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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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When troubles consume your thoughts, remember "Your tooth will cease aching if your house is afire..."

by Rick Baker
On Feb 27, 2021

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

"Your tooth will cease aching if your house is afire..." Frank Channing Haddock made that point in his 1910 classic, 'Power of Will'. 

Long before the medical sciences confirmed the concepts of neuroplasticity, people knew the awesome power & virtually unlimited possibilities available to the human mind. 

If emergencies can remove the pain of toothaches then properly trained minds can do the same thing.

Our minds have the ability to remove the 'negative feelings and thoughts' we encounter during day-to-day life.

Controlling the common littlenesses of human nature

by Rick Baker
On Aug 29, 2016

William MacDonald described Benjamin Franklin as a man who could control the common littleness of human nature1. It is clear MacDonald had tremendous respect for the special gifts Benjamin Franklin brought to Mankind, as a citizen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the United States of America…and the rest of the world.

When MacDonald talked of Franklin controlling the littlenesses of human nature, he was describing Franklin’s innate ability to understand the littlenesses housed in himself and other people and adjust himself in order to get around those littlenesses so he and others could accomplish great things. 

By the mid-1700’s, when he was less than 50 years old, Benjamin Franklin had become a worldwide phenomenon…a true polymath…a true leader of men…a true leader of thought...a leader in scientific thought...a true hero.

Franklin’s accomplishments are mind-boggling.

As examples:

By his early 20’s Franklin was a self-made business success.

By his late 40’s Franklin was recognized [worldwide] as a gifted scientist.

Between those milestones he had:

  • created a mastermind, gathering intelligent friends to philosophize, share ideas and create practical solutions to Philadelphia's problems [his Junto, also known as the Leather Apron Club]
  • created time-management/personal-organization tools and decision-making tools...his pioneer work in this area lives on in legacy, for example - 'Franklin Covey'
  • co-founded an early [if not America’s first] subscription library
  • co-founded an academy that became the University of Pennsylvania
  • led the community movement that funded the first paving of roads in Philadelphia
  • built an international printing empire by creating partnerships, funding & franchising a series of strategically-located print shops 
  • built a successful newspaper - the Pennsylvania Gazette 
  • created a bestseller – 'Poor Richard’s Almanack'
  • created Philadelphia’s first volunteer fire brigade
  • taught himself French, Italian and Spanish languages
  • served as Philadelphia's postmaster
  • invented the Franklin Stove, an energy-efficient heating system still in use today…then refused to patent it because he felt he had benefited from others’ inventions so others should benefit from his

Of course, Franklin was a well-respected civic and provincial politician…long before he became America’s political representative to other nations prior to, during, and after the American Revolution.

Yes – Franklin was one of the 56 who risked the gallows2 by signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

And, of course, Ben Franklin did that experiment with a storm, lightning, a kite and a key…and he invented the lighting rod and the best methods of installing it. This invention illustrated to the world that electricity could be controlled, to a degree, by Mankind. That illustration helped introduce a new era of scientific thought and experimentation that is still advancing today. And the lightning rod saved countless lives and reduced, on a world-wide basis, damage and loss of property caused by lighting fires.

On top of these things, Franklin was a commissioned Colonel who built a series of fortresses to protect Pennsylvanians from the French and Indian invasions in the mid-1700's, He personally led Pennsylvanians into battle against these invading forces...he led peace talks with the native Indians and, after the war had ended, he ensured the protection of peaceful Indians from unruly Pennsylvanian mobs.

Benjamin Franklin did much more than these things.

Here's another sampling...

Franklin left Boston at the age of 16, venturing out on his own to Philadelphia. He was a vegetarian during his teenage years. He understood the value of character and he practiced character-building ‘virtues’ throughout his life. This practice started when Franklin was about 20 years old. Somehow, he was wise well beyond his years. Somehow, he understood his ‘littlenesses of human nature’ and he committed to removing his own to full extent he could accomplish that goal. Benjamin Franklin worked on that throughout his life, for over 60 years. Franklin's desire to design and build his character along strict guidelines allowed him to control many, but not all, his ‘littlenesses’. He was candid about his shortcomings and he took a humble stance on his amazing accomplishments. 

Benjamin Franking is a man worth studying…and his practices - his good habits - are certainly worth emulating. 

