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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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If you could travel in time...

by Rick Baker
On Dec 29, 2011

If you could travel in time...

... and if you could only meet one person!

Whom would you choose to meet?

I bet you've heard that question before. I bet you've thought about it. Maybe, you've answered it. Maybe other people have told you their choices? Maybe you've heard choices like Jesus and Einstein...I once read those were the top 2 choices when North Americans were asked that question. [Certainly, I have considered those choices.]

So many great people...it would be so tough to choose.

Probably, if I had the opportunity I would choose Lord Nelson, the flamboyant heart of the British Navy during its heyday...or maybe it would be Sitting Bull...or Cleopatra...or...

Maybe I would choose the great Roman philosopher and statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero?

What an interesting fellow!

Cicero: Prior to his execution/assassination, legend has it, he looked his assassin in the eye and said something like "There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly." Then he offered his neck for the killing blow. Like Lord Nelson, Cicero illustrated courage in his last actions and words.

Marcus Tullius Cicero1 was a successful lawyer and champion of constitutional law.

Cicero left us a long list of meaningful and memorable quotes.

Cicero, a little over 2000 years ago, created the classic Six Mistakes of Man.

The Six Mistakes of Man2

  1. The illusion that personal gain or advancement is made up of crushing others.
  2. The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected.
  3. Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it.
  4. Refusing to set aside trivial preferences.
  5. Neglecting development and refinement of the mind and not acquiring the habit of reading and study.
  6. Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.
It would be nice to spend a sunny afternoon, in Rome's senate building, sitting and chatting with Cicero...and I suppose, also keeping an eye open for Julius Caesar's and others' henchmen.


  1. Cicero: the origin of this family name is the 'chickpea'...an old and important crop. Probably, Cicero's ancestors' family business was growing chickpeas. 
  2. There are several different interpretations, using slightly different words to convey these 'Six Mistakes of Man' messages. I have blended them.





Hero Worship | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

Strengths & Weaknesses

by Rick Baker
On Dec 7, 2011

The great Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Our strength grows out of our weaknesses".

Ralph Waldo Emerson isn't a fellow I would want to debate. Well...let me re-state that. Actually, I would love the opportunity to exchange ideas with Emerson even if the only way to do it was debating him. And, I recognize the likelihood of me winning a debate with Emerson would be pretty close to absolute zero.

I know...more information than you needed...I could not help myself because I rarely disagree with the wisdom Ralph Waldo Emerson put to paper.

...back to the topic of Strengths and weaknesses.

Specifically, I am writing about Strengths and weaknesses people exhibit in workplaces...this is about business.

Speaking about my personal experiences and my observations of other people, I do not believe people's strengths grow out of weaknesses. I like the way the folks at and from the Gallup organization described the source of people's strengths: natural talent themes + specialized, pertinent knowledge + skills development = Strengths, where Strength is the ability to perform actions nearly perfectly almost all the time. [I have written, in some detail, about Strengths.]

The starting point for a person's Strengths is inborn, natural talent.

For the vast majority of people, Strengths are due to innate talents coupled with a lot of hard work.


That is not to say it is impossible to move from what we perceive as weakness to what we perceive as strength. Perhaps, Helen Keller illustrated this best. Helen Keller was born deaf and blind. She overcame these 'weaknesses' to be the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor's Degree. She authored many books. And, she served as an inspiration to millions of people. 

Even still, it is difficult for me to agree with Emerson, "Our strength grows out of our weaknesses".

When I think of Helen Keller, I think "People can do amazing things despite what other people perceive to be weaknesses". And, I think, "Embedded in Helen Keller, deeper than those perceived weaknesses of deafness and blindness, was some innate gift of talent...perhaps it was  - LEARNER". Clearly, Helen Keller also had an amazing desire to ACHIEVE.

Our Strength can grow despite our weaknesses.

Nobody can argue with that!

Thought Tweet #343

by Rick Baker
On Nov 9, 2011
Thought Tweet #343 Know Nature’s laws, use those laws, and obtain the help of other people. Time, thinking…then wisdom.
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
This is my interpretation of a piece of Napoleon Hill’s message. He defined wisdom in terms of Nature’s laws and the co-operation and harmony of people, as they use Nature’s laws to create things of value. At least, that’s how I understand Napoleon Hill’s teachings.


