Posts Tagged ‘gavin sharples’

Here’s the thing!

It’s long been a bugbear of mine this whole question of tipping. I assume you, like me, and most people, begrudgingly go along with this strange custom mostly because of social norms and guilt.

Have you noticed that almost everywhere you turn everyone wants your money, everyone wants a tip?

Park your car anywhere and you get people asking for a tip. Pull up at a stop light and “hey I juggled; I took your garbage; I keep this intersection clean; I have a sad face; I’m poor – money please!!” Someone takes away your shopping trolley, brings you a glass of water, carries the expensive gadget to your car, or keeps the toilets clean – Give me your money!

So what are these things called tips?

I always believed TIPS when given to a person before an event or dining experience was TInitiate Prompt Service. TIPS given after an event or meal are done as a Token IProportion of Service. These acronyms are mostly urban legend and not based in fact. Research shows that the word TIP was originally a type of slang word used by criminals, thieves or fraudsters in or around the 1600’s. It was used to denote getting a share of the loot. How interesting is that tip-bit and you will soon see how relevant.

So without turning this into a history story, let me ask you – do you tip? At the tipping point do you tip, why do you tip, how much do you tip, should you tip, and is tipping appropriate or blatant classism and racism?tips

Do you realise that in some countries paying gratuity is illegal. In the United States of America it is expected and in some countries it is regarded as an insult. In China a tip is not expected and in South Korea it is regarded as inappropriate. In Denmark it is common for service charges to be added onto the bill but it is not compulsory. FYI the concept of tipping has been widely researched and people like Michael Lynn have written books on the subject after years of study.

I have always hated the concept of tipping and agree fully with Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn who said “It is an obligation masquerading as an option. It is a bizarre singling out of one person for compensation. It TIPPINGis a clumsy thing that just dangles there, clumsily outside the cost of the meal. Math’s is required. And it draws you unwontedly into the employment contract and remuneration agreement between the poorly paid employee and the restaurant owner.” All I want is a cheeseburger.

Elizabeth is correct. I do not want to be drawn into the employment problems and challenges of the company and its employee. It really isn’t my problem how much the employee is paid and I shouldn’t have to be responsible for feeding my servers kids, paying their tuition or making up the shortfall of their cr4ppy salary. It is an absolute obligation masquerading as an option. There is really no option unless you wish to go on the biggest guilt trip of your life and be judged by friend and foe.

Then there is that math’s thing and the question of how much is appropriate? How much is too much? Is there such a thing as too little? It just all makes my head hurt.

When asking people if they tip or not the responses are normally infected with feelings of guilt, remorse, pity, charity, excuses, self-righteousness and blatant racism.

Let me explain further. Have you ever asked someone if they tip only to be told that they do because they were once a waitress? Well what does that have to do with anything? Surely you cannot reward someone if the service was non-existent. And I’m not speaking here of the standard lukewarm, “can I help you?” slapdash South African service. I believe I pay a premium price at most if not all of the restaurants I frequent. I know for a fact that part of the overhead factored into my R22 cappuccino is for staff wages. Let’s face it, its frikken coffee grinds, hot water and a splash of milk. Because you were once a waitress is no reason to tip (to pay more) to somebody who does nothing but carry a cup of coffee to your table.

The real question is did they pop? Did they exceed your expectations? Were they welcoming, friendly, courteous and did they know their product? Did they go above and beyond and make your experience memorable or did they merely become friendly when it was time for you to settle the bill? 

The next question is how much?

Is it a percentage of the total bill and if so, why? Surely if I – out of the kindness of my heart – wish to hand over more of my hard earned money to you as another human being, any amount above the obligatory should be seen as kindness and an unexpected bonus?

WARNING – Look out for this!

Here’s the new thing. I kid you not on no fewer than 3 occasions at three different restaurants; servers have refused to accept money that was lower than the expected 10% of the total bill.  At the Vaal Mall Mugg & Bean my wife had added an extra R20 to our breakfast bill to be placed on the card. To her surprise the server didn’t add the R20 onto the credit card. Thinking it was an oversight she took R20 cash out of her purse and beckoned the server back to the table to collect his gratuity. He ignored her. Eventually she called another server, handed the R20 to her, to hand to our server. We witnessed him physically refuse the R20 telling the courier to return it to us because it wasn’t enough. I know! You can lift your jaw off the floor now.

This however was not an isolated incident. It happened again at a five-star restaurant in Bedford Centre called Catch. A nice place that we frequent – correction – used to frequent up to 4 times a month. The waitress in this case refused her gratuity again as if she was teaching me a lesson by not taking my money. Well, was I put in my place? I may have lost a whiff of sleep that night. No – that was just gas.

So being the quiet introverted, reserved person I am, on leaving I walked past her standing at the entrance and made it abundantly clear that I was going to take my R30 and hand it to a server in the next restaurant or better still, I would hand it to the unemployed person less than 100 m from where she stood. The manager began to apologies but I had my say with my feet as most customers do.

Look out for this new trend people! If you don’t give people enough extra money, they will “throw it back at you” in front of your family, friends or colleagues.

It’s not the restaurant’s fault I hear you say, and I must give credit to the owner of Mugg & Bean Vaal Mall who came to our table 2 days later and apologized. She also made the server apologise. I believe it is the restaurant’s fault. There is clearly a lack of training and every second waiter you meet will tell you they’re not paid enough and that without their tips they are unable to survive. This is disputed by some restaurant owners who say they are bound by unions to pay a minimum wage. Is it possible that some establishments abuse their staff by paying them slave wages? Yes! It is possible but it’s not my problem, all I want is a cheeseburger. 

