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November 2003

14 tips to a happier life

-Karthik Gurumurthy

1) Endeavor to change the way you look at things. Always look at the bright side. The mind may drag you to think about negativity and difficulties. Don't let it. Look at the good side of every situation.

2) Think of solutions, not problems.

3) Listen to self-improvement CDs where you can identify your blindspots.

4) Each day devote about half-an hour and 1 hour reading some self improvement book which changes your default setting in your mind.

5) Watch your thoughts. Whenever you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, stop them, and try to think of pleasant things.

6) Always look at what you have done and not at what you haven't. Sometimes you start a day planning to do several things. At the end of the day you feel frustrated that you haven't been able to do all of those things, and you become unhappy.Instead do something about how can prioritize things in such a way that you become more efficient in finishing things that are most important for you.

Look at what you have done, not at what you have not been able to do. You may have accomplished a lot during the day, and yet you let yourself become frustrated because of some small things that you did not do. You have spent all day carrying out successfully many plans, and instead of being happy and satisfied you look at what was not done and you feel unhappy. It is unfair towards yourself.

7) Each day do at least one thing to make others happy. This can be a kind word, helping your colleagues, stopping your car at the crossroad to let people cross, giving your seat in a bus to someone else, or giving a small present to someone you love. The possibilities are infinite. When you make someone happy, you become happy.

8) Always make a decision to be happy throughout.

9) Do not envy people who are happy. On the contrary, be happy for their happiness.

10) Be where happy people are and try to learn from them to be happy. Remember, happiness is contagious.

11) When things do not proceed as intended and desired, do your best to stay detached. Detachment will help you to stay calm and control your moods and reactions. Detachment is not indifference. It is a completely different thing. Detachment has much to do with inner peace, and inner peace is conductive to happiness.

14) Smile more often.

Pay it forward

-Karthik Gurumurthy

When hardship hits most people instinctively react with “what will happen to me? My family? My stock?” Our first instinct is to pull in, protect, and preserve our domains. It’s human nature. However, if we act only upon this line of thinking we end up following fear down an extremely narrow street, setting limitations on our lives.

In the new world we live in, the leaders who put people before profit will have the greatest impact. Those who believe in caring for the people first will win. Life has a very fair accounting system. Your return equals your investment. As much as it flies in the face of instinct, the difficult times are the exact times to be generous. Be generous with your time. Give away your gifts. Be philanthropic with your attention.  Now is the time to pay it forward – to reinvest those acts of kindness done for you back into the social accounting system.


Here’s your opportunity for impact:
1. Look around, who needs a hand? It might be a teammate, peer or a customer. Show some real leadership.

2. What action can you take immediately to influence their situation? What would make a difference? A coffee and a heart to heart talk. The afternoon off. A hand written note. Money in their parking meter.

3. Remember small acts carry deep meaning. Paying it forward only needs to cost you creativity and good will. The monetary value is not the point.

Paying it forward is an invaluable investment hiding in plain sight.  Look for your daily opportunity for impact.


Be Grateful

-Karthik Gurumurthy

*The qualification that gave you a job, is the same qualification someone has who still does not have a job. Be grateful.* 

*The prayer that God answered for you, is the same prayer others have been praying but without success. Be grateful.*

*The road you use safely on a daily basis, is the same road where many others lost their precious lives. Be grateful.*

*The house of worship in which God blessed you, is the same house other people too worship in, yet their lives are still in discord. Be grateful.*

*The bed you used in the hospital, you got healed and were discharged, is the same bed many other people breathed their last. Be grateful.*

*The rain that made your field produce good crops, is the same rain that devastated someone else's field. Be grateful.*

*Be grateful because whatever you have is not by your power, your might, your talent or your qualifications, but it's just the "Grace of God." HE is the giver of everything you have.*

*For everything you have, be grateful.*🙏

Defining your expectations

-Karthik Gurumurthy

People will sometimes try to define your expectations and say what you can do and what you can't do. I was smart enough to figure out that you set your own expectations in life. There are times when you don't feel  real well and things aren't going your way. You have got to get the work done. You have got to keep going and persevere.


-Karthik Gurumurthy

The best advice I ever got was from my Uncle (LM Krishnan Athimber). He was the first South Indian to study and graduate from prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). I always used  to stop by at his place once a week while I am biking home. He said one time, "Karthik , whenever you get into a conversation with people and they ask you a question, don't just respond back what you have in mind, pause, digest it for a while, then come out with a statement. This way you can give a better evaluation of what they're asking, " And I listened to that."

Focus on the process

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I am thoroughly enjoying the book written by legendary coach John Wooden.  He never talked about winning. He always talked about the process. 

"If you practice well every day and give a great effort, it's the daily, minute-by-minute acts that lead to performing well."

Integrity and being virtuous

-Karthik Gurumurthy

What do you mean when they say you have integrity. Integrity means you are telling the truth. Integrity means you are keeping one's promises. Integrity means taking responsibility for one's behavior.

I want to be virtuous person..According to George Washington Carver,  A virtuous person is

  • is clean both inside and outside.
  • Neither looks up to the rich or down on the poor.
  • Loses, if need be, without squealing.
  • Wins without bragging.
  • Is always considerate of women, children and old people.
  • Is too brave to lie.
  • Is too generous to cheat.
  • Takes his share of the world and lets other people have theirs.


