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I rarely write about morals...

by Rick Baker
On Aug 9, 2016

I rarely write about morals.

However, driven with hero worship, I want to share the 'self-direction' Benjamin Franklin provided to himself when he was in his early 20's. Somehow, this very wise fellow had the ability at a very young age to write 'life instructions' aimed at building the character he desired. He ranked his virtues [as presented below] and created and implemented a plan for developing, one-by-one, those virtues. He followed the plan for years, took daily notes on his progress, and carried his notebook with him throughout his life. 

Here are the virtues Benjamin Franklin wrote to himself then worked at throughout his life...


13 Virtues

 

1. Temperance.

Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

 

2. Silence.

Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

 

3. Order.

Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

 

4. Resolution.

Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

 

5. Frugality.

Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

 

6. Industry.

Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

 

7. Sincerity.

Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

 

8. Justice.

Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

 

9. Moderation.

Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries as you think they deserve.

 

10, Cleanliness.

Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

 

11. Tranquility.

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

 

12. Chastity.

Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

 

13. Humility.

Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

 

About Humility -

When he was 78 years old, Benjamin Franklin wrote,

"I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own." 

and he wrote,

"In reality, there is, perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility."

What honest admissions! 

 

 

Good things come to those who wait...if they're working while they're waiting.

by Rick Baker
On Jun 21, 2016

Old sayings contain wisdom that has withstood the test of time. 

'Patience is a virtue.' That saying contains a simple, valuable piece of wisdom: you will fare better if you choose patience over impatience.

'Good things come to those who wait.' That saying contains the wisdom of 'patience is a virtue', however, it stretches that wisdom a little too far. 

Waiting - patience alone - does not cause good things to come. Good things come when we work the right way at the right things and understand that good things don't always happen quickly and sometimes good things take mysterious routes before they arrive. This is consistent with a high-level of (but not a zealous/fundamentalist) belief in the Law of Attraction...i.e., I mean - in broad terms, the good things we do will, some day/some way, bring good things to us.

Good things come to us when we work the right way at the right things. Perhaps, not all the time but at least some of the time. Unless you hold a fatalistic viewpoint, a belief in pre-set destiny, you believe your actions will generate results. And, you believe working the right way at the right things will tend to bring about good things.

Good things come to us when we combine patience with good work.

Find your balance between courage and consideration of others.

by Rick Baker
On May 9, 2016

Inspired by one of Stephen R Covey's phrases, "...balance between courage and consideration"

Courage and consideration of others are two character traits.

Perhaps, courage and consideration are antagonistic toward one another? Certainly, to a degree courage and consideration can cause our thoughts to move in different directions. The character qualities known as courage and consideration can bring opposing goals and make people feel conflicted. So, there is value in considering the need to balance one against the other and vice-versa. 

It seems to me, courage and consideration come into balance when true & pure self-confidence is present. The words "true & pure" are there to remove the possibility that self-confidence is less than sincere, laced with bravado, or clouded by bluster. True & pure self-confidence survives internal tests...it passes conscience tests and it promotes peace of mind. When confidence like that exists, courage and consideration are in balance.

To be more clear: When true & pure confidence exists, from the perspective of the owner of that confidence, courage and consideration are in balance. These concepts - courage, consideration and confidence - are very personal/subjective. Individuals know whether or not their self-confidence is true & pure. And, they know when their self-confidence is ego-speak...not so true or pure, when tested by their conscience and monitoring their feelings...[or when subjected to objective 3rd party testing such as stress studies].

Perhaps, you care about being courageous - perhaps, you see courage as an admirable character trait?

Perhaps, you want to be considerate of other people...perhaps, you see consideration as an admirable character trait?

Perhaps, you see value in possessing both these character traits and keeping them in balance.

If that's the case, work at building true & pure self-confidence.

[Consider the wisdom Napoleon Hill provided in 'Think and Grow Rich', (1937).]

Why can't you teach an old dog new tricks?

by Rick Baker
On Dec 8, 2015

Certainly, there must be some old dogs out there who can learn new tricks.

Maybe people have sold old dogs short, writing them off too quickly.

Or…

Maybe most old dogs have written off humans, for giving up too quickly.

Or...

Maybe, under too much domestication, old dogs have evolved to rely on humans to evolve better teaching of new tricks.

Or...

Maybe old dogs need to be hungrier in order to learn new tricks.

Regardless, I’m convinced some old dogs can learn new tricks.

 

PS: On top of all this, there's that admonition about 'Letting sleeping dogs lie". I cannot see how sleeping dogs can possibly be liars...I need to see some concrete evidence waking dogs are liars before I can accept the concept that sleeping dogs can be liars. Seems to me it is time to reconsider the value of all the ancient wisdom involving our canine friends.

What do you think about the "Law of Attraction"?

by Rick Baker
On Aug 13, 2015

Some people believe the Law of Attraction [is a, if not the, fundamental law of the Universe. The Law is often described in terms of Universal Mind or Universal Intelligence.  Many thoughtful people believe there is a fundamental/universal/spiritual law that permeates everything in the Universe, including the people on planet Earth. 