So the question still remains, how much?

Should it be 10% across the board? Surely this will kill service in our restaurants because if the gratuity is built in as standard, why on earth would waiters bother to smile; upsell or be professional? And what of the servers who do go above and beyond? Should they be remunerated the same as the “poor me-I’m suffering-haven’t smiled in 5 years-hate my job- racist?” tipping2

Tipping is racist!

This is not a throwaway statement. It is a researched fact. Black people are tipped less than white people even by black people. Black people tip white people more than they do black service people. Most White South Africans tip out of guilt. Tipping is classism and condescending and mostly done out of guilt.

Research shows that many people tip out of sympathy. They feel sorry for the person “serving” them. They see them as servants which would explain some of the shocking treatment people in the service industry have to endure. They tip out of superiority “let’s face it you are poor – I am not as poor as you – so here is some charity – here are the leftovers in my wallet because you are a waiter – you are dumb – you may be studying and one day you will be clever like me, but for now you a dumb a$$ and you haven’t qualified for anything except being my slave while I am in this establishment – so because you work for a minimum wage and I am so much better then you, here is my Token to Ingratiate my Perfection”. 

Tipping is a massive guilt trip

Face it, we feel guilty. An average family will drop between R300 to R700 in a single meal even if it is at Spur. That’s probably the weekly wage of the person taking your order and bringing your food. Again – Not your fault, but that they will make it your problem. This is done with guilt. I want a cheeseburger, fries and a massive side order of guilt please.

Tipping is done out of fear

“Imagine how I will look and feel if I don’t leave a tip? What will they think of me? What will they say behind my back?” Really? You have such a poor self-image that you pay money to someone you don’t know, who doesn’t know you, because you’re worried what they will think of you when you leave the place. Really? People tip even when the service and food was below standard because of the fear of conflict.

Tipping is sexist and it discriminates
  • Fact: blonde women get bigger tips
  • Fact: women with bigger breasts get bigger tips. Not a euphemism
  • Fact: the more attractive you are, the more you earn
  • Fact: research shows that there is no correlation between outstanding service and the amount of remuneration.
  • If you are white, hot and have big hooters you will out-earn any man even if he serves you topless. There are a few places (I’ve heard), where attractive; well-endowed women serve you topless and (I’m told) they earn more than surgeons. I will research this fact – for accuracy – and report back to you.
  • Fact: up to half of all the tips earned are not declared to SARS.
  • Fact: some companies pay poorly because they know the area is a high tipping one and service people are on a waiting list to serve for next to no basic salary.


So who do you tip and who don’t you tip?
  • Why do you tip the waiter and not the owner if she serves you?
  • Do you tip the chefs, who, let’s face it; did most of the bl00dy work? They have the skill without which would render the whole business obsolete.
  • Surely there should be a tip for the kitchen staff or what about the dishwashers?
  • Do we only tip people who are poorer than us and then how do we know?

If you know what a pilot earns and you fly business class, shouldn’t you just pop in to the cockpit (apologies – not politically correct) flight-deck, on landing and shell out a few Mandela’s for a great “non-stop” flight.

Flight attendants are waitresses in the sky, so shouldn’t we slip a 50 into her top pocket for a “job well done and those extra nuts” on leaving the plane?

Where do we draw the line? And who draws the line for us?

Should we tip our wives for meals that are tasty and on time, but if they’re late and unappetizing, lock her up in the cellar again? Maybe too much personal info there! And why not pop a 20 into our kid’s palm (which they will gladly accept) because they set the table and brought your plate from the kitchen?

What about S3x workers? Nah, I suppose we do give them the tip, sometimes a bit more, but only if they Try Interesting Positions. Speaking of prostitutes and thieves, what about politicians and municipal workers? We know we can’t tip politicians. Well we are not supposed to – but this is Africa baby. No fly’s on them they just keep having Tax Increases for the People and Take Immediate Payments. TIP – get it?

Petrol attendants are unnecessary and South Africa is one of the few countries that still employ these people as a job creation exercise. Yet, in spite of sphincter-clinching fuel prices, we are expected to shell out more money to a person we are already paying to be there. Can I get my cheeseburger please?

Do you see how complicated this thing is?

But if I have to single out my biggest problem with tipping staff, it is when they don’t even acknowledge that you’ve given them something, and they don’t have the courtesy, the manners, the decency, the common basic human attribute to say – Thank you! It makes me want to have an epileptic, thrombodial fit.

I do tip!

When the service standards are exceeded and the attitude is friendly from the get go. I tip an amount that I am comfortable with giving. I over-tip when the service and food is above expectations. I tip because I can, and because I can – I do. I tip because there are hardworking service people out there who spend hours on their feet every day and on many occasions they have to deal with … the public.

Being tipped is not a right, it’s a bonus. It is a kindness and TIPS4recognition token for kindness and professionalism. It is a form of giving. Let’s not legislate it or spoil it for the hardworking people who do it every day to feed their kids and give them dignity. It’s a way of saying thank-you and well done, and if it wasn’t well done, no tip until next time.

Now, just the cheeseburger please. With extra love, a dash of friendly, and a small side order of grateful.

Have a great month and remember to tip your server appropriately.


Do your jobLast month I think I was a little bit too cryptic in the title of my newsletter. So this month I’ll be a little more Direct.

If you want to keep your job, get promoted, build your business and have happy customers all you have to do is – do your job.

I seemed to have hit a nerve in the Happyology keynote, when I tell people if they wish to be happy at work and have a happy manager all they have to do is – their job.

Recently after a talk the MD of a large construction company thanked me for my presentation. He had just realised that he and his co-directors had spent the most part of the past year doing nothing more than setting up policies and procedures to ensure that people, just do their jobs.

