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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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An ounce of problem-finding is worth a pound of problem-solving.

by Rick Baker
On Mar 3, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

An ounce of prevention is worth an ounce of cure. [an old saying, containing wisdom of the ages]

Q: But how?

A: Thinking ahead, as in planning & risk management. Seek out problems in advance...as a matter of good habit.


The 21st Century - never has risk management been such a vital planning function and [with small-to-big data] never has risk management been such an intriguing planning function.





Thinking as in Think and Grow Rich | Thought Tweets | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

You worked in your business, then on your business. Now, work on yourself.

by Rick Baker
On Mar 1, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

About Baby Boomers...

Over the last 4 decades, small-business owners naturally understood what it meant to work in your business.

When Michael Gerber taught the value of "working on your business", many small-business owners grasped the value of planning on and embraced the concept.

Now, many small-business owners are nearing retirement and, for them, the timing is critical...now, they must work on themselves and make significant changes they have postponed if they wish to secure their financial futures.


Family Business and CFFB | Thinking as in Think and Grow Rich | Thought Tweets

In support of self-consciousness

by Rick Baker
On Feb 27, 2017

In our lexicon self-consciousness has a weakness connotation.

We have been conditioned to think of 'self-conscious' people as timid people, people who cower under negative self-images.

Let's give this another think.

Better still, let's replace it all with constructive thought.

Self-consciousness is a good thing:

  • It means the person is giving some thought to self...it’s an acknowledgement that thinking about self is an important thing to do.
  • It means the person is aware of self...it’s a foundation upon which self-control can grow.
  • It means the person is growing knowledge of self…it’s the vital step toward self-improvement.

Like all other skills self-awareness, self-control, self-knowledge and self-improvement require guidance and relentless practise. And practise leads to mastery of skills when its guidance-system is housed in an educated, open and self-conscious mind. So, self-consciousness leads to strength in thought and action. Conversely, strength cannot exist when self-consciousness is absent.

Never should we assume self-conscious thought and awareness is only directed toward the negatives. For each of us, self is the essential ingredient. We ought to be conscious of that. And, we ought to wrap that consciousness in constructive mindsets, allowing as little room as possible for negativity.

We face an awesome choice – we can choose to accept self-conscious thought as the recipe for finding our most-positive things…like our talent, our courage, our confidence, our conviction, & our curiosity.

How to develop your positive mental attitude

by Rick Baker
On Feb 21, 2017

Above and beyond everything else, Courage is the mind state that promotes positive mental attitude.

Like every other mind state, with focused and persistent effort, Courage can be developed.

Courage is about facing fears and acting against them. So, Courage is a mind state laced with emotion. It is a mind state where fear is tamed and transformed into something more positive and constructive.

Often, Courage is developed accidentally - for example when someone acts impulsively in reaction to a dangerous or fearful situation.

Deeply rooted Courage can also be developed intentionally with forethought and planned action steps.

People know what causes them to feel fear. People can anticipate most of the situations that cause them fear. As one example, people can anticipate other people’s actions that cause them to experience fear. More specifically, in business, people can anticipate the specific actions their bosses do that trigger feelings of fear.

Most of the situations that cause us to be fearful can be anticipated. 

Because we have this ability to anticipate fearful situations we also have the ability to plan ways to counteract those fearful situations before they visit us. In summary, we can role-play fearful situations in our minds long before those fearful situations happen in reality. While we role-play those fearful situations in our mind we can role-play various reactions to those fearful situations and, in effect, we can train ourselves in advance on the best ways to react to fearful situations. Then, later, when fearful situations arise in real life we can face them and take pre-planned actions. And, because we know what we are doing and why we are doing it we can be more objective. We can 'self-analyse' to assess, rate, adjust, and improve our performance in fear-situations. Following this approach we can improve our handling of fear-situations and build Courage until we reach the level of Courage we desire.

The more fearful situations we can anticipate and plan for the more opportunities we will have to test different fear-countering actions… the goal being ‘fear management’...i.e., Courage.

The process described here helps us master our fears, build Courage, and build self-confidence. This is the optimum process for development of Courage because we control the pace and we get first-hand feedback as we succeed in small steps. It is also an excellent way to build self-confidence, that state of mind where we know we have the ability to address and handle situations when we face them.

Courage and self-confidence are the states of mind most conducive to building positive mental attitudes toward other people and situations and, of more importance, toward ourselves.

Personal Values, Rules of Engagement, & setting off those Hot Button alarms

by Rick Baker
On Jan 31, 2017

When it comes to personal values, there are a handful of common Hot Buttons where differing views about personal values cause problems. Examples include: money, failure to deliver on commitments, personal organization and timeliness, attitude, manners, and communication styles.

When we look at businesses that are succeeding and those that are not, we see these different values 'in action', sometimes meshing together and other times grinding against one another. When businesses are succeeding we see alignment, consistency, and harmony in people's personal values and the rules that guide conduct. When businesses are struggling and failing, we see misaligned values, misunderstood values, disharmony, and disconnected approaches to the rules that guide conduct.

When individual's personal values do not align, business challenges always follow. It is only a matter of time. Sometimes, while people are struggling to start up a business or get over a difficult period in business differences in personal values are set aside…as in – setting aside differences in order to focus on a shared goal. On the other hand, when the dust of the problems clears the differences in personal values start to dominate the mindsets and influence the interactions for the worse. This explains why many businesses fall apart or plummet right after achieving plateaus of new success.

Here is another personal-values Hot Button: Sense of Urgency!

