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October 2006

Sing your own song

"Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable."

-- Brenda Ueland

Great forces are directing you to conform to the patterns of your society. You have DNA that has been handed down from generation to generation, coding repeated behaviour patterns into your being. You have archetypal energies setting the standards for how you behave as a man or a woman, as husband or wife, as father or mother .... You are immersed in consensual reality, whereby the world around you reflects societal understanding of how life has been and is to be.

At the same time, you have an even greater force within you inspiring you to wake up and recognize the reality of who you are. This force, the creative power underlying the entire universe, is urging you to create brand new standards of reality.

The status quo is blind to our creative power. Create a brand new world for yourself, one that meets your deepest needs, and you will help raise the quality of consciousness of the entire world.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

-- Gandhi

Good manners

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Sometimes, even educated people behave in unnatural ways in petty matters and appear cheap in the eyes of others. To avoid such embarrassing situations, it is better to observe the following
12 do's and don'ts.

1. Never read the letters of even your closest relatives, friends, and family members like brothers/sisters. If you read their letters, they will thinks that you lack manners.
2. Never show interest in others peoples' personal matters and don't read their personal diaries.
3. Never see the SMSs in peoples' cellphones. Never peruse through the contents of other people's wallets.
4. Don't see their albums, unless they want/tell you to see them and do not pass comments about the album's nature and external appearance.
5. Switch off the cellphones or keep them in silent mode when you are attending official meetings, cultural programs and also during dinner parties in the presence of guests.
6. Whenever guests come over, open the door, invite them politely, and walk behind them (not before them) and make them seated comfortably.

7. Whenever you visit your friend's house, carry some fruits, sweets, biscuits or chocolates, etc. for the family.
8. Whenever you take help from others, express your gratitude by saying words like, "thanks," etc. They will form a good impression about you. Give tips to waiters in hotels or restaurants.
9. During parties or in functions take the food items along with the guests (not alone) and also it is good to serve each other and drink together. It is a good social behavior.
10. While taking coffee, tea or cool drinks in the office, always keep the files on your left side (not on the right side).
11. A simple smile on your face costs nothing but fetches big dividends.
12. Whenever anybody visits your home, usually they bring something for you and your children. Reciprocate in the same manner.
The golden word is: "Mannerisms makes a man, good manners make a good man".
"Give respect and take respect" is a good slogan and keep it in your mind, wherever you go and whatever your profession and position may be.

Responsibility brings power

"To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist."

-- Gail Sheehy

What holds you back from being all that you are?

In your journal, list at least 5 things that hold you back.

Now review your answers. Have you blamed people or factors outside of yourself?

It's important to understand that ALL obstructions are rooted in our internal blocks. Even the problems that appear to be outside of us are only reflecting back to us problems we have inside. Once we address our inner issues, the outer problems disappear.

Be personally accountable for everything in your life and watch your perspectives shift. We claim our power when we accept responsibility for our lives.


by Dr. John C. Maxwell

By nature, leaders are decision-makers. The more influential the leader, the more consequential their decisions will be. Leaders are out in front because they have proven their ability to choose the appropriate course of action when faced with big decisions.

However, when a leader begins to rely solely on personal observation and intuition, that leader is headed for trouble. Even the wisest among us has a limited perspective, and we will miss important decision-making clues if we become entirely self-reliant.

In this edition of LW, I am indebted to the brilliant thought of Dr. Saj-nicole A. Joni in her book, The Third Opinion. An extremely well-written text, The Third Opinion makes the case for the value of outside insight to the performance of a leader. In her book, Dr. Joni identifies four signs that the time is right to consult decision-making advice.

• When multiple decisions need to be made, and you don’t have the required amount of time to focus fully on each one.

• When the implications of the decision are far-reaching, and you know your organization will be in serious trouble if you don’t do the right thing.

• When you lack the expertise to tackle the issue on your own, regardless of whether you have the time.

• When you are capable of taking action, but you know the decision will be better off if you consult the experiences and insights of someone else.

As a leader, once you’ve determined to seek advice, how do you go about doing it? How can you most effectively glean insights from the thinking of advisors?

To Successfully Engage Others to Gain Insight Requires …

1. The Security of the Leader
2. The Credibility of the Process
3. The Quality of the Questions
4. The Ability of the Team

The Security of the Leader
Advice is seldom welcome, and those who need it most like it least.
-- Dr. Samuel Johnson

Leaders can be stubborn when it comes to seeking advice. Insecure leaders who worry about their status, position, or power tend to reject the ideas of others, protect their turf, and keep people at bay. It takes a secure leader to admit their assumptions may be wrong, or to defer to the expertise of another.