People complain that we have no leadership, yet when walking into most companies you will find instead of leading, leaders are spending most of their time chastising, disciplining, negotiating with labour, the unions and sitting at the CCMA fighting with people who didn’t do their job. Imagine if that time was actually spent leading the company to new horizons!

I realised just the other day while watching Man United losing to Swansea that the reason they lost was because someone didn’t do his job. His job was to mark a player. He didn’t do his job. The opposition scored and United lost. It’s really the same with any sport, let’s see how the Boks do their jobs in England this month.

So whether it’s textbooks not getting delivered to children in rural areas, no supplies on hospital shelves or no nurses to deliver babies – someone just didn’t do their job.

Getting a divorce? Someone is not doing his job. Someone is not doing her job. Let’s face it when we sign up for a marriage it’s basically a job. The employment contract is pretty simple and read out and agreed to before God and all of your relatives, and hers.

Generally the holy guy will ask you in your position as wife / husband if you will have this woman / man to be your wife / husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her / him, comfort her / him, honor, and keep her / him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her / him as long as you both shall live? You reply an emphatic “I will!”, and with that the employment contract is sealed.

For the most part and especially in the beginning it’s a fun job. There is the caring job, the listening job, the sharing job, the time and attention job, a few fun jobs, and all the other jobs that go into running a successful marriage. But then someone stops doing their job or just some of the jobs. That’s why I honestly believe that a more complete job description should accompany all marriage certificates. So when someone stops doing their job (the way they did them before the nuptials) they are in breach of contract and they can be called on to be accountable.

I was once asked if I could record clever messages for a call centre so that the customers would be occupied whilst on hold and waiting for the phone to be answered. My reply was simple; just answer the phone and help the customer immediately. In other words just do your job. Don’t make excuses as to why it can’t be done. Don’t tell me that I don’t realise (I love it when people tell me real-lies), and please don’t try and rationalize (tell me the rational-lies).

one jobYou accepted a job and the responsibility. You said “I will do the job”. So do the job! Don’t do it half, don’t do most of it, and don’t have good intentions or mean to do the job – just do your job.

I love the words of Vince Lombardi when he said, “Winning is an all-time thing. You don’t do things right once in awhile you do them right all the time.”

At this point I can see most managers and business owners are literally giving me a standing ovation and offering me s3xu4l favours. But before you hit the send button forwarding this message on to all the section heads to disseminate these words of wisdom, depth and philosophical amazing–ment at the next staff meeting, let’s not get ahead of ourselves shall we!

If you were doing your job your little minions would be doing theirs! People generally don’t do their jobs because there are no consequences. People complain about staff not being accountable and responsible. Lovely words, nice things to say around the boardroom or as a keynote at the company conference.  BUT …

What makes people accountable and responsible, is knowing that consequences are real and dealt out firmly, fairly and consistently!   

Read that again!

passive aggressiveMost leaders and managers should rather go and make chocolate or watches because they are too afraid of holding anybody accountable and they avoid conflict like the Swiss! Research tells us that 80% of people in any form of leadership capacity will avoid conflict and tolerate poor performance instead of confronting it head-on. Half of people in organisations will just merely work around the nonperformance. Non-performing people create a culture of frustration, anger and disappointment. It also creates one person who will be called upon not only to do their own jobs but to continuously do the job of the others who do not perform. In South Africa I think they’re called “the Kippie or “Kippie the ….”

There are really three basic messages here today:

  1. Do your job
  2. If you are any form of leader do your job, by getting others do their jobs
  3. Hold them accountable & make them responsible

Stop asking me to tell people to be accountable and responsible at your conference. Stop telling people to be accountable and responsible. Hold them accountable and responsible and you will have accountable and responsible people who do their jobs. If the people on the floor are not performing it’s because the manager is not performing. If the manager is not doing his job it’s because his director is not doing his job. This goes on and on until you find where the buck stops. And it normally stops at the person asking other people to be accountable and responsible for their jobs!

Life really isn’t that complicated. Just do your job. Nothing more, nothing less.

Have a great month, now that you’ve wasted 15 minutes reading this nonsense,

Go Do Your Job!

out-of-the-boxSo here’s a thing –

  • Your relationship is in the toilet or you’re having problem with a colleague, subordinate or manager.
  • You can’t decide how to handle a person or what advice to give someone.
  • You don’t know how to handle or approach a situation or what theme you should use for the upcoming function.

In my CHINKING keynote presentation I speak about the importance of CHange, INnovation and Kreativity. It’s one thing to talk about problem-solving using creative ideas but very few people know how to use creativity to solve everyday business and personal challenges.

People talk about doing things outside of the box. But what does that really mean? How do you, or can you, solve problems thinking outside of the box? Well, here are 3 out of box thinking techniques that I use.

1. Use The Big Book

Step 1 – Get yourself an English dictionary, or an Afrikaans one if you’re Afrikaans. You could even get an Afrikaans dictionary if you’re English and an English one if you’re Afrikaans but then I suppose you could get even get a French one. Just get a frikken dictionary! Now, while thinking about your problem or situation …

Step 2 – gauge how many pages are in the dictionary and pick a page number without opening the dictionary. Write the page number down on a piece of paper.

Step 3 – then choose a column left or right. Write that under the page number on your piece of paper.

Step 4 – now based on how many words are on an average page choose a number between one and about twelve. Write that number on your piece of paper. You should now have a page number, a column number and a word number. So open the dictionary to find the page, the column and the number and I guarantee you that the word you find is probably a solution if not the solution to your problem. In some cases it may take a bit of creative thinking about the word and how to use it to solve your dilemma but it really works. A cool slant on this is to use your Bible, Torah, Quran or any other spiritual book. Pick a random page with your eyes closed and point to a passage on that page.