-Karthik Gurumurthy

Certain incidents make us so tense.. our blood vessels reach a bursting point because of them.

Many a time, we get tense due to trivial things. Here is an example: A professor moved to another University. His colleagues went to see him off at the railway station. They were so engrossed in talking, that they did not see the train moving. Suddenly flustered, they decided to jump into the train.. Their idea was to move into the correct compartment in the next station. But the Professor who was supposed to be in the train was still holding his luggage in his hands and was unable to board the train. A passer-by consoled him saying, “Don’t worry! In the next ten minutes another train will come”.The professor replied, “My colleagues came to see me off; but they have all boarded the train by mistake!” When we are agitated, no matter how hard we work to accomplish some task, the net result would just be zero, as it blinds our minds on several occasions.

A King wished to appoint a Minister for his Kingdom. His court had four men with the same qualifications required for the post. Therefore the king decided to conduct a test them for the post. One day, he called all four of them and said, “I have a lock. It is a scientific lock, made according to mathematical calculations. Tomorrow morning all of you would be given a chance to open this lock. The person who succeeds in opening this lock within the shortest time will become the Minister of this kingdom”.

The men sat up the whole night, browsing ancient writings regarding locks, mathematical designing etc., and made notes. Only one amongst them looked at a few palm leaves and then went to bed.

The next day, in the king’s court, the mathematical lock was brought and placed in front of the four men. The men came up, one by one, and looked at the lock. They started referring to their notes about the locks and tried to open the lock. The one who had gone to sleep early was the last one to come.

He just came near the lock and inspected it thoroughly. To his surprise, he found the lock was not locked at all! So, without even using a key, this man opened the lock easily by removing the hook. The king appointed him as the Minister. The three others in the anxiety to open the lock did not bother to check whether the lock was locked, in the first place.

To solve a problem, one must first understand the problem. To understand the problem, the mind should be calm, without tension or agitation.

Self Discipline

Study anyone who has achieved a measure of greatness, from the CEOs and entrepreneurs who have built wildly successful businesses to the best mothers, fathers, teachers and poets and you will be studying discipline in motion. Discipline is the cornerstone of self-mastery. Bhagavad-Gita says: "without discipline he has no understanding of inner-power; without inner-power, he has no peace; and without peace, where is joy?

Self- discipline is a fundamental virtue to inner-power. Discipline is the source, the wellspring that lets you live the life that you deserve. You must strengthen your inner core if you are truly dedicated to manifesting your highest potential for personal and professional success. With discipline, you will possess the inner fire needed to focus on your primary goals and realize your dreams.

The Real Secret of Discipline

I define discipline as the virtue that gives you the courage and the inner resolve to do what you said you would do - when you said you would do it. Discipline is all about promise keeping. I am not talking only about those promises you have made to others such as your promise to your wife about the vacations that you will be taking hero or your promise to your boss that you will become a better worker, for example. I am also talking about the promises that you make to yourself; those small daily resolutions ranging from the promise to read thirty minutes a day to a personal commitment you have made to raise the standards of your work at the office.

Discipline means that you take time away from the little emergencies which seem to eat up your day to kindle the fire of self-mastery. Discipline means that you get up early to go for a run on a freezing winter's day because you made this one of your personal mastery milestones and you are dedicated to raising the level of your physical fitness. Discipline means that you refuse an invitation to go out to a party on Saturday night because you had planned to review your goals and refine your purpose statement and think deeply about where your personal, professional and spiritual life is going. Discipline is having the power to turn off the TV and go into your study to read some of those books that you know will truly improve your effectiveness. Discipline is having the bravery and the inner-strength to stop giving so much time to the unimportant things in your life and to start directing your energy to those high-impact activities which will truly make a measurable difference in the richness of your life.

Integrating the habit of discipline into your days takes effort, willpower and courage. Having the discipline to follow through on the life goals you have set for yourself and living the kind of life you have imagined in your mind's eye is a very brave way to live. It is a very noble way to live. It is also a very liberating way to live because you have become the master of your own life. You begin to take control of your destiny. It's the source of great enlightenment. You set your course and then you have the resolve to follow it. And this also leads to tremendous amounts of confidence because you realize that you alone are the influencer of your life and if you don't like what you see, you can change it. You shape your circumstances rather than letting them shape you. You become the master of your life rather than letting life master you.

Building Discipline

How do you build self-discipline? The principle can be stated in nine words: put off short term gratification for long term satisfaction. You build discipline by sacrificing what is easy to do for what is right to do. When you put off doing what is impulsive, those things that simply feel good in the moment but offer no long-term benefits and start doing what your heart tells you is good, you start to build discipline. When you do the things you don't like to do but know you should do, you build discipline. This is the seed of greatness. I would like quote H.P. Liddon's words: "What we do upon some great occasion will probably depend on what we already are; and what we already are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline."

The top performers on the playing fields of business and life continuously raise their standards. They realize they are bound for glory and destined to actualize the full extent of their personal genius. So they have done their inner work and are focused on achieving personal excellence. They know that they are here for a life of meaning and action. Leaders have the wisdom to understand that self-mastery comes one day at a time. And the days slip into weeks. And the weeks into months. And a time comes when those small, daily improvements in their discipline levels have created extraordinary results in life quality.