Sense of Urgency & the setting of priorities, particularly in entrepreneurial environments...these are things that often set strong reactions into play. Some people, for example Stephen R Covey, strongly embrace the concept of making time for the Important things. Other people embrace a fleet-of-foot-action approach that always favors Urgency over Important…continuously pressing for prompt action.

When we mix these two ways…

When we see the merits of executing work with a sense of Urgency and we take the time to create strategies and plan our most Important work…

...we maximize success, both with people and with profit.

The conflict between long-term desires and short-term gratification

by Rick Baker
On Jan 23, 2017

We use a long list of words including ‘wants’, ‘needs’, ‘desires’, ‘goals’, ‘objectives’, ‘purpose’ and ‘vision’ to describe our thoughts and feelings about the future. It's about our future. It's about the future possibilities and our desires and preferences around those possibilities.

I have posted several articles about these topics, for example, one article about Desires is copied below.

We all have desires: some desires are modest in scope, as in kicking an annoying little habit; other desires are most grandiose, as in making a dent in the universe. 

Our desires are both inwardly-focused and outwardly-focused, although most of us exhibit blind spots in both the internal/intrinsic and external/extrinsic directions. As a general observation, most people fail to place enough onus on internal focus. Their words and their actions illustrate their expectation that external changes will bring the desired outcomes and internal ‘self-changes’ are not necessary. 

For most people, the equation can be as simple as this: 

My Personal Changes + Other People’s Personal Changes = My Desired Outcomes.

Now, I am not saying most people will agree with that equation. In fact, many if not most people will present the opinion that they should, must, and will make personal changes to accomplish their desires. For example, over-drinkers, over-eaters and under-exercisers will acknowledge they could improve their odds of achieving their desires if they could reduce their bad habits and increase their good habits. And, most will say they are prepared to work at these changes. Regardless, study after study confirms people do a very poor job of correcting their behavioural shortcomings by reducing bad habits and expanding good habits. [for example, read the book 'Change Or Die']

Why do people have such trouble giving up bad habits and sustaining good habits?

The simple answer is: for most people the emotional attraction of near-term 'rewards' out-muscles the future 'rewards' tied to long-term desires.

Most people grab gratification when it is available.

Before any of us judges others, we should consider the extent of our own willpower.

Each of us should ask questions like:

  • Are my long-term goals clear?
  • Do I adjust my actions so they align with my long-term goals?
  • Do I have plans to help me reduce bad habits and develop good habits?


The following was first published on Oct 22, 2013


I have noticed in people 4 dominant desires. These desires apply to people in business and to people in general:

1.The desire to vent one’s strength.

2.The desire to feel important.

3.The desire to control.

4.The desire to create things of value.


The Desire to Vent One’s Strength

At the philosophical level - Nietzsche considered this to be the #1 human desire, greater than the drive to procreate.

At the day-to-day business level – People who are enthusiastic about their work are working at things that align with their personal talents & strengths; people who are worn down by their work are working at things that do not align with their talents & strengths. Both consciously and subconsciously, people know when their actions are not aligned with their strengths…it tends to bother them and it tends to eat away at their spirit. Their ambition shrinks. Their performance dulls. Their minds wander and their energies shrink.


The Desire to Feel Important

At the philosophical level – Dale Carnegie, the self-help pioneer, viewed this as the leading desire. In his lessons and his classic ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ he taught how to influence people by (1) appealing to this basic human desire and (2) not conflicting with this basic human desire…in summary: be hearty in approbation, be lavish with praise, and do not criticize.

At the day-to-day business level – “Constructive Criticism is an Oxymoron”. Criticism can cause behavioural changes; however, those changes are achieved at a cost. “Criticism finds few friends”. Criticism finds people who already recognize their errors. Some of these people have already given themselves a dose of self-criticism…so they don’t benefit and may hold a grudge against the extra dose of outside criticism. Others do not care about their errors and are predisposed to resist external criticism. Criticism finds people who do not recognize they have made an error. There are kinder ways than the use of criticism to educate them about their shortfalls.


The Desire to Control

At the psychological level – much has been written about locus of control. Some people believe they have within them an internal ability to control their lives while other people believe their lives are controlled by external factors.

At the day-to-day business level – People with an internal locus of control can be driven and extremely self-motivated. Or they can be more passive. They can appear strong-willed and opinionated…even maverick or renegade. Some react very poorly to authority and rules. They are self-energized. For some reason these people have withstood the criticisms of others and their spirits have survived. People with an external locus of control may be content or they may be discontented...living the life of a victim. Some will be comfortable with authority and rules; some will be subversive. Few, if any, successful business leaders have an external locus of control. Unhappy followers may be displaying the impact of throttled internal locus of control or external locus of control discontent.


The Desire to Create Things of Value

I think people are born with natural desire and drive to innovate and create. Psychological studies confirm this and the fact that over time most people become less creative and less willing to try new things.

That’s why entrepreneurs stand out in business. Entrepreneurs have an internal drive to create things of value and that drive survives the beatings placed on it by other people, the bureaucracies, the cruelty of the markets, etc. This desire to create things of value is not isolated to business. We see it in art, we see it in music, and we see it in philanthropy and charitable endeavours.

PS: People's actions provide clues to their desires. However, we cannot jump to conclusions. For example, a resistance to authority or a resistance to change will signal certain possibilities. More work is required to uncover which one of the possibilities is most-accurate. People's words provide clues to people's desires...but, watch what they do at least as much as you listen to what they say.

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