Out of the box idea 2 – What would Jesus do?

I have used Jesus in this example purely because according to today’s newspaper, close to 80% of South Africans follow some form of Christian doctrine. You can change it to Muhammad or Krishna or Buddha or even the sun. It doesn’t have to be someone religious or spiritual; it can also be anyone who you respect and admire. It’s a great way to live your religion or spirituality.

Here’s what you do. Think about someone who you really respect, someone whom you admire or somebody you believe would absolutely know what to do in your situation. Then ask the question, what would he or she do?

What would Gandhi do? What would Steve Jobs do, or George Carlin, Warren Buffett or your father-in-law? If you think about it, whatever the situation you’re in or the answer you’re looking for, someone, living or dead, has probably been there, done that, and written or spoken about it. If you can’t call them up, or look up their wisdom or teaching, then just think about them and based on what you believe you know about them, write down what you think they would do and then do that, it’s really that easy.

Out of the box idea number 3 – Trust your gut!

No matter what situation you are in, what decision you have to make, your gut, (your immediate natural instinct), which generally feels like it comes from your stomach region, has probably already told you what decision to make. Listen to your gut.

How do you know it is your gut? It normally answers you or directs you in 3 words or less.

not for me                  uh-uh                 not my thing              go for it
yes, feels good           nope                   must have it              leave it alone
don’t touch                 leave                  walk away                 frikken run

When a Gazelle who’s drinking at a watering hole hears a noise in the bush, its instinct tells it to run, and so it runs. People are different. Our instinct / our gut will feel and warn us of danger but our brain starts to override the perfect answer with logic and socially acceptable rationale. The heart also weighs in with the emotional cr4p to take or not to take a course of action. This normally ends badly.

Imagine if the Gazelle did this, and on hearing a noise said to its self, “it’s probably nothing I’m just being paranoid. Besides it’s probably just that lion I saw the other day. And I am not going to run away from stuff based on nature’s prejudice against big cats. They’re just misunderstood. I am sure a little kindness will go a long way …. what’s that pain I’m feeling in my butt?……”

Trust your gut. Listen to it. It will not only solve your problems and give you the best possible solutions quickly, but it could probably save your life or make you a millionaire.

There are dozens of creative ways to solve problems by using out of the box thinking. It’s July and we are in the middle of a tough year, do something creative, shake things up. It is only by doing and thinking differently that we will get different results.

Love, light & laughter


So what do you do when all that you know, and believe in and have based all life actions on – no longer applies? In fact it never really did apply. What happens when traditional wisdom fails and rules you once believed to be infallible – fail?RULES.jpeg

When I grew up I was made to believe and I was taught that if you behave, listen and do what you are told you will be loved, liked and accepted. I followed the rules only to find that I was sent to boarding school at the age of five because the other kids in the area were misbehaving and my parents were tired of us being blamed. So they sent us away. I had followed all the rules, I was a good little boy and yet I was punished for other people’s behaviour.  At the age of seven I was marched into the staff room of Mondeor Primary School to receive three of the best, from the principal, Mr. De Kock (remember when they used to issue beatings at school?). My crime – I happened to be present on a public bus at the same time older boys from another school were spitting out of the windows on the upper level.  All of the boys, who happened to be on that bus and in a Mondeor Primary uniform, were physically assaulted by a grown man with a flexible stick. I was physically beaten for something I had no knowledge of and did not do.

So I learned that being good and listening doesn’t always equal love and acceptance.  In fact in many cases the opposite happens.

We all had rules, and beliefs that we lived by, and for a long time they actually seemed logical.

  •  Study at school; get a degree and you’ll get a good job
  • Exercise and you will lose weight
  • Eat correctly and you will be slim
  • Look for the good in people and they will surprise you
  • Woman love men who are kind, considerate, treat them well and are gentlemen

What happens when the exact opposite occurs in direct contradiction to the beliefs and laws we have believed in, some of which may have worked in the past?

  • I’ve learnt that studying is not a guarantee to a good job, good life or security. Tell that to the thousands of qualified doctors selling insurance or Amway, or the LLB law graduate working in his dads engineering plant. What you do with the knowledge, how you apply it, and who you know is the key. They should have taught us how to network and how to build relationships.  More importantly they should have helped us find our passion; motivated us to study and then how to apply it.
  • To lose weight stop eating sugar and bread and exercise daily. No! All this does is make you a dull person who says no to good food and spends his time peddling on a bicycle in a gym that doesn’t go anywhere. Exercising and eating correctly is a myth after you reach the age of 45. You can train every other day (as I have) for 12 years, eat salad and swear off donuts, chocolates, bread and all tasty food but you still actually put weight on every year. Ask any 40-year-old if eating correctly makes a micro-gram of difference. When you hit 40, the game changes. Just thinking about a milk tart puts half a kilo to your butt. The older you get the harder it is to stay healthy and in shape, and most 50-year-old with fantastic bodies are on some kind of drug or growth hormone and they love plastic surgery.
  • As for looking for the good in people – People will surprise you if you are dumb enough to only look for the good. I promise you their bad side is waiting for some “look for the good” person to sucker punch you and your business into failing.
  • Women do love kind, gentleman who treat them right! But how come is it then that all the ill-mannered, rude, selfish, couldn’t give a damn men get and have more pretty woman then people who don’t bother to vote? (That’s about 14 million people-in case you’re wondering). Ask most honest woman and they will tell you that a good man is great but bad boys drive them wild.  Women are attracted to kindness and manners but they are mad about alpha males. “All of them?” You might ask. No, not all, only about 70% and the other 30% are probably lying or who have learnt the hard way that a bad boy becomes a bad man who takes it out on a good woman.