Hero Worship | Thought Tweets | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

The ancient Egyptians threw away their brains

by Rick Baker
On Apr 12, 2011
If the historical record is correct then the ancient Egyptians threw away their brains.
I mean, when they preserved people’s bodies using the mummification process they did not preserve the brains with the other body parts, which included the heart, the liver, the lungs, the stomach, and the intestines. The ancient Egyptians preserved all those parts for the afterlife. And they preserved the skeleton and muscles.
But, they did not preserve the brains. They threw them away.
I found that fascinating.
So, I did a little research.
Here are the Egyptian hieroglyphs for the brain and the heart:
Brain Heart
NOTE: the above hieroglyph for ‘brain’ is what you will find if you search the Internet. Since drafting this Thought Post I became even more interested in hieroglyphs and I purchased Jean-Francois Dumon’s ‘Aaou Hieroglyphic Dictionary’. That dictionary indicates the above hieroglyph does not represent ‘brain’; it represents ‘viscera’…which, of course, means other organs [not the brain].
Jean-Francois Dumon presents the following hieroglyph for ‘brain’:
D36-G17-G17-F51 [I am trying to contact Jean-Francois Dumon to sort this out]
Here is an excerpt describing ancient Egyptian thinking about the heart
“Heart (ieb)
Appearance: Those used to the valentine-related heart of Western Culture may be surprised at the Egyptian concept of the heart. Theirs looks more like a vase with handles, and indeed many vases and jars were shaped like the hieroglyph in question. The heart of Egyptian iconography is a fairly faithful representation of a section of the heart of a sheep. The "handles" correspond with the connection of the veins and arteries to the organ.
Meaning: The Egyptians early in their history realized the connection of the heart to the pulse. An ancient Egyptian medical treatise of the heart says that it "speaks in the vessels of all the members." It is not surprising then that they believed that the heart held the mind and soul of the individual. Another Egyptian author stated emphatically that "the actions of the arms, the movement of the legs, the motion of every other member is done according to the orders of the heart that has conceived them." It was sometimes said of the dead that their hearts had "departed" because it was believed that the heart was the center a man's life force.”
The above excerpt is representative of the way experts describe the ancient Egyptian view: the heart held the mind and soul of the individual...and the heart governed the body.
Now, ‘Western’ thinking – thinking heavily flavoured with science - has a different view.
I hope I do not do an injustice to that ‘Western’ thinking when I describe [my understanding of] it this way:
  • The brain governs the body [although there is at least a partial acceptance that spinal neural systems can influence the body, independent of the brain]
  • The brain may contain the mind…probably, if ‘the mind’ exists then the brain does contain the mind…however, there is no scientific evidence to confirm the mind exists whether as a thing independent of the brain or as a subset of the brain
  • The heart is a pump, which pumps blood…it governs circulation of blood…that’s it
Considering all that and more…
Is it reasonable to conclude the ancient Egyptians, when they preserved their hearts and threw away their brains, were primitive and ignorant?
Is it reasonable to conclude the ancient Egyptians were 100% wrong?
Related to this…the folks who follow my Thought Posts know ‘I Wonder’ about a lot of things. This ancient Egyptian heart and brain topic has me wondering. I have read ancient Greeks, pre-Socratic Greeks, did not take credit for most or maybe even all of their thoughts. As a rule they believed the gods caused them to think what they thought and feel what they felt. As examples, if while on the battlefield they became fearful they blamed it on a god and if they prevailed over the enemy they credited a god. [Refer to Homer’s ‘Iliad’] So, it is easy [but not necessarily accurate] to conclude the ancient Greeks heard voices in their heads...similar to the voices normal people now hear in our heads [or perhaps just in front of our faces]. I mean that voice that talks to us all the time, helping us sort out things and decide what to do. Assuming the ancient Greeks heard voices as we now do, they heard [essentially] their own voice but concluded the gods were using that voice to speak to them.
Today, we tend to believe the voice belongs to us rather than a God or the gods.
I wonder:
  • Did the ancient Egyptians ‘hear’ voices?
  • If so then were those voices in or near their hearts rather than their heads?

Sales Tweet #171

by Rick Baker
On Mar 14, 2011
Sales Tweet #171 Some sales people are like ship captains in the fog...repeatedly blowing their horns.
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
Don’t blow your own horn. That's an old piece of communication wisdom. It appeared in popular-quotes books almost 100 years ago.


Humour | Sales | Thought Tweets | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

Sales Tweet #162

by Rick Baker
On Mar 1, 2011
Sales Tweet #162 Some ancient wisdom for Success: Have bone in back, not bone in head.
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
Probably no ancient person ever said that. But, we will never know for sure. On the other hand, I did write “people should work at having thick skin and thin skulls”. Thick skin will help people be less influenced by the criticism of others. A thin skull will ensure important stuff gets in easier.


Thick Skin & Thin Skull | Thought Tweets | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

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