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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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A thin skull allows important stuff to get in easier.

by Rick Baker
On Jun 4, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Mistakes bang into and bounce off thick skulls.

This annoys Mistakes because their role is teaching lessons.

The problem is: When thick skulls won't let them in Mistakes cannot teach lessons to thick-skulled brains.

So Mistakes keep coming back, knocking on thick skulls over and over and over again.

While Mistakes are born to be great teachers, over time they tend to develop an uppity attitude and a nasty sense of humour. Even when they've given up on teaching well-concealed brains Mistakes have no desire to stop knocking on the thick skulls that house those brains.

The key foresight point is: We can count on Mistakes to come back over and over again to knock on our skulls if we keep them thick.

The bottom line is: As long as our skulls remain thick we will never have the opportunity to learn the lessons taught by Mistakes.

 

Give yourself injections of that oxymoron, Constructive Criticism

by Rick Baker
On Jun 2, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Create a Do It Yourself Hormesis Program, aimed at thickening your skin and building your tolerance for other people's shortcomings. 

CAUTION: If you are like most people then your initial tolerance for criticism will be unbelievably low...so start with very low doses of self-criticism. And, build the doses up slowly over time...until you are able to face your screaming vein-bulging face in the mirror. 

Criticism, Adrenalin Spikes & Improving Relationships

by Rick Baker
On May 15, 2017

Some people naturally repulse criticism. These people may show outward signs of their repulsion. These people may not show outward signs, or their repulsion may hide so well it would take a professional observer to notice it. Regardless, internally, these people churn in reaction to criticism. For these people - even small, innocuous pieces of feedback can trigger intense internal reactions, floods of adrenalin – adrenalin spikes.

  1. Do you know people who show vehement reaction to tiny criticisms…people who have zero tolerance for incoming criticism?
  2. Do you know people who, at first, show no outward reaction to criticism then, later, strike excessive reactionary blows against the person who delivered the criticism?
  3. Do you know people who have the habit of claiming they are the victim of undue criticism?
  4. Do you know people who repulse criticism yet deliver it to others with gusto and righteousness?

These are four common reactions to criticism.

I have personally exhibited at least three of these four reactions to criticism…and, probably, many people would think I’m selling myself short by not admitting to all four.

Why?

Why would I have had such reactions to criticism?

Not having much knowledge of physiology or biology and only dabbling experience with psychology I answer that question this way:

  • When people criticized me, I experienced adrenalin spikes [or was that cortisol?]. I felt strong, churning, tightening sensations in the gut…quickly followed by combinations of anxiety and anger, often intense anger...then excessive negative thoughts and behaviour.
  • This reaction must have started when I was a very young child. I have no memory of reacting any other way to criticism [until the last decade, that is].
  • Perhaps, my criticism-repulsion was are due to genetics? Perhaps, my childhood environment? Perhaps, my early experiences with authority figures? I expect it was some combination of these things.

Here’s a curious thing. When you experience criticism-repulsion as a child you can be quite oblivious to other people. And, this can cause challenges…a large variety of interpersonal challenges. Left unattended, these interpersonal challenges can last a lifetime.

Here’s some good news. It is possible to gain self-understanding and create strategies to overcome the interpersonal challenges. The starting point, or at least one starting point, is recognition of the physiological changes that signal less-than-ideal reactions to criticism. People, perhaps most people, can alter their bad habits [including adrenalin spikes] if they choose to make the changes and do the work required.

 

PS: Perhaps, the people who experience the criticism-repulsion I have described are most capable of identifying it in other people? ... and helping others?  

Conflict at our offices: is it a foe or a friend?

by Rick Baker
On May 8, 2017

I have experienced some synchronicity around this topic...I have witnessed several unrelated instances...some people have complained about the interpersonal damages done by office conflict while others have applauded the value office conflicts have injected into innovative and creative processes. 

Business empires have been built around office conflicts and 'crucial conversations'. In some cases the empires are bestselling books, must-do and how-to manuals aimed at teaching people how to diffuse, reduce, remove office conflicts. At the other end of the spectrum, we have a touted genius-of-our-time and an empire formed around the legacy of a partially-eaten apple. 

And, interpersonal conflicts create huge challenges in family businesses: parent-child rifts, sibling rivalry, family distrusts. When these entrenchments exist it is easy to determine the cause/fault. It always rests with the other guy! 

On the other hand, according to some experts, strongly-expressed differences of opinion lead to creative breakthroughs. Thick-skinned people locking horns in boardrooms and other meeting rooms...generating many diverse ideas...reaching a single decision...enjoying consensus...working in unison...achieving desired goals. 

Radically different views about Office Conflicts!

What's your personal comfort zone?

Your comfort zone: that's the key area...

What's your personal comfort zone?

  1. How far are you prepared to stretch your comfort zone to accommodate other people's viewpoints? 
  2. How open are you to accept different styles of communication when other people express their viewpoints?
  3. How clearly do you communicate your personal values and rules?

Put another way:

  1. Are you open to 'possibilities and 'new things'?
  2. Are you open to different personalities and communication styles?
  3. Do you know and share these important aspects of your character...telling stories to explain why you are the way you are?
As the ancient Greek maxim goes - "Know Thyself".

When you know yourself and know how to share important aspects of yourself with others you have the opportunity to be part of teams that excel at communication.
 
Internally - These successful teams may operate in friendly ways or in not-so-friendly ways.
Externally - These successful teams will present a unified front.
From Your Perspective - These successful teams will be inspiring, productive and gratifying.

Some ancient wisdom for Success: Have bone in back, not bone in head.

by Rick Baker
On May 3, 2017

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.

Where are you coming from? & Where are you trying to go?

by Rick Baker
On Apr 19, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Do people have thick enough skin to ask these questions?

Do people have thick enough skin to answer them?

It seems to me...if people set aside assumptions and conclusions long enough to ask and answer these two questions communication would find itself in much better condition.

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