Rick Baker Thought Posts
Left Menu Space Holder

About the author

Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

E-mail me Send mail
Follow me LinkedIn Twitter



<<  June 2019  >>

View posts in large calendar

Recent Comments

Comment RSS

Some Ideas About Optimism

by Rick Baker
On Mar 25, 2010
We all know when people say “That glass is half full” they are optimists.
But, how else can we spot them?
Does a person’s communication give us clues?
According to Susan C. Vaughan M.D. the author of ‘Half Full Half Empty, Understanding the Psychological Roots of Optimism’, we can identify optimists through the following 2 characteristics.
Dr. Vaughan says we can identify optimists two ways:
  1. They exhibit a specific attributional style: when they experience successes they tend to take more credit than they deserve and when they experience failures they tend to blame others or unfavourable  circumstances.
  2. They make downward comparisons. For example,  they think or say things like “I am sure glad I am not so and so” [some less fortunate person]. Apparently, the Dalai Lama does this.
According to Susan Vaughan, when we see/listen to optimists we perceive them to be people who inflate their own ‘worth’, fail to give credit to others when such credit is due, and fail to accept responsibility for their failures.  And, optimists sustain their positive self-image by feeling good about being better than others.
Isn’t that just a bit surprising.
Regardless, we can use this to bolster an argument supporting realism…or at least an argument in favour of optimism tempered by realism.
Perhaps the above 2 ‘tests’ could be altered as follows…
Here are two ways to identify realistic-optimists:
  1. They enjoy and celebrate their successes but don’t reduce the role played by others or ignore the fact fortunate circumstances [or luck] also contribute to success [some of the time].
  2. They express appreciation for their good fortune…but keep their downward comparisons to themselves.
PS:  here’s a link to another thought about optimism-pessimism…from a prior blog.
More about P=2S+O and how to  be more optimistic in future blogs…


Optimism & Pessimism | Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude

Seeking Simple

by Rick Baker
On Mar 23, 2010

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog, more like a detailed paper, titled Seeking Simple.

Seeking Simple is about making good decisions.

Seeking Simple is about really communicating.

Seeking Simple is about solving problems.

Seeking Simple is about reducing our stress levels.


Seeking Simple© is about more than that…but that’s a good-enough introduction for now.

Here are a couple of pieces of inspiration…

A 14th century English friar, William of Ockham, came up with a razor [rule of thumb] that has been translated many ways, one being:

"When confronted with multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one."

In 1916, Robert Updegraff created a little classic book titled, ‘Obvious Adams: the story of a successful businessman’. [I am thrilled to have a 1916 copy, with a most-endearing father-to-son note penned on the title page.] Obvious Adams is a little story about a fellow who sees what everyone else misses. While everyone else is bogged down in the details, Obvious Adams sees the obvious. And, the obvious is simple. We can learn from Obvious Adams.

Here’s a link to an Obvious Adams book review


My goal here was to introduce the concept - Seeking Simple.

I would like to obtain help from you folks who read my blog…I would like to hear or read your stories about how simple decisions or simple communications or simple solutions to problems have served you well.

So, please, if you have some personal anecdotes then please share them with me…and our other readers.

More about Seeking Simple in future blogs…


Delegation & Decisions | Seeking Simple!

21 Words for the 21st Century

by Rick Baker
On Mar 18, 2010
The communication expert Dr. Frank Luntz recommends 21 Words for the 21st Century.
To be accurate, he recommends a few more than 21 words and some of his recommendations are short phrases.
Frank spends most of his time consulting to businesses; however, he is well-recognized for helping politicians.
Most of his 21 Words for the 21st Century apply to both politics and business.
A listing of the words, as I am doing below, does not come close to doing justice to the thought Dr. Luntz has given to these words. Not just the thought...but also the research and the intense testing through surveys.
The 21 Words for the 21st Century are:
  1. Imagine
  2. Hassle-free
  3. Lifestyle
  4. We Deliver (Accountability)
  5. Results and the Can Do Spirit
  6. Innovation
  7. Re-words: renew, revitalize, rejuvenate, restore, rekindle, reinvent
  8. Efficient and Efficiency
  9. The Right to...
  10. Patient-centered (medical)
  11. Investment
  12. Casual Elegance (travel)
  13. Independent (no conflicts)
  14. Peace of Mind
  15. Certified
  16. All-American [in our case…All-Canadian]
  17. Prosperity
  18. Spirituality
  19. Financial Security
  20. A Balanced Approach
  21. A Culture Of...
Throughout his book, ‘Words That Work - It's not what you say, It’s what people hear’, Dr Luntz stresses 'being positive' over 'being critical'.
He also stresses simplicity….keep your messages simple, easy to read, and easy to understand.
What impresses me most about Dr Luntz’s approach is he is a champion for targeting messages to meet the audience…putting yourself in the audience’s shoes, doing what you can to understand their views, doing your best to understand how they hear things, etc.
That approach to communication is perhaps the most-important thing in 21st Century business.
This is what Tarmarvalproda© is all about.
More on communication in future blogs…



