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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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Thought Tweet #785.5

by Rick Baker
On Jul 19, 2013

Thought Tweet #785.5 Make sure your business solutions are less complicated than your problems.


The Thinking Behind The Tweet

If you cannot get your people to do what needs to be done, you are not alone. And, perhaps you are not in good company. Or, perhaps you need some straightforward help.

Do not buy into the current trend of thinking that claim solutions need to be complex. That's untested...unproven smoke-and-mirrors opinion.

3 great reasons to strive to excel!

by Rick Baker
On Jul 2, 2013

Doing excellent work. Mastering skills. Striving to be better or best.


Excellent work is a truly wonderful thing to experience.

I have had the opportunity to observe mastery of work and the gratification and other rewards work-mastery provides. I have worked with amazing people and had the good fortune to be part of amazing business teams. When I observe business people settling for less, sometimes much less, it gnaws at me. I know what they are missing. And it troubles me to stand by and watch.


Why should you strive to excel at work?

1. The Feeling of Satisfaction: Positive feelings warm us and enliven us. When we know we have excelled at a work-task we feel satisfaction. Everyone feels that way when they do a task really well. Think back to your childhood. Remember winning a race, getting a high mark in school, hitting that home run, drawing a wonderful picture, singing well...and other such achievements. There is much gratification in work well done...even small achievements create lasting memories. 

2. The Comfort of Belonging: Recognition by other people energizes us. In our hearts, we are all social beings. When other people compliment us or recognize our work contributions we feel pleasure. We feel like we belong. We feel positive. This causes us to strive to achieve even more. Communities play a huge role in our lives: from family, to neighbourhood, to school, to city, to country. We learn this when we are young and it sticks with us. When at work, we feel most-comfortable when others recognize our good work...and when we extend to them similar recognition. When at work, we are most energized when we are part of a group that achieves and recognizes individual actions and successes.

3. The Power of Confidence: Self-confidence happens when we know we can handle situations and actions. And, better than anything else,  baby action steps pave the path for unshakable self-confidence. You have watched little ones learn how to walk...perhaps a brother or sister when you were young...perhaps your own children. With each tiny step, with each little stumble, with each return to the standing position, with each start over and try again...confidence is built until, over time, walking becomes natural and easy. The same applies to work tasks. With planned practice work skills grow. With errors and trying again we learn how to generate better results. With effort and time work tasks are mastered. And, when we step back and celebrate just how far we have come we gain and reinforce self-confidence.

You know these 3 states of mind.

You have experienced them.

You have enjoyed them.

It is within your ability to experience them to a greater degree. That is why excellent work is a truly wonderful thing.

Gravity & Levity: Why-How Opposites Attract [WHOA]

by Rick Baker
On Jun 13, 2013

Gravity & Levity: polar opposites, each laced with double entendre.

Gravity was Zarathustra’s archenemy. Gravity is the fabric of Newton’s legacy. And, when I first heard John Mayer’s song ‘Gravity’ I was blown away…like Aristotle envisioned fire escaping gravity and levitating to the sphere of the moon’s orb…where the light is.

Seneca saw levity as the bone of all good and virtuous. George Bernard Shaw believed levity to be the best package for communicating the right things to say. And, when I first read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s ‘Antifragility’ I solidified my thinking about the importance of blending polar opposites into our lives…and our decisions.

Then I read Galileo’s ‘Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems’: gravity & levity became front and centre in my thoughts…and they stayed there…two polar opposites, hand-in-hand, sharing centre stage.

While some see his as dark, I think Nietzsche is the most-interesting philosopher…brilliant beyond bi-polar…meshing messages of and with gravity & levity: 

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

“The certain prospect of death could sweeten every life with a precious and fragrant drop of levity – and now you strange apothecary souls have turned into an ill-tasting drop of poison that makes the whole of life repulsive.”

“I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.”

 Friedrich Nietzsche





Why-How Opposites Attract [WHOA]


  • An intentional blend of gravity & levity helps ensure variety and moderation.
  • An intentional blend of gravity & levity promotes balance and curiosity.
  • An intentional blend of gravity & levity builds character.


  • Read works that blend gravity & levity…as examples, choose Nietzsche over Newton…choose Twain and Taleb
  • Listen to works that blend gravity & levity...from the Beatles to Beethoven…with some Wagner samplers in between
  • Experience the gravity & levity of the arts…from Michelangelo's David to David Blaine...without riding on high horses


  • Gravity keeps our feet on the ground; Levity places our head above our feet.
  • Gravity attracts one body to another; Levity adds dance to their relationship.
  • Gravity draws and centres; Levity enjoys new horizons.


So, when it comes to gravity & levity I will pay attention to When-How Opposites Attract.

And I am with Nietzsche and Mayer, if I must choose between gravity & levity…

WHOA gravity, stay the hell away from me



Gravity & Levity: the Meaning & History of the Words

Source: Online Etymological Dictionary

gravity (n.)

c.1500, "weight, dignity, seriousness," from Middle French gravité "seriousness, thoughtfulness," and directly from Latin gravitatem (nominative gravitas) "weight, heaviness, pressure," from gravis "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). The scientific sense of "force that gives weight to objects" first recorded 1640s.

 levity (n.)

"want of seriousness, frivolity," 1560s, from Latin levitatem (nominative levitas) "lightness, frivolity," from levis "light" in weight (see lever) + -ity.





Beyond Business | Hero Worship | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

How to stop complaining

by Rick Baker
On Jun 11, 2013


While in Italy last month, I re-read Marcus Aurelius' 'Meditations'. It is therapeutic to consider the self-help messages this famous Roman Emperor wrote over 1800 years ago.

Here's an excerpt, from book 4 section 3...

"What's there to complain about? People's misbehavior?

But take into consideration:

  • that rational beings exist for one another;
  • that doing what's right sometimes requires patience;
  • that no one does the wrong thing deliberately;
  • and the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fought and died and been buried.

...and keep your mouth shut."

One of my heroes...


Marcus Aurelius

121 AD - 180 AD


Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude | Hero Worship | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

Thought Tweet #752

by Rick Baker
On Jun 4, 2013

Thought Tweet #752 Think in new ways; think in old ways...just don't waste time dabbling in-between.


The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Wisdom survives the test of timeCuriosity & Creativity are essential things.

It's the stuff in-between that wastes time, injures attitude, and accomplishes little.

Create a How To Think list

Thought Tweet #747

by Rick Baker
On May 28, 2013

Thought Tweet #747 "Other people's mistakes? Leave them to their makers.Marcus Aurelius 

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Marcus Aurelius is one of my heroes. 

Over 1800 years ago, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote those words in what was later [much later] published as 'Meditations'. While nobody knows exactly why he wrote several short `books`, it certainly appears he wrote them as a self-help exercise...to keep his thoughts focused and his spirits up when times were tough. The 'books' were written late in Marcus Aurelius' life...likely during the 160`s AD. 

I re-read 'Meditations' in Italy while on my way to Rome last week. The above quote can be found at book 7, section 29.

Clear, concise & nicely-worded wisdom.

Constructive criticism is definitely an oxymoron.

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