3 Lessons For Creating Self Discipline

1. Finish What You Start

As a Professional with many competing demands on our time, it is essential that we, at all times, have the strength of will to follow the daily plan I have set for ourself and concentrate only on those pursuits which are central to my mission. To cultivate the kind of discipline required to be able to do this, a philosophy that I apply in my own life is to finish what I start. This simple practice is enormously effective because, in practicing it, you are no longer a slave to your weaker impulses which silently prod you to take the path of least resistance and quit before your goal is reached, no matter how small that goal may be. Instead, you are in full control of your self and use your inner power to accomplish worthy ends, whether this means completing a hot new book on creativity, learning a new language or growing a dynamic business.

2. Be Silent

The Buddhist monks have a favorite strategy to build willpower - one that has been used by many cultures over the years to build enormous amounts of inner-strength and resolve. It is the vow of silence. You might wonder how would staying quiet for days on end build willpower? It is because you are exerting force on your will. You are not giving into the impulse telling you to talk. You made a promise and set a goal that you would be silent for a few hours or maybe even a full day and then you had the courage to keep this promise. And this courage and capacity quickly spills over into every other areas of your life. Following through on this small goal builds your capacity to follow through on larger goals like managing your time more efficiently or building richer relationships or mastering your physical endowments. Speaking your goals is important..but having the resolve to be silent is equally important.

3. Get Up Early

Early rising is one of the key life habits of so many of the highly successful people I have studied from Ted Turner to Nelson Mandela. In my own life, I've now trained myself to get up around 6 am since I have found that rising at this time allows me the time I need to write peacefully and think deeply Without a doubt, it's one of the best things I do for myself. But I earned the rewards that I have received from getting up early. I wasn't always an early riser. Yet, the more I studied the lives of the people who were truly creating happier, healthier and more meaningful lives than others, the more I realized the value of getting up early. And the more I exercised the power of my will and got up from a warm bed to do what I had promised myself I would do, the stronger it became.

Above all else, however, the real key is to appreciate that discipline in your outer world comes from a disciplined inner-world. And a disciplined innerworld comes from thinking correct, inspiring, disciplined and enlightened thoughts. Your thoughts form your world. Life management begins with mind management. And as you exercise your character power to build self-discipline, meditate on these words of Emerson: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our ability to do has increased."

Getting out of comfort zone

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek- "

-Joseph Campbell

I came across this quote recently and I found it profound.

For many years, I failed to take many actions because of the fear of what might go wrong. I made what I considered "safe choices" and was less daring. I couldn't afford to take certain risks. But as each year passed, I learnt more about how my fears have been a limiting factor. Something had to change.

I started to demand more from myself. I learnt how to master my fears and act on the opportunities that came my way.

It has been a transformative experience..I am still not where I wanted to be but I am happy that I took the first step. It is a constant battle of being complacent vs. moving out of the comfort zone but action cures fear. Let us take one step at a time.

Success is the journey

-Karthik Gurumurthy

My definition of success is truly based on the level of satisfaction I get at what I do. The level of satisfaction I get from setting goals and achieving them, and setting goals and seeing the progress, setting goals and stumbling sometimes, but have to reevaluate or restructure goals. Success is always measured in my journey. It is staying true to yourself. Defining who you are. Living to your higher power, encouraging and empowering other people to do the same.

Happy Birthday

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today is a special day as it happens to be the birthdays of lot of people close to me. To start off, it is my aunt Kalyani Athai's Birthday. She is one of the kindest people I know of. She named me Karthik.  Happy Birthday Athai. 

One of my best friends is Susi. I have known him from Kindergarten. He has always been there  for me and am thankful every single day, I am blessed with an amazing friend Susi. Susi lives in Wales and today is Susi's wife Anu's birthday.  

Today is also my niece Sangita's birthday. She is six years old and lives in Scottsdale.  I have known her from the time she was born.

My prayers for long life for all these folks who are celebrating their Birthdays today.


-Karthik Gurumurthy

First of all- you have to define your definition of success. Success to me is having accomplished something, then going and accomplishing something else, and then when you do that, you accomplish something else. But each time you try to have more success, you go to zones of life that people only dream of.  There is always going to be somebody who thinks that you could do it better or differently.

Success is continued success, meaning along the way you're gonna have ups and downs, but over time, the pendulum keeps going up and up and up.  I think it is finding happiness and how many people you impact positively along the way. How many people you can leave your impression on. To me, that's a successful person-someone who can be part of someone else's development, is happy with what they are doing, and have a passion for what they are doing.  Success is the satisfaction of knowing that I have been prepared. I have done absolutely everything I could do that is in my control to be prepared.

Fear and Faith cannot co-exist

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Most often than not, our lives are wasted in fear! In order to drive away darkness from his house, a foolish person was found carrying out bucket loads of darkness and emptying them. Despite the many years he spent in this task, it was futile. His preoccupation with driving out darkness took him nowhere. Darkness is the absence of light. If only he had attempted to light a small lamp, darkness would have disappeared!

Fear is also similar to darkness. Absence of faith is fear! Once you have more faith, fear would disappear. If a man and woman do not have trust in each other, there can be no love or affection between them. Reflect on an incident in the life of Mullah Nasruddin, a character in Sufi literature.

Mullah Nasruddin was married just that morning. The same night, he and his wife were travelling in a boat across a river, along with their relatives. A sudden storm broke out and the river was turbulent. The boat rocked wildly. Everyone in the boat, including the bride, was in mortal fear. But Mullah remained calm.