The truth is that most of the rules and beliefs we are taught are merely idealistic fairy tales that we should strive for and try to achieve in our lives. Real-life however is not like that and the rules as you’ve been taught them; well they’re pretty slippery. This may sound like a middle-aged crisis rant, but it’s really not. I wish someone had told me about the fairy tale laws and then the real-life laws when I was younger. Hell I wish I could meet a 70-year-old street-smart person now to tell me about what to expect for the next 25 years. Here are a few actual rules.

  • Life is not fair!  Who said it was? Life can be tough or beautiful it’s all up to you, but know that pain is a big part of life, and life is messy. Marriage, kids, business, careers, health, relationships are all part of life so they are all messy and no one-size fits all.
  • People are honest! Nah! People will lie, steal, cheat and promise you anything based on their agenda. And everyone has an agenda and most people want something from you. Ask Dr Greg House who says – “everyone lies”.
  • People are basically good they just don’t know it. But people have issues and everyone wants something from you. Trust me! Very few people will come into your life wanting to help you and make your life better, richer and stronger without wanting something in return.
  • Be careful what you think and say. Nonsense! What you do is the only thing that really counts. You are judged on your actions not on your thoughts. Thanks goodness for that – if I was judged by my thoughts I would have been in prison years ago. Your actions speak louder than anything you could possibly say. Everyone has an opinion and the opinionated ones, the critics, the “devil’s advocates” talk, condemn and are the first to criticize and mouth-off. Anyone can say they care and that they love you but it’s the people who pitch up, and who have your back that really love you.
  • Love is forever. No! Love is an action. If you want it to last forever you have to work on it and demonstrate it every day. It’s what you do that matters. And here’s the bad news – if the person you love has issues it really doesn’t matter what you do.
  • All people are basically good. Nope! Some people are mean and cruel and some people are nice. Keep the kind ones.
  • Try and find your soul mate. No such thing. No one can complete you. No one can make you happy, no one really wants to, and you are responsible for your own happiness. You may find somebody who connects with you, but the friendship takes hard work and effort from both of you. So rather look for a committed, loyal person. It’s also less airy-fairy.
  • Friends for life!  Friends will come and go. Some will leave scars and a few will leave pleasant memories but they will leave.
  • Always be there for your friends. Depends on what they want you there for? Never lend money to a friend – ever. Unless you don’t want the friendship anymore. Never lend money to anyone with money problems – they’ve already proven they can’t work with or be around money so why give them more? It’s like giving an addict drugs. A lesson I have learnt over and over and over again.
  • Oh and I love this one as a close – people who like you won’t hurt you. Anyone you’ll ever love will one day make you cry (sad). Think about it!

I suppose the rules haven’t really ever changed. We were just told fairy tales. Fairy tales that would hopefully make us better people. But fairy tales are just make-believe and the day you realize this, is a tough day. But the day you understand the actual rules, is the day you are set free. Maybe we should teach our children better so they are better prepared. Maybe we should have nursery rhymes and fairy tales that are kind and gentle but teach about the real rules of life.

Have a great month!

Gavin Sharples

The Fairy Tale Slayer

STOP ITI don’t know about you but I’m really tired of receiving those cr4ppy emoti-quote-pics telling me to just be myself and not to care what people think.

“Be you, be true to who you are and walk your path and those who love you will understand and those who don’t are not for your path …
Give no mind to others and if they love you and if they really care they will love you exactly the way you are”…

Blah blah blah! Really!

Well, what if you are a B with an itch and you have no social graces? What if you are a negative know-it-all who doesn’t brush his teeth? What if you’re just plain lazy? (You never do your job or anything you say you’ll do and you always blame others) Or, what if you are lazy and stupid! You know the type; they always have an opinion about things but don’t have the slightest clue what they’re actually talking about. The type of person who gets elected to run a country or manage a service division of a multinational?

Maybe you’re the person who is a trifecta? Stupid, lazy and just plain mean. How the hell are people going to like you if you’re a trifecta? Maybe you should take a hard look at yourself and ask, “Why don’t people like me and what can I do to change their perceptions?”

News Flash! No person is an island and we all need each other unless you’re living on a deserted island. So it follows that people’s opinions matter. Get that? People are always saying don’t stress, don’t worry, so I say – worry and stress all the time, your business and relationships depend upon it. Your boss and your customers are watching and believe me their opinion matters.

Worry about your skills and efficiency because someone else wants your job. Worry about pricing, delivery and standards because your competition is eating your lunch and customers are promiscuous. Worry and stress about your appearance and your health because there are hundreds of viruses and bugs, germs and carcinogens that will make your heart stop and your life pretty uncomfortable unless you shape-up. Worry and stress about your marriage and relationships because love is an action. Love is an active awareness exercise that if worked on could stand the test of time.

You see if you stress and worry, if you work hard, play hard and give your all, if you’re a nice decent person who always tries his best then it is easy for people to like you.

Will they always like you? Hell no! Who likes a person who is always nice, does what she says she’ll do, keeps her word, works harder than everyone, exercises more, and looks better than most? People’s insecurities, issues and jealousy will make them hate you. So in a way you are damned if you do, and you are damned if you don’t. Or are you?