These people believe this law is pervasive - at the core of everything: it is a law of Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence. These people believe this law knows no boundaries:

  • It is all-powerful
  • It is all-knowing
  • It is everywhere

A number of proponents of this ‘fundamentalist’ Law of Attraction viewpoint have made claims about scientific verification where the human sub/unconscious 'mind' is the conduit between Universal Intelligence and (conscious) human thought.  In summary, they believe if we can control our conscious thought and direct it toward our long-term goals then after much repetition our subconscious mind will link with Universal Intelligence and deliver to us the things we think about. 

The Law of Attraction is a double-edged sword. If we think about the worthwhile things tied to our long-term goals then we receive those worthwhile things and achieve our long-term goals. Conversely, if we think fearful and worrisome thoughts then we attract and bring to ourselves those things we fear and worry about.  Integral to this viewpoint is the conclusion that Universal Intelligence has no filter and our thoughts are connected to unlimited consequences, both good and bad.

Three early 20th-Century examples:

 

 

Charles Haanel, American New-Thought Author and Philosopher (1866-1949)

Author of ‘The Master Key’ (circa 1917)

 


 

Napoleon Hill, American New-Thought and Personal-Success Author (1883-1970)

author of ‘The Law of Success’ (1925) and ‘Think and Grow Rich’ (1937)

 

  


Robert Collier, American New-Thought and Self-Help Author (1885-1950)

Author of ‘The Secret of the Ages’ (1926)

 

These early-20th Century authors believed strongly in the natural-state spiritual aspects of the Law of Attraction as described above…and to various degrees they believed the Law of Attraction was founded on scientific proof. These authors brought their religious beliefs to bear, some of their master works link the Law of Attraction to the teachings of Jesus as written the Christian Bible.

One highlight about each of those early-20th Century authors:

  • Charles Haanel presented a wonderful process for improving focus and concentration
  • Napoleon Hill served as U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s special assistant for many years, at $1/year…perhaps, Hill coined the ‘we have nothing to fear but fear itself’ message?
  • Robert Collier, from the famous Collier publishing family, believed the Law of Attraction could be called upon to overcome death

Other people, for example Esther Hicks [with the help of her husband Jerry and a multi-faceted supernatural entity she called ‘Abraham’], presented following-generation examples of Law of Attraction beliefs and messages.  

 

 

 

Esther Hicks, American Inspirational Author (1948- present)...with husband, Jerry

Author of ‘The Law of Attraction – The Teachings of Abraham’ (2007)

 

And, most-recently Deepak Chopra has expanded upon the scientific aspects by presenting physics-based explanations…information stored in waves...essentially saying that the vibrations of thought permeate the cosmos - omniscient, omnipresent and perhaps omnipotent.

 

 

Deepak Chopra, Indian-born, American Author (1947-present)

 

***

The Law of Attraction...I have read much about this...I have personal views...and I am very interested in other people's views.

The Law of Attraction...a feel-good thought or a Fundamental Universal Law?

  • What do you think?
  • Do you believe in the Law of Attraction?
  • If so, how do you define it?
  • Do you consider your Law of Attraction beliefs to be a solely spiritual [faith-based] or are they science-proven beliefs?

 

 

 

 

We do not have to fear fear itself!

by Rick Baker
On Jul 1, 2015

In his first inaugural address, in 1933, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Starting with this sort of thinking, FDR proceeded to take the series of planned actions that broke the back of the Great Depression, bringing vitality back to the U.S. economy and the economies of many nations around the world [including Canada’s economy].  

FDR was one of the most-influential leaders of the 20th Century. FDR understood people. FDR understood the power of positive thinking backed by decisive action.

While his words "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." have puzzled many people, FDR knew what he meant and when he took decisive actions in the form of 'fireside chats' about what to do with money & banking the American people quickly understood how to bring about positive change. FDR understood fear and he understood how fear could be mastered. 

Perhaps FDR thought along these lines...

Fear is a necessary part of life. It is not a ‘necessary evil’...it is not a burden we have to bear in order to have the opportunity to more fully appreciate the good parts of life. We should not look at fear in that sort of light.

Rather, we need to accept that fear contains value.

Yes - in excess fear can debilitate or craze, wreaking havoc. But, fears do not have to become excessive. We have the power and ability to make choices that limit and remove fear-damage.

The key is to face each fear and nip it in the bud, before it swells to excessive proportions/perceptions.

When faced and nipped in the bud, fear educates and serves as the catalyst that triggers courage. When faced over time, fear can be a vital part of the process for building self-confidence. Fear, properly faced and nipped in the bud, is the fundamental building block for strong character and influence.

Perhaps fear is a necessary precursor to, the essential ingredient for, true self-confidence. That seems to be an accurate description of one key role fear plays in our lives, the other key aspect being self-protection.

Fear protects.

Fear is at the roots of strength of character.

Really, considering the positive roles fear alone serves better than all other mindsets combined, we do not have to fear fear. We simple have to muster the conviction to work through our fears.

The key thing: we need to understand how fear affects our energy. Is it killing our energy? Is it kindling or sparking our energy? Shun the former. Embrace the latter.

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