It is never too late to start emulating heroes.



  1. 'The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin:  Now First Printed in England from the Full and Authentic Text', (1905)
  2. These are words Napoleon Hill used to describe the ‘founding fathers’ of what is now the U.S.A. 

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! 



About Napoleon Hill

by Rick Baker
On Jun 20, 2013

There are certain books I have read, which have done the things books are supposed to do…entertain me, educate me, inform me, etc. But, no book has caused as much of these things for me as Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic – THINK and GROW RICH.

Not only did this work have stand-alone value, but it also provided leads to other great works, which in turn do the things books are supposed to do and provide new leads.

In his various works, which I have read, Napoleon Hill writes about an impressive list of business and world leaders and role models. These leads can be followed. And, when that is done a number of pieces of ‘hero worship’ can fall into place in your puzzle of life.

I strongly encourage ‘hero worship’…I don’t mean fanatical hero worship, or anything like that. I don’t even mean worship. These special folks are not gods…however, they are special among Men. They are special, because they were not part of the ‘mob’. Due to that fact alone, they deserve some study. As we all do, they exhibited character and also character flaws. But, their character flaws took the back seat to their winning character attributes.

Napoleon Hill introduced his readers to the bright side of life and the bright side of business riches. It is an easy step to say he also introduced his readers to the bright side of Sales. He talked and wrote about many successful entrepreneurs and many successful Sales people.

And, he always approached it from the bright side. There is no question, Napoleon Hill experienced some of the darker things in life: ignorance and poverty, the Crash of ’29, the Great Depression, and the two World Wars.

Yet he wrote about life and business in a most-positive, optimistic way.

He hero-worshipped Emerson.

And, Napoleon Hill hero-worshipped many others – Napoleon, Lincoln, Ford…and many others.

Strength in admiration...


Book Reviews | Hero Worship | Leaders' Thoughts

2 Simple Tools: 1 for Thinking, 1 for Action....both for Communicating.

by Rick Baker
On May 10, 2013

Edward de Bono is one of my heroes. In my opinion, he is the world's greatest creative thinking educator.

I have written about Edward de Bono and his 'Six Thinking Hats'...'Six Thinking Hats' is an extremely helpful tool for sorting out your thinking and for communicating with others about thinking.

Here's a picture-summary:

Edward de Bono's 'Six Thinking Hats'



I have a de Bono section in my library. My goal is to collect and red all his books. That's a challenge because he has been prolific, writing well over 50 books. I have just completed reading de Bono's 'Six Action Shoes', (1991). 'Six Action Shoes' is an extremely helpful tool for sorting out your actions and for communicating with others about actions.

Here's a picture-summary:

Edward de Bono's 'Six Action Shoes'

These thinking and action tools provide excellent ways to Seek Simple....a Spirited Leaders' philosophy. When thinking can be summarized in 6 ways...that's seeking simple. When action can be summarized in 6 ways...that's seeking simple. And, that's why Edward de Bono is so amazing. He has been able to unleash his genius [and help others do the same] because he is the master in simplifying before choosing how to think, simplifying before choosing how to act, and knowing when and how to be creative. In other books, he illustrates exactly how to be creative. [Our recent thought post 'Taking Curiosity to Creativity' contains de Bono's signature contribution - lateral thinking.]

Now, Seek Simple is one of Spirited Leaders' core philosophies...another is:

Business Contains Only 3 Things: People, Process, & Situations

Much has been posted about People, Process, & Situations.

Now we will show how Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats and Six Action Shoes can be incorporated.

Business Contains Only 3 Things: People, Process, & Situations. 

Here's the picture...

A snapshot in time during your business day - that's what we mean by Situations. That snapshot will contain people [at least 1, you] and it will contain process [at least 1, your thinking]. Process either involves People or machines/mechanisms/tools [designed by People]. For the time being, let's concentrate on the Processes performed by People. There are only 2 types of Processes performed by People: Thinking and Action. If we embrace de Bono's tools, the Processes performed by People have 12 components: 6 ways of thinking and 6 ways of taking action.

In any Situation, People can decide which of the 12 things they will perform.

Here's the picture...


Those are good questions to ask!

[That's Seeking Simple and finding it.]

[That makes for one very Good Habit.]

Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.