Wake up every day and just try to be a better version of you. Do your best, work hard, and give more so that you are proud of your efforts. Not because you want someone else to say so, or to be proud of you, do it because you’re competing with yourself. Trying to be a better you. When you like and respect yourself it is easier for others to like and respect you. There is no guarantee that they will but its better, I suppose, to earn the sometimes respect of others who appreciate class, than to have the scorn of people for your dysfunction.

In short, people have issues and so do you. People will always projected their cr4p on to you. But in many cases people are a reflection for you to improve yourself. They are a 4D full colour feedback system. The secret I suppose is being able to identify the difference between someone who is projecting their limitations and jealousy and someone who is genuinely showing you that your conduct needs altering. Either way start with you, work on you, and in the end you may get to a point where what they think of you really doesn’t matter because you know who you have become. Who you are. It really won’t matter because you know that you’ve worked on yourself enough to know your intention and conduct came from love and compassion.

Make 2015 yet another step in learning to like, love and respect yourself.

The oxymoron life law – to worry what other people think and yet not to stress! To stress about your results and performance but to remain calm in knowing that no matter what you do, someone will find fault. To improve you so others will notice and respond yet not to be caught up in the opinions of others. To play the game of image, brand and hype knowing it is merely a game you are playing. To play the game but to know it is not real and you are not the game.

After all of that – my head hurts! Have a fantastic self-improving year.


LAZINESSA few months ago, I penned a newsletter with a similar title and got an overwhelming response. Dozens of business managers contacted me wanting to know if I had a keynote presentation on the concept of being lazy. I did not back then, but I do now. I began to apply my mind around the concept of laziness or Lazy-ology.

Yes, the study of laziness, its causes, and effects on business, relationships, and personal lives.

Here’s the thing! You can trace back almost every major problem to someone, somewhere, somehow being lazy. Now before the lazy readers, who are too lazy to give this concept proper thought start arguing about a sudden death in someone’s life – let me explain! If you have a look at almost all business problems, you will find that someone somewhere was too lazy to do their job. On the other hand, look at divorce and relationships, someone, or perhaps both parties were too lazy to do the dos and work at the relationship. If something is not working in your life right now, there is a 99% probability that it is because you are too lazy to get off your … buttisimo … and do something about it.

In the movie The Departed, Matt Damon’s character asks Mark Wahlberg’s character who he thinks he is, to which Wahlberg replies,
“I’m the guy who does his job, you … you must be the other guy!”

What an absolute amazing one-liner. If I may, for the purposes of this rant, take the liberty to alter it slightly:
“I’m the guy who does his job you … you must be the lazy guy!”

Yes but what about:

  • Poor customer service? Lazy
  • No after sales service? Lazy
  • Lost customers? Lazy
  • Lost market share? Lazy
  • Undisciplined staff? Lazy manager
  • People who are late? Plain lazy
  • Calls not answered? Lazy
  • Late deliveries? Lazy packers, stackers, dispatchers and drivers
  • Bad attitude? Lazy attitude
  • Poor results? Lazy work ethiclazy
  • Fat? Lazy a$$
  • Physically unfit? Flippin layyyyyaaazzzzy
  • Out of shape? Lazi
  • Most modern day diseases? L.A.Y.Z.E.E
  • Unhappy? Lazy
  • Dysfunctional children? Lazy parents
  • Unwanted pregnancy? Lazy lust
  • Divorce? Too lazy to have sex or too lazy to make an effort
  • Lonely? Lazy
  • No friends? Lazy
  • Crime in an area? Lazy police and community
  • Bad government? Lazy electorate
  • Poor unfed kids? Lazy absent fathers
  • Child headed households? Lazy communities and government
  • Female-headed households? Lazy men
  • Not studying? Lazy
  • Not learning? Lazy
  • Not improving skills? Lazy
  • Don’t read? Lazy

Bring on the problem and I promise you lazy is to blame!

In business as in life, we tend to make excuses for non-performance. We always seem to find justifiable reasons for below par standards and results. Most people do this to justify their laziness or the laziness of their team, which they were too lazy to oversee, train, and correct. Bleeding heart liberals will always try and justify poor performance by blaming the past, current conditions, situations, training, education, opportunities and anything else that they can justify, to excuse terrible results. However, when it comes down to it and after full investigation, you will probably find that laziness was the main cause.

I guarantee you that in each case I will show you people in worse situations, conditions, with less education and training, and very few opportunities that have succeeded, just by getting off their back-sides and making it happen. The poor rural area schools with no sanitation, hardly any books, a lack of classrooms, or desks but who deliver a 100% matric pass rate springs to mind. Just an example of the dozens that you could attest to I’m sure!

Everything from rampant crime, corruption, fraud, theft, assault, murder, divorce, insolvencies, judgments, written warnings, dismissals, lost orders, lost sales, no sales, returned goods, unsolved problems, backlogs, the list goes on and on – can all be laid at the feet of pure, simple laziness.

  • Why should I work for it and pay for it when I can just steal it?
  • Why should I earn it, when I can just forge it and pay someone off to get the tender for the contract?
  • Why should I study and learn for the degree or the doctorate when I could just say I have one? (Too soon Paolo? Too soon?)
  • Why should I work when it is easier to rampage through the streets burning, breaking, and destroying?
  • Why should I sacrifice, hold down two part-time jobs, and pay for my studies when I can just destroy a university campus and demand that my tuition is free?
  • Why should I work longer, harder and smarter when I could just stay away, go on strike, and demand more?
  • Why should I bother to sort the problem out by talking, finding common ground and seeking a mutually beneficial solution, when I can just assault him, kill her or falsify documents?
  • Why should I work on my relationship? At the first hurdle, I can just get a divorce.
  • If I do not do my job what is the worst that can happen? I may get a written warning or 2 and then put a little effort in until the warnings fall away and then just be lazy again.
  • Why should I make the extra sales call or indeed why should I make them at all?
  • Why should I care and fix the problem immediately the first time? They will bring it back and someone else will do it.

