the hell were we thinking!’

There are countless studies showing the frankly scary statistics of phone usage. So many, we have become weary of the subject and so, I will not ramble of the details here. Suffice to say, the absurd usage keeps climbing. Curbing this is an individual decision.

Take back your time and leave other people with their own garbage.

Bravery | Frankology 65

‘Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die’ – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, first president of Turkey.

This is an order reportedly given to soldiers during WW1. The moment must have been harrowing, but, is this bravery or is it simply foolishness?

I’ve always maintained, there is little difference between being brave and being stupid.

Bravery is ‘the quality of feeling no fear.’ Yet, fear itself is the only quality in that sentence. Fear is ingrained, fear is natural, fear is given to us by evolution. Without it, we are foolish, unable to preserve ourselves and others. We bumble head first into circumstances, magnifying whatever chaos there is.

While the above example was likely no more than an attempt to ‘gee’ up his forces, understandably so (WW1 had suffered horrific casualties both in method and number), it gives us insight into what we value in men and women.

No doubt, bravery is a large contributor to many innovations of man. It helps us tackle things most other species cannot, it is part-reason we are as evolved as we are, it aids in our sense of adventure and discovery, but, it is not the foundation.

More often than not, what we attribute to bravery, is plain stupidity.

Self-help Is A Thing | Frankology 64

The other day I heard someone say ‘self-help is no longer weird.’ That is to say, there was a time, when if someone mentioned self-help of any fashion it induced violent eye rolls, from everyone in the conversation, and those within earshot. I myself, was an eye-roller, especially when someone mentioned either a self-help book or the worst of the worst, a seminar.

First, the person who observed this is absolutely correct. Self-help is without a doubt no longer weird (whether it ever was is debatable). More than this, self-help in its many forms is now a bit of a thing. I for one, think this is a good thing. I still think seminar goers are slightly over the top but not because of the activity itself, but rather that these people never seem to achieve helping themselves. Instead, they spend their time bouncing from pillar to post, chasing the latest great method, implementing none of it. In other words, they are either quitters or worse, nonstarters.

Harsh as it may sound, if you implement none of the knowledge you gain from books, podcasts, blogs, seminars, or wherever you are consuming it, you have nothing. Fair enough, we must say something for the will to change I suppose? But it would be little. We all want to better ourselves in some shape or form. Hell, Ted Bundy wanted more of himself, does that mean he wasn’t an utter siphon on humanity?

Examine yourself, examine what you consume, maybe even consume less. The important thing is that you start, apply yourself and if not finish, at the very least persist.

Victim Mentality | Frankology 63

You know far more people than you think, who suffer from a victim mentality. Chances are, you suffer from a victim mentality too, at least to some degree. If at any time, you believe you are not in control of an event, or its related outcomes you are suffering from a victim mentality.

Far fewer people in the world need counseling, they simply need training. First, they need training on how to distinguish between cause and effect (event and outcome) versus cause, meaning or power, and effect (event, reflection and outcome).

Second, they need to train their inbuilt ability to reflect and assign a different meaning to events. In so doing they will drive the outcomes. We are not in control of events but by practice, we can be in control of the meaning we attach to them. By attaching meaning we can affect the outcome.

Less victim mentality, more practiced thinking will result in better outcomes. The better you get at this, the better you will begin to feel. It’s the old adage positivity breeds positivity – unfortunately. That is to say, it is not revolutionary, just a fresh perspective on what you already know.

The power lies with you, not others. Take it back on every available occasion.

Free Time | Frankology 62

Prioritizing free time is a thing.

In fact, it is the one thing all well-informed individuals strive to do. Problem is when we achieve more free time it feels like we are doing something wrong, as if we should be working. Worse still it feels like business is drying up. In reality, of course, the numbers (most of the time) will show that business is healthy.

More than this, as the business owner you will be healthy too, or healthier in any event. Find other things to occupy your time, it’s OK, really.

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.