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August 2007

Definiteness of Purpose

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Ramesh emphasized the importance of "definiteness of purpose" while answering the questions during the nite owl session. I have captured the essence of what he conveyed here.

Few success practices are as important as articulating your most closely held goals and then reviewing them daily. And guess what? Most people don't spend more than an hour a year doing this.

There are 4 big reasons for you to set goals: Focus, Measurement, Alignment and Inspiration.

#1. Focus. Where your focus goes your energy flows. One of their primary traits of all the business stars greatness is their focus. They know “the vital few”, in other words the key goals they need to achieve to get to the extraordinary and then they focus like crazy on them. Goals breed focus.

#2. Measurement. Goals should be measurable as the saying goes “what gets measured gets improved.” Powerful idea. Setting goals gives you something to measure. If your physical goal is to get down to 11% body fat, you have a standard against which to measure where you are at. And as you measure, you have a basis on which to improve.

#3. Alignment. I'll share one of the biggest “secrets of success” with you: make sure your daily actions are aligned with your deepest values. Let me put it another way: there can be no happiness if your commitments are not congruent with your convictions. Isn't that what integrity is all about: ensuring that your schedule reflects your values and what you stand for? Setting clear goals that are aligned with your most important values is a superb way to get to personal greatness.

#4. Inspiration. Goals breathe life into your days. The very act of articulating your goals on a crisp white piece of paper causes you to step into a whole new possibility for what your life can become. Setting your goals is a statement that you refuse to be ordinary. Setting your goals is a bold play for your best life. Setting your goals is an act of heroism because you are reaching for the potential that has been invested in you. And our world needs more heroes.

Definiteness of Purpose Part II

It is important to have "definiteness of purpose". The clearer your purpose is, the faster you will move on towards your goals. He also emphasized on daily habits which define your destiny. Shobana and I are making sure we work on our daily habits.

Your days are your life in miniature. As you live your days, so you craft your life. What you do today is actually creating your future. The words you speak, the thoughts you think, the food you eat and the actions you take are defining your destiny – shaping who you are becoming and what your life will stand for. There's no such thing as an unimportant day.

Each of us is called to greatness. Each of us has an exquisite power within us. But for this power to grow, we need to use it. The more you exercise it each day, the stronger it gets. The more this power gets tapped, the more confident you grow.

The best among us are not more gifted than the rest. They just take small steps each day as they march towards their biggest life. And the days slip into weeks, the weeks into months and before they know it, they arrive at a place called Extraordinary...

Do your part

by Karthik Gurumurthy

Big question for you: “what are you doing to help build a new and better world?” Don't blame the politicians. Don't blame those around you. Don't blame your parents or your background. Doing so is playing the victim and this world has far too many people playing the victim when they could be shining and making a profound difference. Mother Teresa said it so much better than I ever could: “if each of us would only sweep their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.” Nice.

Blaming others is excusing yourself. Telling yourself that you – as an army of one – cannot have an impact is giving away your power. A couple of college kids got their hands on empty school buses and drove them into New Orleans when everybody else said the city was unapproachable. A little man in a loincloth named Mohandas Gandhi freed an entire nation. A college student named Richard Branson took some initiative to start a record label on a shoestring that has since morphed into the Virgin empire. You are no different from them. We are all flesh and bones – cut from the same cloth.

What don't you like about your life or the organization you work for or the country you live in? Make a list. Write it down. Shout it out. And then do something to improve things. Anything. Start small or go big. Just do something. Today. Now. The world will be better for it.

Spreading Good news

Today got an opportunity to attend the training by one of the business leaders. Phenomenal training and true illustration of leadership by example.

The whole room lit up as the leader from WA was passionately weaving the dreams. He is a true dream builder and evangelist.

Being an “evangelist” has negative connotations in the world we reside in. But an evangelist, by definition, is simply someone who spreads good news. It's someone who gets stuck on a big idea or passionate cause and then walks out into their days and spreads message like a virus. It's someone who gets so engaged in doing something important that it's all they think about, dream about, talk about. It's a human being who understands-at a DNA level- what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he said: “if you have not discovered something you are willing to die for, then you are not fit to live.” This troubled and uncertain world of ours needs more evangelists: human beings doing great things, blessing lives by their actions, making a difference.

Where did most people's passion for greatness go? Each of us had it as kids. We wanted to be superheroes, astronauts and painters. We wanted to change the world, stand on mountaintops and eat lots of ice cream. Then, as we aged, life began to do its work on us. We bought into the propaganda that says we should not think to big, reach too high and love too much. Breaks my heart.

You are meant to shine. You are here to find that cause, that main aim, that vital destiny that will move you at the most visceral level and get you up at the crack of dawn with fire in your belly. You are meant to find something that your life will stand for that will consume you, something so beautiful and meaningful that you'd be willing to bleed for it. I recently read about a lawyer who said he was so passionate about being of service to a group of victims he was representing that he wouldn't give up until there was blood coming out of his eyes. An evangelist.