The bride noticed this and asked in surprise, “Aren’t you afraid?” Mullah, without replying, took out the dagger from his waistband and raised it as though he was going to slit her throat.

There was no reaction on her face. He asked, “Are you not afraid of the dagger?” and she said, “The dagger may be dangerous, but the person who is holding it, is my loving husband.

So I am not afraid”. “Exactly!” exclaimed Mullah, “These waves may be dangerous but Allah who is moving them is full of love. So I am not afraid”! Mullah Nasruddin had faith in Allah. Hence, he was loving and compassionate. Without faith in God, he would have been devoid of love and compassion.

Some go from one astrologer to another with their horoscopes to find out when death would strike them. As far as they are concerned, their horoscopes are “horrorscopes.” Such people are more afraid of when they would die rather than what they would do while being alive! This fear would devastate them both mentally and physically!

Character of a leader

-Karthik Gurumurthy


I was reading this amazing book "21 indispensable qualities of a leader" by John Maxwell. One chapter a day really makes you a leader if you follow that chapter & implement it. It begins with chapter 1 as character. He talks about a guy who manufactured small planes & successfully sold over 50 planes to companies. In that 50 planes he sold to, couple of planes crashed! So he asked every customer of his to ground their planes till they fix the problem.. After 2 years of investigation & zero business, he simulates the case where the planes could crash.. Now to try this he himself takes the flight & nearly crashes before he manages to escape & ground the plane. This is what the author calls as character.. He risked his life to make sure his customers are safe. That is really a test of character!

Your goals

-Karthik Gurumurthy

There’s never a good time to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish in life. We have busy lives, and even when we’re not busy, we might just feel more like vegging in front of the TV or checking our feeds than thinking about the rest of our lives.

Do it today, if you haven’t yet. It could take as little as 10 or 20 minutes, and it could make all the difference in the world.

And it’s not that hard. You probably already have a good idea of what you want to do, but you may not have it written down. Or maybe you’ve done this exercise before, but you haven’t updated your goals for awhile. Now’s the time to do it.

1. How to start? First, think about what you’d like people to say about you at your funeral. This comes from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — the habit called “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s also very effective. Imagine you are at the end of your life, looking back. What would you like to have accomplished? What kind of person would you like to have been?

Now here’s the key: start living your life so that you will eventually get to that point.

2. Now that you’ve given that a little thought, jot down some ideas for life goals you’d like to achieve before you die.

They can be in many areas, but here are a few to start with: professional, education, family, spiritual, travel, recreation, hobbies, community, charity. You can probably think of more, and you don’t need to have goals in all of these areas. Just some topics to get you started.

3. Refine your list, or expand it. After your initial brainstorm, you may want to trim it down. But you may also want to expand: sometimes it’s fun, and worthwhile, to dream big.

4. Now break it down. What should you accomplish in the next 10 years for each of these goals? How about 5 years? How about two years? One year? And this month?

Once you’ve planned out each goal for 10-year, 5-year, 2-year, 1-year and 1-month periods, you’ve got yourself a pretty solid plan.

5. Take action! I like to take my monthly goals, and make a to-do list for this week. What can I do today to further my goals? And if I can get just one thing done, I’ve done a lot to make those dreams a reality!

Take a step towards your dreams today by writing them down, and making a plan.

8 vital steps towards your goals

-Karthik Gurumurthy


Visualize. One of the most timeless laws of success holds that all things are created twice: first on the picture screen of one’s imagination and then in reality. Those people that create rich, fulfilling lives regularly flex their imaginations and visualize a better future. By constantly holding that vision in their mind’s eye and taking action to make it a reality, they overcome their circumstances and create the life of their dreams.

Create a “Success Mastermind”. Just as five fingers can achieve more than one, getting together with a group of like minded achievers and pooling your knowledge and success strategies will bring you to your goals much faster. Set a time every week and meet with your success mastermind. Share your goals and dreams. Support each other. Encourage each other. Celebrate even the smallest of successes as you advance confidently towards a better life.

Love Failure. Failure is the highway to success. Every successful person has faced endless failures and encountered adversity. However, rather than giving up and moving on to another easier pursuit, they persisted. They believed in themselves and in the importance of what they were doing. They had the wisdom to know that failure is an essential teacher. From failure, we grow wise. Failure teaches us how to win. Without failure, there would be no success.

Get a Coach. The Law of Duplication says that if you do the same things that someone else did, in the same way that they did them, you are certain to get the same results in your life. Whether you are trying to build a great business or grow a great family, get a mentor. Find someone who has been there, done that.” Why reinvent the wheel? Use your mentors’ own experiences to shorten your learning curve. Learn from their mistakes and let their pasts serve you. On top on this, you can read self-improvement books wherein you learn more about yourself and you build the muscle of mental toughness to achieve the success you are shooting for.

Play the Numbers. Success is a numbers game. Smart salespeople will tell you that the average sale is closed on the fifth try and yet most people give up after the first. Similarly, the more times you try to succeed, the closer you get to success. The more times you ask for something, the greater the probability that you will get it. Take more chances, seize more opportunities and take more action. Just as the farmer who plants more seeds reaps a richer harvest, you will attract much more success into your own life.

Work Hard. Successful people will tell you that the harder they work, the luckier they get. In this age of the quick fix, where people buy creams to slim their thighs and pop pills to lose weight, one timeless truth remains, hard work always produces its just rewards. No undertaking can ever be successful without patience and hard work. Have the character strength to put in the effort required to reach your dreams. Remember, the harder you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you.