I have some good news for you

by Rick Baker
On Mar 16, 2010
Initially, I wanted to title this blog, ‘I have some bad news for you’.
I remembered the experiment we did last year. It proved people read ‘good news’ communications twice as much as they read ‘bad news’ communications. So, I used the ‘good news’ title.
[I offer that as a little communication tip.]
Also, I really don’t have bad news.
I just want to share some thoughts on how to deliver bad news.
These are not my thoughts. I am relaying a summary of Jill Malleck’s thoughts.
Link to Jill - www.epiphanyatwork.com
I had the pleasure of attending Jill’s presentation at our Centre For Family Business meeting last month. www.cffb.ca
Jill provided a great presentation. She also provided books. A number of names were drawn and I was fortunate to have my name drawn. Jill wrote a nice note in my book and signed it for me. So, ‘Epiphanies @ Work’ will have a place in my library of author-autographed books. [that library – well, that’s another story]
Here is an introduction to some of Jill’s thoughts…
Delivering Tough Messages
  1. Plan what you will say
  2. Increase your credibility
  3. Think ahead about the receiver’s likely questions or concerns
  4. But don’t assume the worst
  5. Accept emotions with empathy and neutrality
  6. Allow the receiver to digest the message
  7. Don’t take it personally
Good advice!
I particularly like 3 followed by 4. Thinking about the possible reactions people could have when they receive tough messages is not pessimistic. It is realistic. It is prudent. It is the decent thing to do. Assuming people will have the worst reactions would be pessimistic. That’s not a healthy way to think.
More on communication in future blogs…


Change: Creating Positive Change

Do you hear what I’m saying?

by Rick Baker
On Mar 11, 2010
Words That Work: it's not what you say, it's what people hear
That's the title of a book by Dr. Frank Luntz
The book title grabbed me.
The book is worth the read…or 'the hear' if you prefer audio books.
Dr. Luntz draws strong reactions. He strikes people's chords. In some cases he hits sour notes. In others he finds believers.
I am a life-long learner…at least that's what one assessment told me.
And, the topic of communication fascinates me.
While politics is not one of my areas of interest, the communication skill of politicians is.
Dr. Luntz's book is not restricted to political communication…it digs into marketing communication. Of more importance, it addresses communication with the hearer in mind.  
The book offers vivid examples of what works and what does not work.
One section of the book really struck my love-of-writing-and-books chord. Comparing one section of George Orwell's classic '1984' to the [same] scene in the movie '1984', Dr. Luntz illustrated how written messages can out-communicate visual messages. [I have never read such a clear argument of this point. I have read numerous arguments, arguing in favour of visual messaging.]
Here is a summary of Dr. Luntz's 10 Rules for Successful Communication
  1. Simplicity
  2. Brevity
  3. Credibility
  4. Consistency
  5. Novelty
  6. Sound and Texture Matters
  7. Speak Aspirationally* [humanize, personalize]
  8. Visualize
  9. Ask a Question
  10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance
Excellent advice.
Footnote: Aspirationally - that's the 'word' I heard when I listened to the audio book…I cannot find that word in the dictionary [yet].
More about communication in future blogs…


Communication: Improving Communication

A Thought About Networking

by Rick Baker
On Mar 9, 2010
There has been much talk about networking recently.
For example, I have the privilege of working with one of The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce’s networking committees…the recently announced Chamber Connections. The Greater KW Chamber is working to refresh and enhance its events, formerly held as BA5.  The first new event will be held in April. Here’s a link to the Chamber’s website. www.greaterkwchamber.com
Recently, I listened to the audio-book ‘Greater Than Yourself’, written by Steven Farber www.stevefarber.com  In the book Farber recommends we help other business folks achieve their potential. He uses the name Greater Than Yourself [GTY] to describe his philosophy. He provides a simple set of guidelines on how to go about doing GTY, which can perhaps be summed up as philanthropize for life. At least, that’s how one of the characters in the book described it.
Farber used a story-telling style to convey his Greater Than Yourself message. The writing style reminded me of the Og Mandino classic ‘The Greatest Miracle in the World ’and our friend Dave Chilton's major best seller ‘The Wealthy Barber’. The author or a very-similar character plays the lead role in the book and he learns as the reader learns.
www.ogmandino.com Og Mandino | www.wealthybarber.com Dave Chilton
To my thought about networking…
This thought hit me: the Greater Than Yourself philosophy is networking at its best extreme.
To truly network, we must expand ourselves and we must give to others. We must have a sincere interest in helping other folks achieve their goals. We must give without keeping track of favours owed.
More on networking in future blogs…


Networking: The Joys of Connection

490 Dutton Drive - Suite C6 - Waterloo ON N2L 6H7 - phone 519-886-6522 - fax 519-886-8795
Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.