Laziness in my opinion is a pandemic that is destroying schools (and our children’s future), hospitals, municipalities, businesses, and organizations and in many, many cases is literally responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people around the world every day.

A guesthouse belonging to a church collapses in Nigeria killing over 100 people. Someone was too lazy to build it properly, to submit plans, to pay for professional builders and engineers. Death is the result.

Recently parts of Gauteng did not have water for days. The cause; someone was too lazy to maintain the system and set up a backup plan.lazy2

Useless incompetent governments are put in place by people either too lazy to vote for a competent one, or who don’t bother to vote at all.

Most of our personal problems from being overweight, being unhealthy, being short of money, having no friends, and having few customers all stem, if you really look at it, from being lazy. Plain and simple!

Instead of working and living within our means it is easier to buy it on credit. It easier to tell someone to go to hell, than to sort the problem out. People are too lazy to cook, to clean, to build, to walk (so they park as close to the shopping mall door as they can), to try, to talk, to smile, to give, to connect. It is easier to order junk food from Mr. Delivery, to leave it for someone else to do, to not get involved, to frown, to blame and complain.

Here’s the action

Take a look, a hard look at any area of your life that is currently not working or up to the standards that you desire. Now, look at what you have not been doing and start doing it! The best and easiest way to fix anything that is not working is to get off your backside and do something about it.

Whenever people complain about things in their lives my first response is always, “so what are you doing about it?” My second question, “What did you not do that you were supposed to do that contributed to it being as it is?”

You see laziness has many friends:
There is Mr. Excuses; Mrs. Rationalize (rational lies); Miss Ignorance (I don’t know how); Miss Unaccountable (no one told me, it’s not my fault) and the manager Mr Scaredy Cat (no consequences, no conflict). Then there is also Mr. Entitlement and Mrs. Care-less (I don’t give a damn). However, one of laziness’ best friends is the concept “I don’t feel like it!” Really? Well what’s new and who does ever feel like getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning to exercise? Who really feels like making that extra sales call? Who feels like spending hours composing, writing, creating, building and doing the job right? Hardly anyone ever feels like paying the price and getting off their backsides, but the successful and happy people do. Are you that guy or the lazy guy?


It has been said as soon as an action needs to be taken you have approximately 5 to 7 seconds to start moving. The 5 to 7 seconds between the idea and the “I don’t feel like it” feeling that screams in your head, and you taking action. It is generally believed that if you don’t get your butt moving within those few seconds you probably won’t move.

  • Lazy people kill everything they touch!
  • Lazy managers and leaders frustrate and kill companies and countries.
  • Lazy staff members kill businesses, concepts and ideas and they lose customers.
  • Lazy spouses destroy families, hearts and marriages.

The antidote to laziness is always positive action

It’s almost always never someone else’s fault. It’s always about you and what you could have, should have or can do.

I was going to end this piece of with a pithy quote but I just don’t feel like it!

Have a very active month


We’ve got it all wrong!happy

Have you notice how terminally unhappy people are in general?

What is with this phenomenon of every second person you come across seeming to carry the world on their shoulders?

Call any company and notice the attitude of most of the staff. Walk into any organization and you will be met by unhappiness you believed was only reserved for government departments and mother-in-laws.

Even the simple question, “How are you?” seems to elicit either a morbid complaint or an actual blow-by-blow medical or life problem. They don’t realize that “hello how are you” is a greeting, not a frikken question!

“How are you”, “Can’t complain, cause if I do no one will listen; if they listen then they can’t help; and if the can they actually don’t want to. Can’t complain.”

How’s this true story? “How’s it going”, “Every day above ground is a good day!”

Did you know that research has shown that over 80% of people are unhappy at work, with work and the job they do!

Have you ever heard that collective sigh on a Sunday night at about 19:00 just as the Carte Blanche jingle starts? You hear South Africa groan in unison “Gotta go to work tomorrow!”, “Weekend’s over!”, “Another week before the weekend!”, “Back to the grindstone!”

What about people who, for some reason, are able to call into radio stations during working hours and when asked by the radio person what they’re up to they reply, “oh I’m just at work: terrible hey!” Really! Real-flippen-lee? Your job, the company that employs you, and pays you so you can cover your bills and feed your kids; the people there and the boss who believed in you enough to hire you, who trusts you with their clients and business is – terrible! Well why don’t you just pack your YOU magazine, your cute fluffy desk troll, photos of your sproglets (Obnoxiously sprinkled all over your desk / cubicle) and go the stuff home.

What is this belief that other people and places are supposed to make you feel happy? I have never seen a single job description that states that it’s gonna be fun to work there and that it’s the company or your bosses responsibility to make and keep you happy.

News flash! There is no fun, honor, dignity, or happiness in working at any job or in any company until YOU bring fun, honor, dignity and happiness to the job. If your job is terrible it must be because you are terrible at it.

For some reason we have believed that other people will make us happy. We believe that our boss, our husband/wife/partner will make us happy and if we work at it or them hard enough they will make us happy. People believe that other people are responsible for their happiness. Some even try reverse psychology and believe that the more they do for their loved ones, family and friends or their boss that these individual will reciprocate and make them happy. I make you happy you must make me happy.

We live in the divorce capital of the world with one of the highest rates of suicide in teens and men. We seem to have unhappy kids, bosses, customers and shareholders. And of the few who have made this model work, most have ended up unhappy, rich people.
Our search for happiness and our attempts at achieving happiness have failed and this is why!