I'm an evangelist. Talk to anyone who knows me and they'll tell you my oxygen is helping human beings and organizations get to a place called extraordinary. Sure I have my down times and hard days-find me someone who doesn't. But mostly you'll find me full of enthusiasm, high energy and delight at spreading my gospel which is all about championing people to play a bigger game and to strive for excellence and not settle for mediocrity. Am I more special than you? Of course not! I've just found my cause.

The message you evangelize might be being a great mom or dad, who uplifts your kids and celebrates their gifts. Your cause may be to elevate your sphere of influence wherein we make our world a better place to live. Your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal: from Jim Collins's “Built to Last”) might be to clean up your community or to inspire people to be healthier or to be a light in a world where too many people spend their days simply cursing the darkness.

I don't know what your life's Most Important To Do is. That's for you to figure out (through some deep reflection, introspection and soul-searching; doing that within a journal is a wise idea). But what I do know is this: when you find that mission that your life will be dedicated to, you'll wake up each day with that fire in the belly I mentioned. You'll be willing to move mountains to make it happen. You'll find that sense of internal fulfillment that may now be mission from your life. And you'll always stand for what is right than what is convenient and people will be there to listen. You'll become an evangelist. Welcome to the club.

Read to Lead

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Reading is one of the best disciplines I know of to stay “on game” and at your highest. Reading from a great book is really all about having a conversation with the author. Just think, tonight – by reading "The One Minute Entrepreneur" by Ken Blenchard you can get behind this great man's eyeballs and learn what made him tick. And reading a book by someone whose life you want to be living allows some of their brilliance to rub off on you. The hand that puts down a great book will never be the same.

When I was growing up, my father said: “cut back on what you spend on food but never worry about investing money in a good book.” Every summer he used to take me and Aravind to Higgin Bothams and gift us with copious amount of books. His philosophy was that all it takes is one idea discovered in a book to lift your life to a whole new level. And so our home was filled with books. And I love reading. Thanks Dad.

Perhaps my greatest thing you will find in our place will be our library. I have books on leadership, science, relationships, business, philosophy, fitness, spirituality, great lives and many other of my favored topics in it-many of which I picked up in bookshops from around the world. These books have shaped my life. They have formed my personal philosophy. They have made me the man that I am. To me, my books are priceless.

The old expression is true: “knowing how to read and not reading is almost the same as not knowing how to read.” Make the time to read something good each day. Fill your mind with big ideas and dazzling thoughts. Use books to flood your soul with hope and inspiration.

Paul Miller says"Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting"...So take some time to reflect on what you learnt.

And remember, if you want to lead, you need to read.


To me, success is all about being in the process of joyfully creating a life that reflects your highest values, your deepest beliefs and your greatest dreams. There's a lot in that statement and I invite you to break it down and reflect on it. There's the part about being “joyfully” moving along the journey of your life because life is meant to be fun. There's the piece about being in the “process” of creating life on your terms. There's the element of living under your values and beliefs...which is all about being true to yourself and authentic. And there's that aspect of chasing your dreams, as these are what gets us out of bed each day and fill our hearts with hope.

Play to win

Such a simple idea: you can't win if you don't try. So often, we get a big idea. One that will get our careers to the next level. One that will get our lives to the next level. One that will really set us soaring. But then guess what happens next? The voice of fear takes over. We start selling ourselves on all the reasons why we'll fail. Eventually, that beautiful/big/bold idea seems silly/unattainable/foolish. And so we don't act. We don't even try.

Imagine Tiger Woods wanting to win but not even playing the tournament. Imagine the great manager wanting to lead her team to world-class but not even showing up. Imagine the brave inventor wanting to change the world. Yet not even doing anything. Nothing happens until you move (tattoo that line on your brain cells if you really want to win). And you'll never win if you don't even try. Enough said.

Let go your bad habits

Letting go is one of the hardest things to do. For a parent to let go of her child when they move out for higher studies. For a man letting go of a failed business idea. For an athlete letting go of a sporting career. For childhood friends who have grown apart. For a man in love with someone who doesn't love them. For the person who can't clean out their closet. Those friends that are no longer sharing your new set of beliefs. Letting go is never easy.

Here is the thing. Letting go is hard, but is can also be a good release. A chance to start a new. You need to look at all that you have learned leading up to the "letting go". The good and the bad. It will make you stronger. Sometimes when we let go it opens up many new doors. New opportunities for greatness.

The challenge many of us never know when to move on. We can hold on so long that we destroy relationships or miss great chances to do amazing things. We can get up in a web of routine. A comfort blanket. Try. Don't be afraid to let go. You may be surprised how rich your life will become.

Think about this: What is that one thing you could let go of today that would move you forward?

Stay in the game if you want to win

The more you try, the greater your chance of succeeding. The law of averages is on your side.

Taking a risk is often your first necessary step toward success. If you don't take some risks, you won't get the chance to succeed. While you are trying, you are winning.

Never get discouraged.

Every wrong attempt is another step forward. People that make no mistakes usually don't make anything.

Make up your mind not merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand defeats.
Your mistakes are stepping stones to success and your installment payments to victory.

You can't be a winner and be afraid to lose.