Have Written Goals. Goals that are not written down are impotent. By writing out your goals, they become embedded on your subconscious mind and crystallized in your consciousness. Write out your goals on 3X5 cards and post them next to your bed, on your bathroom mirror, on the dashboard in your car and next to your computer at the office. Never lose sight of your goals. Never let the busyness of the everyday allow you to forget about your life goals. By thinking about them constantly and acting on them daily, you will steadily create the brilliant life you know in your heart you deserve.

Master Your Moods. Just as you are not your thoughts, you are not your moods. Effective people don’t let their moods get in the way of their progress. If they feel tired, they keep on working. If they feel disappointed, they laugh it off and keep chasing the dream. If they grow fearful, they act on their fear. By overcoming their moods, the liberate their inner power and grow stronger by the day.

Character Power

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Without self-mastery he has no understanding of inner power; without inner power, he has no peace; and without peace, where is joy?"

-Bhagavad Gita

Your character is who you are in the dark. It is your personal guidance system, your inner core of wisdom that is the governor which determines the heights to which you will rise on your upward path to self-mastery. The difference between peak performers and weak performers often comes down to character power. Cultivating a strong, disciplined, integrated character is the surest way to high-performance and a life rich with energy, achievement and satisfaction. Enlightened, fully-functioning individuals are led by their consciences rather than by the puppet strings of societal pressure. They place a premium on acting according to their own values and their deepest sense of what is right. They have kindled the courage to run their own races and never get swept up into the whirlpool of other peoples' expectations of them. "No man is free who is not a master of himself," said Epictetus.

Effective performers realize that life is too short to get caught up in the current of popular opinion. Instead, they lead their days in a very simple, clear and powerful way. They have taken the time to discover their life's purpose and focus their attention on this high-impact pursuit. This focus fills their lives with excitement, meaning and contentment. Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" says it all:

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I-
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference "

Start running your own race. Do the things that are most meaningful to you. Align what you do in your day with where you want to be at the end of your life. Be guided by the milestones and goals which will advance you along the path of your burning desire and your destiny. This is the way to happiness and personal and spiritual satisfaction. A character rich with integrity, courage and discipline is the bedrock of lifelong success.

Four essential pillars

There are 4 primary pillars or virtues that will liberate your character power and allow you to live by the blazing lighthouse of your conscience. By refining and polishing these human gifts, you will notice that you easily achieve your milestones and goals. You will be flooded by a remarkable sense of confidence, peace and strength and see balance returning to your life. These 4 timeless virtues lead to personal mastery and put you on the express train to enlightenment. Best of all, anyone can cultivate them through daily practice and reflection. As always, success on the outside begins within.

A. Integrity

Ben Franklin, Jonas Salk, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela are all models of integrity. These are individuals who exercised the bravery and strength of character to walk their talk. They acted on what their hearts told them was right and just and good rather than simply following the herd and doing that which was socially pleasing. Each one of these individuals, who raised their lives from the ordinary into the realm of the extraordinary through their efforts, lived under a higher standard, a strict moral code. And they never moved off this course.

Integrity is all about wholeness. I would like to use the example of Mahatma Gandhi when speaking of courage and self-leadership. His wisdom is enduring and his life is a beautiful tribute to the best within each of us. "One cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole."-Mahatma Gandhi. This is the essence of integrity and an integrated life: making sure that you consistently do what your conscience tells you is correct not just in one department, but in all departments of your life. Life truly is one indivisible whole. The different areas of your life are like rivers flowing together to form an ocean. The emotional influences the physical and together they influence the social and together these affect the spiritual elements of your world. Neglecting any department of your life whether this means relationship neglect or physical neglect or spiritual neglect, profoundly touches all of the other areas. Raise each to its highest level of functioning, however, and you create a highly satisfying, enlightened, fully integrated life.

2. Imagination

According to the timeless wisdom of the sages, the second virtue of the person of strong character is an abundant and vivid imagination. All high achieving, spiritually fulfilled people live from their imaginations and are inspired by their visions for the future. They are servants only to what they dream and have shed the shackles of their history. They are the architects of their futures rather than the prisoners of their pasts. Remember, you are far more than the sum of your current circumstances. It is not what you are that is holding you back-it is what you think you are not.

Napoleon Hill said: "Cherish your vision and your dreams as they are the children of your soul- the blueprints of your ultimate achievement." Study the lives of Edison, Onassis or Ella Fitzgerald and you will be studying models of creative thinking and big dreaming. They realized that the imagination knows no bounds and when you paint empowering pictures across it of the life your are dedicated to building, you set unseen forces into play which steadily manifest your vision into reality.

3. Compassion & Contribution

One of the most important of all the timeless principles for character mastery can be simply stated: the richness of your life can be measured by the richness of your service. He who serves the best profits the most, not just materially but emotionally and perhaps more importantly, spiritually. The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

If you want to quickly improve your own life, start taking immediate action to improve the lives of others. The universe is in a dynamic state of flow. When you give out compassion, it flows back to you in a river. This is one of the oldest laws of nature: as you give so shall you receive. As the Chinese philosophers have said "a little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses." Practice daily acts of kindness and respect. Give to charity. Connect with your humanity. Spend a weekly period giving something back to your community and awaken your mind to ways of assisting those in need. Create what I call a "service inventory" of 52 acts of selfless service that you will perform over the next 12 months and plan to perform one every week. The results in terms of your levels of happiness, energy and fulfillment will be remarkable.