We’ve got it all wrong!

We have traditionally believed that if you work hard and get results you will be successful and then it follows that you will be happy. HW + R + S = 🙂

Sound familiar? We believe this to be true and we live this formula because as Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existents”.

Ask anyone what he or she wants in life and they reply that they want happiness or something that makes them happy. Everyone on planet earth is pursuing some form of happiness or something that they believe will make them happy. Some believe that a good body will make them happy, for others it’s a title, a loving family, peer acceptance, brands, stuff, an up market address, modern clothing, or a Polo GTi with mag’s, a sunroof, banana branch muffler and a boot full of amps.

HAPPY5Most people actually do work hard in an attempt to achieve happiness. Companies believe that staff must work hard, produce results and then they will be happy. Companies set up remuneration to this end. Work hard; get results; get money; be happy. The harder you work the more we will reward you and the happier you will be.

And may I ask: How is that working out for you?

The amazing thing is, that in spite of all this proof that the belief and process of Do – Achieve – Be Happy, doesn’t in fact work, it is still our set point or modus operandi.

It’s like the fly trying to push through the un-seen glass window. No matter how hard it tries to push through the invisible obstacle it cannot succeed and either gets fried by the sun or succumbs to thirst and starvation. If it had only moved 2cm to the left of the frame! Freedom.

Well here is the move, the shift, and the magic. The old formula of hard work equals results, which equals success and then happiness (HW = R = S = :-)) has failed us dismally.

New research has now shown that the formula to results, achievement, purpose and success is in fact:

To be Happy; then you will work hard and want to work hard; get better results and achieve success and that will make you Happier still and then it all starts again 🙂 = HW = R = S = 🙂 

In relationships it works the same way. Be a happy person and people will find you more attractive, want to be around you and you will or can affect their happiness. 🙂 = love + relationships.

It all starts will happiness. Happyology is the study of happiness. It’s the new world-wide phenomenon and as a student and expert in Happyology I have to inform you that your life, your success, your relationships are all dependent on how happy you are, and NOT about what others do, say, give, or most other external events. Happy people bring happy to the company, relationship and event. Happy people are contagious and they make happy spouses and customers.

So, to the action

  • What is your daily happy strategy?
  • How happy are you right now and what are you doing about it?
  • How happy is your marriage and why?
  • What are you doing to make it a happy marriage?

Managers and owners read this part carefully:-

Do you realize that it is not your company’s job or responsibility to make and keep staff happy? All your company needs to do is provide the environment, the systems, the equipment, be fair, firm and pay on time. You are NOT responsible for your staff’s happiness and good luck to you if you try. Trying to motivate a fundamentally unhappy person is like trying to get South Africans to vote for a competent government.

Companies can and do influence and contribute to staff morale and happiness. Profit driven companies and managers understand this strategic advantage. So they have a monthly motivational budget.

What is your motivational (happy) budget? Did you know there are bottom line benefits that happy people bring to companies and their profits?

Happy people / staff …

  • have less absenteeism which makes for a more productive efficient company
  • work harder and longer and infect people around them
  • produce better results
  • care more about accuracy and outcomes
  • are more customer focused
  • get more done in less time reducing labour costs
  • work to higher standards and take pride in their work
  • are less resistant to change
  • have less conflict and solve issues amicably

There are over 27 more bottom line business advantages of employing and having happy staff but for brevity I will keep these to myself for now!

The destruction caused by Unhappy staff are also to numerous to mention all but here are a few. Unhappy Staff ….

  • are absent a lot and use up all available leave as it is earned
  • are off “sick” more, leaving their functions unattended or placing strain on the staff having to fill in for them
  • clock watch, take ever break and stay away from their desks longer
  • produce less, are less accurate, make careless mistakes, lose customers, cost the company money and resists change
  • push the price of labour up, they create and are involved in massive amounts of internal conflicts
  • are always late and the first to leave
  • complain about everything and blame others for their failures
  • create disharmony in the team and stir up issues in the coffee areas
  • need constant supervision, take no initiative and really couldn’t care about anyone or anything but themselves
  • job hop, submit grievances, have go-slows, don’t perform, work the system – pushing all legal angles and rights to the max
  • frustrate, infuriate, and waste time and money

Happiness is an internal process. External factors can influence it but it’s a personal process to achieve inner true happiness. You just need a system, understanding and ideas to execute and live a happy life. Happy is an action and it needs active engagement.

Try it out! Decide that tomorrow you will be happy. Fake it if you have to. Just promise to be happy for one day and see the results that you get with your spouse, kids, colleges, and customers.

You really don’t need more money, or to be thinner, get a promotion, move house or win the lotto, you just have to decide and see the magic. You have to set up happy strategies and action and live a happy life on purpose. You have to make you happy. You have to keep filling your happy furnace.

Everything you will ever do has your level of happiness as its departure point.

Happy is my passion. So Happyology is my thing. People are not very happy mostly because they are lazy so my other field is now also Lazyology. I have researched, practiced and have over 100 strategies, ideas and actions to be happier and I would love to share them with you!

Gavin’s new keynote explores Happyology to help you and your team be happier. Its traditional-ground breaking, ancient–cutting edge, new-basic, and common sense–unique set of actions, tips and strategies to make a happy profit and get happy results.

99.99 percent of all problems faced by corporates and people on planet earth basically originated due to laziness. Lazyology looks at Malignant Metastasized Carcinoma of the Gluteus Maximus. Pro-philosopher Sharples looks at symptoms, causes and treatments of this international pandemic, which is destroying business, relationships, marriages and the South African government.

Gavin Sharples