If 15 minutes is just 1% of your day, what should you be spending it on?

We all know and love the 80/20 principle and applying it in our lives and businesses, but what about this 1%?

I’m not sure of the correct answer – what exactly we should do – but I know if we spent it improving a skill, that meager 1% would add up at the end of the year. Better yet, what if we considered the question for a while and applied 80/20 principles to our daily 15 minutes? Might we even be able to improve by 1%, per increment? What would this be worth at the end of a year?

Stop calling it innovation when it’s really just re-branding. There is nothing wrong with re-branding; it’s not innovation. Calling a Squat and Press a Thruster, will not make it anything other than a Squat and Press, which has been around since the dawn of lifting.

“A brand manager is not the same as a product manager.” Ah, actually, yes it is, and both used to be marketing managers accept we needed to “innovate,” and create more positions so we could not only justify more staff but make them all believe they are part of something bigger than themselves. Instead of creating more wealth for them, why not create a title, which will give them a sense of belonging, accomplishment, power even?

Creating yet another accounting app and calling it the latest greatest product is not an innovation, it’s a new logo. The fundamentals of accounting are unlikely to change just because you think you are innovative.

The latest statistics on the number of new words being added to the dictionary every year is staggering. So much so, there is no point in listing them here. That said, I submit at least half of them are bull-shit made-up words to cover bull-shit “innovation.”

Every coin has 5 sides. Heads, tails, the edge and two rims. If you've never thought about it this way, it's probably because it doesn't matter a single bit. It's a great metaphor for life experiences though.

There is the obvious, two sides to every story. Then there is the less than obvious. Finally, there is the obscure. Many versions of the same event. Many interpretations. This may be a scary thought, or it may mean as much to you as the coin itself but the beauty of it is this; given we pay enough attention, we get to choose our version.

‘There are only two ways to do something, the right way and the wrong way.’

If this were true why would anyone choose the wrong way? We would all function perfectly in the same way. Except we don't because there are many right ways and as many wrong ways. There is a lot of grey.

If we cannot function in the grey, it is aptly named black and white thinking. You are so rigid in your thought patterns you consider every half-failure a catastrophe which could and should have been avoided. What if instead, you re-framed this as an experiment? We learn from experiences and experiences could be termed experiments.

If we can no longer experiment all is lost. This is true of our thought patterns as well. If you are unable to consider the many possibilities of how anything, everything, can be done you are unable to grow. You are unable to learn. You are in the way of your own progress and that of others.

You are in the way.

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.

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!?

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.

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.

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.

'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.