4. Disciplined Effort

Media visionary Ted Turner was asked the secret of his extraordinary success. He replied: "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise." One of the shared traits of the most effective, productive and high-achieving individuals is their understanding of the paramount importance of hard work in advancing their dreams. Without hard work, your vision for the future is impotent.

Thomas Edison worked 18 hour days even after he became a millionaire. Bill Gates still works 6 days a week even though he is a multi-billionaire. Mother Theresa got up at 5 every morning to advance her good work for the disadvantaged. Why? Because they love what they do. They have found their life's purpose and by acting on it each day, they advance it. They are doing what they were meant to do and this gives their days-and their lives-an immense sense of meaning, energy and direction.

In this complex age where too many people face too much stress and strain, some people are sick of work. This is simply because they have not done their inner work and discovered a pursuit that is right for them, work which beautifully blends their unique talents and brilliance with a worthy objective. Once you take the time to find your life's aim, things will never be the same. You will be filled with a flaming sense of desire and hope for the future. You will be flooded with power and enthusiasm. You will look forward to getting out of bed every morning to advance your life's work and doing what your heart is telling you to do. And you will enjoy working hard because it will not be work at all.

How is life coming along?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

When asked: “How is life?,” many of us say: “It is not too bad, or hanging in there, or nothing much ” with an expression of utter boredom. If we act with this mental attitude, we will not be able to move forward in life, not by even an inch. Our life would be bereft of interest or enthusiasm. How to get out of this quicksand called boredom?

If others get more attention, we feel jealous. It is this jealousy that builds up the attitude of apathy and lethargy. The words and expressions that we use to describe situations are the root cause of our depression. So, if you want to chase away the blues, throw out such words from your everyday vocabulary.

One method to drive away depression and energies ourselves is to employ auto-suggestion! “You have everything that it takes! You can get this job done better than any one else!”- if we begin to talk to ourselves like this, fresh energy will begin to flow in our minds and bodies.

If we become enthusiastic, the light waves that emanate from our bodies would make those around us also enthusiastic. This is a scientifically proven fact! When we say “I,” there are three factors involved: the body, the mind, and the waves or vibrations that emanate from the body. When we speak of great leaders, we usually say that there is a brightness or aura around them. This aura is from the light waves that emerge from the body of a person. Your energy field will also touch people.

Make sure you have good energy and create good vibration around you. No matter how enthusiastic we are and however well we motivate our colleagues, even a small failure could dash us down the abyss of depression.

At such times, remember- just as the experience of success is sweet, the experience of failure is also sweet. We can understand this if we learn to view failure as merely postponed success... that is all! There is nothing in it to make us depressed. Treat each experience as a unique one. In this wordless experience, your being starts relaxing and always be enthusiastic as enthusiasm means 'God within".

Happiness is within you

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Lots of people are confused about "Happiness". They always feel happiness is outside which they have to seek out...and most of the times they get disappointed. The following story reflects on this.

One day, Mullah Nasruddin was very sad. A close friend who visited him asked, “Why are you so down?” In response, Mullah began to cry. “My maternal uncle died last month- he has left all his property to me before dying. I thought of that and am crying now!” he said.

“I know your uncle very well!” said the friend, in an attempt to console him. “He was well over 90...death is but natural! In fact, you should feel happy that you got his vast property!” But Mullah was inconsolable.

“You don’t understand my grief, my friend!” he said. “Only last week, my paternal uncle died, leaving me property worth millions of dollars.” He wept more and was almost uncontrollable. His friend was really confused. “I know your paternal uncle too! He was 95... instead of feeling happy that you got so much money, why are you crying like an idiot?” the friend asked out of irritation.

“My sorrow is worse than that... my grandfather who is over a 100 years died yesterday, bequeathing property worth over 20 million dollars in my name!” cried Mullah. Now the friend was really fed up and irritated. “I really fail to understand, why at all you should be crying,” he asked. Mullah sniffed, wiped his tears and explained: “My maternal uncle, paternal uncle and grandfather who were extremely rich are all dead. Now I do not have any more uncles left, to die”!

This tale implies a very important truth. Greed is one of the sources of unhappiness. If we allow it to expand unreasonably, then joy or peace of mind would be the casualty. Happiness and satisfaction are within us.

Water poured into a cracked pot will not remain in it. Similarly, people without contentment cannot be happy. They will only worry about what they do not possess. Their hearts are always full of sorrow. Once the crack in the pot is sealed, it would hold water poured into it. Similarly, when the blind spots of the mind are removed, it would be filled with joy.

“If I get this and this alone, I would be happy,” declares the mind. This gives rise to many desires. These desires in turn become blind spots. For some, settling down in USA means happiness. For others, getting a visa to go to USA is happiness. When they pin their happiness on events that are likely to happen in the distant future, they let go of the present joys available to them; exactly like a pot with a crack!

Then there are those who think that happiness is sold in shops. The wise stay miles away from this wrong notion, paving way for true joy. Make a decision to be happy and stay Happy always!. Have a pleasant Tuesday!


-Karthik Gurumurthy

Humility is the key to wisdom,
It is the foundation of all virtue.
It is the willingness to learn and grow,
To admit when you are wrong.