Secure leaders routinely practice simple, but essential exercises to benefit from the advice of others. They create an environment where it’s safe to voice any opinion, regardless of its popularity. They listen, and they consult others with a genuine desire to learn and to broaden their vision. Secure leaders are willing to be wrong. They defer to the strength of an idea regardless of who the idea came from. Finally, leaders share the spotlight when a decision is successful and take the blame when it fails. By doing so, they earn the trust of advisors and keep the channels of communication open for future dialogue.

The Credibility of the Process

He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.
— Ben Johnson

The decision-making process unravels when the leader gravitates toward either of two extremes: refusing everyone’s advice or accepting everyone’s advice. Ignoring the advice of others results in a dictatorial leader who is limited by the confines of their own perspective. Accepting all advice leads to paralyzing groupthink, devoid of the critical thinking necessary to weed out poor or unrealistic ideas.

A wise leader builds a climate of shared thinking in which all opinions are welcome, but each is closely scrutinized before being accepted. Such a leader buys into the slogan, “none of us is as smart as all of us.” Shared thinking sparks innovation by opening multiple avenues for creative ideas rather than locking into ideas in the mind of a single leader. Shared thinking also gives ideas a chance to mature as they are polished and expanded in the sphere of team discussion.

The Quality of the Questions

When you stop wondering you might as well put your rocker on the front porch and call it a day.
— Johnny Carson

Perhaps, the hardest part of leadership is to keep sustained focus on essential topics and data above the urgent, immediate needs. When too much of the workday becomes urgent, leaders are sidetracked from following a central vision and careen aimlessly from crisis to crisis.

Leaders devote their most precious resource—unscheduled time—to the most important issues affecting the organization. They purposefully reflect and inquire about opportunities that hold the greatest potential to yield highest returns over time. The gravitational force of the workday gives immediate tasks too much pull. In the absence of careful planning, leaders will become starved for time.

The Ability of the Team

In seeking someone for advice, one of the biggest temptations is to assume that a person who verbalizes well also analyzes well. It’s not true. Good talkers aren’t always good thinkers.
— Fred Smith

Wisdom isn’t in the multitude of voices – it’s in listening to the right one. To maximize the value of shared thinking, leaders place people around the table who bring something to the table. As you prepare to ask people to participate in shared thinking, use the following criteria for the selection process. Choose…

  • People whose greatest desire is the success of the ideas.
  • People who can add value to another’s thoughts.
  • People who can emotionally handle quick changes in the conversation.
  • People who appreciate the strengths of others in areas where they are weak.
  • People who understand their place of value at the table.
  • People who possess maturity, experience, and success in the issue under discussion.
  • People who will take ownership and responsibility for decisions.
  • People who will leave the table with a “we” attitude, not a “me” attitude.

Too often, leaders select brainstorming partners based on feelings of camaraderie, circumstances, or convenience. To discover and create ideas of the highest order, the people invited to the table of thought make all the difference.

Let’s recap. Leaders remove the lid of limited perspective from their leadership when they consult the insight of others. To successfully engage others to gain insight requires…

1. The Security of the Leader
2. The Credibility of the Process
3. The Quality of the Questions
4. The Ability of the Team

"This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at "

You need to have goals to succeed

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.

You must first establish your objectives if you're to accomplish anything in a big way. Goals give you a starting place and a destination. People with goals succeed because they know where they're going.

Determine what you want. Decide on your major objectives, targets, aims, and destination. If you don't know where you're going, how can you expect to get there?

Plant your dreams, nourish and begin to live them. The most important thing about a goal is having one.

Biofuels: Think Outside The Barrel

Google TechTalks March 29, 2006

Vinod Khosla

Vinod Khosla is a venture capitalist considered one of the most successful and influential personalities in Silicon Valley. He was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems and became a general partner of the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers in 1986. In 2004 he formed Khosla Ventures.

On Wednesday, March 29th, by invitation from our co-founders and CEO, our special guest, Vinod Khosla, visited Google to deliver a tech talk about the emergence of ethanol as a viable, market ready, and competitive source of renewable energy.

His presentation has been making huge waves in the investor, policy, and business communities and we are privileged to have had him take time to talk to us about the tremendous potential for ethanol's explosion into the market. Here are some recent articles that might be of interest in relation to this talk:

Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley billionaire, who wants to save the world from oil

On the Ethanol Bandwagon, Big Names and Big Risks

See the good side of everything

You cannot have the success you seek without some failures too. Any experience can be transformed into something of value. Everything depends on the way you look at things. What appear to be stumbling blocks and defeat before you can be stepping stones to victory if you remain determined. In all of your adversities lies the seeds of equivalent advantages. In every defeat there is a lesson showing you how to win the next time.

View your problems as opportunities. When it's dark enough you can see the stars.