Humility is the opposite of arrogance,
It is the recognition of your own limitations.
It is the willingness to help others,
To put their needs before your own.

Humility is a powerful force,
It can change the world for the better.
It can make you a better person,
A better friend, a better partner.

So strive for humility,
Seek it out in others,
And let it be your guiding light.

For it is humility that will lead you to wisdom,
To virtue, and to a better life.

One of the traits I respect most in people is humility. ‘The tree that has the most fruit is the tree that bends to the ground,’ my father taught me as I was growing up. And though there are very few exceptions I have found in my own experience that it is true-the people who know the most, who have achieved the most, and have lived the most, are also the people closest to the ground. In a word, they are humble….there is something special about being in the presence of a person who is humble. One of my sources of inspiration or my role model is my research advisor Dr. K. S. Viswanathan (Dr. KSV) . He is one of the humble person I know despite having achieved so much in research.  Practicing humility shows that you respect others and reminds us that there is something for us to learn. It sends a signal to those around you that you are open to receiving the gift of their knowledge and listening to what they have to say. Thank you Dr. KSV for being a tremendous example for all of us to follow.

Increase your Goodness Quotient

Here are a few simple ideas to help you continue to raise your “Goodness Quotient”:

1. Be the most polite person that you know.

2. Be honest to a fault.

3. Deeply commit yourself to being a world-class listener.

4. Send handwritten thank you notes on a regular basis.

5. Seek out opportunities to do random acts of kindness.

6. Commit yourself to being the most positive and passionate person that you know.

7. Be impeccable with your punctuality.

Leader's Character Traits

-Karthik Gurumurthy


Leadership is not some special title reserved for a chosen few. Leader is an attitude. Leader is a belief system. To be a leader is a philosophy for life. It’s a way of living that leads to remarkable results on all levels.  Everyone can walk the way of leader. Here are 7 steps to help you:

 Stay at the Edge

Serious achievers look for and love change. They’ve learned to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. To play full out in your field, to lead in life, you must hug the edge. Uncertainty is big opportunity for those that lean into the ride. 

Perfect Positive Perspective

Your life is too big to play with the smallness of a negative perspective.

Take Ultimate Responsibility for Results

No blame. No excuses. Not today. Not ever. When challenged, successful people ask “what am I going to do about it?” And do it.

. “I am...” Statements

You become the story you sell yourself. Anthony Hopkins, otherwise known as,Sir Hopkins, Renaissance Man and Living Legend cautions “be careful what you feed your brain. What happens if you pour negative information in there, or positive information? You change the balance of your nature.” CEOs that win shred the negative internal audio with powerful “I am” statements.

Open up the View

Innovative CEOs invent fresh ideas.  They think and talk beyond trends and headlines. They contribute fresh, cutting edge, not-rolling-off -everybody’s- tongue type knowledge. Ask yourself, who would influence you more? The CEO who originates ideas or borrows them? Invent, share and invite fresh ideas.

Constant State of Motion

If you let things slow down, they deteriorate. Maintain a constant state of motion. Vow at sunrise to make change happen before sunset.  Tension (passionate goal setting) is a fantastic way to stay out of stagnation.

 Have fun and Enjoy the Journey

William James said "We do not sing because we are happy. We are happy because we sing." Along the same lines, "We do not stop working and playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop working and playing."

Are you playing 'Mental Movies'?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

A chief cause of unhappiness is what I call mental movies. Mental movies are a misuse of the imagination. You know how it goes. You have a painful experience with someone, then run it over and over in your mind. You visualize what you said, what he/she did, how you both felt. As awful as it is, you feel compelled to repeat the film day and night. It is as if you were locked inside a theater playing a horror movie.

To break out be aware that you are running a mental movie. Be conscious of its mechanical hold on your mind. Then, by deliberate choice, break it off. Shake your head and break it off. Now, at this instant, take a quick look. Where is your pain? It is not there. It has disappeared. You have now accomplished something great. You have proved that you can snap the film and its tyrannical pain. You are free and you are free right.

Try the above method for yourself. Even though you succeed at first for just a split second, you have succeeded completely! Now realizing that small success is possible, you can advance to great success!". Remember, bigger success is a summation of smaller successes in life. Control your thoughts and you control your destiny!

What are you 'thinking' right now?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Depression, fear, anger, disgust- where are they generated from? They are not generated from our hands, legs, lungs or respiratory tubes. They are generated by our thoughts. In that case, what is a ‘thought’?

Consider this. When we allow words to flow freely, without moving our lips or tongue, thoughts take shape. We cannot think without words and sentences. For the time being, let us keep aside creative artists like musicians and painters who can think with sounds, and colors.

A person starts a business. In the process, he makes a loss. At once, he begins to think that he is unfit to do business, he would be unable to understand the nuances of running a business... these very thoughts within his mind would generate a complex feeling. If the same person, on the other hand, tells himself- “Profit or loss is natural in business ... I gain nothing by just getting upset.”

These thoughts would enable him to face failure in a positive way and lay a foundation to learn from the failure, as he is open to analyze himself. We need to understand the simple matter with respect to the statements we make as follows: “I’m so bored!”, “I am so tired!”, “I feel so ill!”

Avoid using such readymade negative statements. This must be avoided not only while speaking, but also while thinking within oneself. Now what I have been explaining so extensively can be condensed into one word- ‘language.’

To start with, there is no need to control or curb our thoughts; good or bad. Let our thoughts run for a while, taking the natural course.

What is important is to watch our thoughts very carefully; followed by the kind of words we use to express our thoughts. Replace your self-defeating, self doubting thoughts by positive affirmations and speak it as if you have already achieved the goal you are striving. Let the awareness be alive to practice this again and again, whenever there is an opportunity.

This will remove the readymade negative language that we normally use. With continuous practice, stimulating and self-motivating thinking would become a part of us in the natural course of time.

Saying Thank you

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I believe in saying our thank-you's. Many of my friends and colleagues find it weird when I say ‘thank you’ to student,s waiters, drivers and just about any one who does me a service. One of them asked me why I would thank someone for a service I had paid for.

Another told me that I was ‘too polite’. I’m happy to report that none of the people I’ve thanked had any such objections!Having painted myself in such a glorious light, I must hasten to add that while I thank strangers I sometimes err when it comes to thanking my family for their many and daily acts of service and kindness to me. And even more often, I forget to say ‘thank you’ to that great Giver of all gifts. How often I have take the many ‘gifts’ I’ve received for granted.

Fortunately, as I get older, I think I’m beginning to get a little better at saying my thank-yous to my family and to God. Everyday brings me a new reason to be grateful; When I look around and see the kind of life and situations others have to go through, I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such ‘wealth’. But the strange thing is, that the more I look at things with a grateful heart, the more things I find to be grateful for. Yes, it almost seems like being grateful has a multiplier effect.

I came across this lovely Hasidic parable that illustrates what I’m saying:
Once times were tough. Two men–both poor farmers–were walking down a country lane and met their Rabbi. “How is it for you?” the Rabbi asked the first man. “Lousy,” he grumbled, bemoaning his lot and lack. “Terrible, hard, awful. Not worth getting out of bed for. Life is lousy.”

Now, God was eavesdropping on this conversation. “Lousy?” the Almighty thought. “You think your life is lousy now, you ungrateful lout? I’ll show you what lousy is.”

Then, the Rabbi turned to the second man. “And you, my friend?” “Ah, Rabbi–life is good. God is so gracious, so generous. Each morning when I awaken, I’m so grateful for another day, for I know, rain or shine, it will unfold in wonder and blessings too bountiful to count. Life is so good.”

God smiled as the second man’s thanksgiving soared upwards until it became one with the harmony of the heavenly hosts. Then the Almighty roared with delighted laughter. “Good? You think your life is good now? I’ll show you what good is!”

So let’s not forget to say our thank-yous – they will actually lead us to receive more!


What is your Plan B?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Most people go to their grave with their music still inside them"- George Bernard Shaw

Most recently I read a story about Antonio; an Italian boy who loved music, but whenever he tried to sing the music that was in his heart, it came out so badly that all his friends laughed at him. Next to singing, the boy loved to hear the violin. He had a pocketknife he always carried with him and we would whittle all sorts of things with it.

One day Antonio learned that the greatest violin maker in all Italy, the great Nicolo Amati, lived in his village. Antonio began to whittle a violin and worked many hours on it. When finished, the boy walked to the house of Amati, who just happened to answer the door. The boy handed the master the small violin he had carved and said, “Sir, I love music, but cannot sing. I wish with all my heart I could learn to make violins.”

The great Amati smiled, looked at the small gift and said, “Beautifully done. You want to make violins? And so you shall. In time your violins will make the most beautiful music ever heard!” And so, Antonio Stradivari became the pupil of Nicolo Amati and in time made violins that equaled his master’s.

Consider the successes of the likes of Henry Ford, R.H. Macy, Soichiro Honda, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. The common thread among all of them is that their eventual successes were only attained after many failures early on in the careers.

Resilient leaders are not deterred by the disappointment that comes when Plan A is no longer an option. Success comes when Plan B is embraced and that can make all the difference. In business and in leadership, plans do not always turn out as we hope. In these times of testing you have a choice.  Here are three things to remember when Plan A falls apart and Plan B falls in your lap and you are tempted to throw in the towel.

Plan B creates opportunity. Stradivari’s contribution to music was not to be found through his voice, but through his hands. He joined the passion of his heart with the skill of his hands and made his mark on the music world with it.  The challenge in leadership is not to lay down what is in your hand but to use it. It may not be Plan A, but Plan B turned out incredibly well for Stradivari and it can for you if you choose the right attitude and give it all you have.

Plan B redirects your skills. Upon the outcome of this Hollywood legends first screen test, the director of MGM noted, “Can’t dance. Can’t sing. Can dance a little.” Undeterred, Fred Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer. He kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from. As a leader, you will face many challenges and you will at times hear the voices of those telling you that it can’t be done. But in the end all that matters is what you believe in your heart and having the courage to pursue it; even if it is Plan B.

Plan B prepares you for a rewarding life. In many respects Plan B is not just about opportunities, but overcoming adversity. While his name is synonymous with some of the biggest films in the modern era, this movie director was rejected three times from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television. After so many year , Steven Spielberg returned to school and completed his BA last year.

The blessing of Plan B is not always easy to see in the beginning. The blessing of Plan B is realized when we embrace it and begin the journey it takes you on. Wise leaders are flexible enough to know that when one door closes it is not the end; it’s just the beginning of living out your dream in a manner you didn’t expect.

What is your Plan B?