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January 2008

Nuggets from the Winter conference 2008

-Karthik Gurumurthy

It was a fantastic learning experience listening to all the entrepreneurs who not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk. I have shared some of the nuggets from my notes.

Shivaram Kumar: "You don't use people to build the business up, you use business to build people up."Life gives us what we ask of it. People who know what they want to do, generally spend much of their time doing it. And those who don't really know what they want, spend much of their time in the service of someone else's dream.

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. If you blame others for the circumstances of your life, you give them power over you. You can never be free as long as you make other people responsible for your life.

Only when you accept the responsibility of guiding your own life, can you truly be free to live abundantly.

The more value you can add to the lives of others, the more your efforts will be multiplied.

Give to the world and the world will give back to you, many times over.

Reaching your dreams is not a matter of wishing, or taking. It requires action. You must build, and create, and participate. Give of yourself, because the reward is in the journey. Your dreams would be meaningless if they required no effort or energy.

Ajit and Harsha Dodani: " Life is like a self-service cafeteria. You can take your tray & select the best food that you like & pay at the counter. Life is exactly similar. You can aspire to get the best things as long as you're ready to pay the price."

Allan and Jenny Figueredo: "There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there's only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen.

* Head --> Heart
* logic --> Emotion
* point A --> point B
* Cannot have a following on logical basis, the only way to connect with people is on the emotional level
* with predominant thought process as logic, cannot connect, cannot posture, cannot lead, cannot have the courage
."


Vishal Jain: "When the average man laughs at you, it is a compliment, because you're doing something right. If you avoid responsibility, you also avoid freedom, and you end up complaining in life . If you avoid challenge, you also avoid opportunity, and you end up being mediocre. If you avoid failure, you also avoid success, and you end up being average. There is no shortcut to a place worth going. Success is a journey filled with failures.
4 simple steps to success:
(a) Get started where you are
(b) Begin with what you have
(c) Give it everything you've got
(d) Stick it out till you make it."

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Attitude of Gratitude

I had a long chat with my kindergarten friend Dr. Sudarsanam Raman last weekend . We fondly call him 'Susi'. Susi is a surgeon and practices medicine in Birmingham, UK. I was telling him about this weblog activity and he checked out this site and immediately asked whether everything in this site is written by me. I told him that I read at least four to five books every month. I do attend business seminars all over the place as I study successful entrepreneurs. I frequently read the works of Swami Sukhabodhananda, Dr. John C. Maxwell, Robin Sharma, Ben Carson, Malcolm Gladwell and so forth. My website also have links of websites which I visit regularly. So in short, I can tell that my website is a collection of good stuff which I have learned from my life through the association of the above mentioned people as well as the forwards which I get from my dear friends/associates. I have tried to give credits to all the contributors if I know the source. If I happen to miss out anyone, please feel free to contact me.

I take this opportunity to thank my associates Bijon, TD for setting the right example which helped me understand the Success principles in a simple way. I would like to thank Mr. R. Sridhar (of Times of India) who mentioned the importance of creative visualization.

Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to my wife Shobs, e-friend Mr. Brian Buck ( from Olympia, WA), cousin Pats and Vidhya (from Fremont, CA), good friends Selvan and Subathra (from Bellevue, WA) for the feedback and for the kind words of encouragement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the future visitors who will be visiting the site and using the nuggets from this site to lead a better life.

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Priorities

by Karthik Gurumurthy

Heard this from Ganesh Shenoy.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee... A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things-your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first, " he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal." Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.

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Complacency

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I used to follow the game of chess back when I was in India. Viswanathan Anand, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov were like the biggest stars during the time.

Yesterday I was in Barnes and Noble and stumbled into the book written by Garry Kasparov. The name of the book is Garry Kasparov: How Life imitates chess

I just browsed through the book and found some interesting nuggets from the book.

"Success is the enemy of future success. One of the most dangerous enemies you can face is complacency. I have seen- both in myself and my peers-how satisfaction can lead to a lack of vigilance, then to mistakes and missed opportunities. Success and satisfaction may be our goals, but they can also lead to bad habits that will impede greater success and satisfaction.

Gravity of past success. Winning creates the illusion that everything is fine. We think only of the positive result without considering all the things that went wrong.

Most of us are guilty of the same habit in our day-to-day lives. My advice regarding the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" should be left to the plumbing trade and never applied to how we lead our lives and at work when something goes right."


Leadership by example

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Attended the training by Allan Figueredo last Sunday. He's done some tremendous things with his business and carved out a tremendously meaningful life for himself. He said something that I wanted to share with you. Because it speaks to the best way to influence other people. Leadership by example.

He said, “The greatest sermon in life is the one you see.” To me, he meant make your life your message. Live your truth. Walk your values. Behave your philosophy.

So easy to talk a great game. Far harder to live it. But the best do. Elegantly. Consistently. Passionately.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi


What goes around comes around

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live New Year every day.

New Year is the time of fresh commitments, a time of review and more so a time of renewal. We don’t necessarily look for people whom we intimately know to wish happy New Year. Whomsoever we meet either at temples, mosques or churches or in malls, there is exchange of ‘Happy New Year’ from the heart. Why should it be so, only on days like New Year, Christmas, Deepavali or Pongal ? Why should not that be all through the year? Why not, everyday herald the start of a brand new year, Pongal or Deepavali? Why should it be a routine exercise once a year? Why should it not be something spontaneous all through the year? Why not develop an attitude of gratitude amongst all of us that we appreciate each other? Praise each other and encourage each other. Why not inculcate the spirit of spreading happiness every day of the year as we do on New Year.


Let’s pay attention to this story.


There was a farmer busy tilling his land. As he was engaged intently in his tasks, the breeze that was blowing brought to his ears an agonizing sound, the sound of a child crying. He abandoned his work and walked towards the distant place from where the voice was emanating. The more he moved, the clearer was the voice and he was definite someone was in great distress. At last, he found a boy struggling to get out of a long pit full of water. The boy was terrified, fear written over all his face. The more the boy was trying to climb to get out of the pit, the more was he slipping into the pit. He was precariously holding on to the stem of a plant and it was his sheer good fortune the farmer reached the place in time. He helped the boy get out of the pit, nay saved him from the clutches of drowning and dying. The farmer was, indeed, very elated that he could save the child.

The next day a four-horse carriage pulled up at the residence of the farmer. The farmer was surprised that such a personality was visiting him and was taken by surprise when the Nobleman jumped out of the carriage to hug him, saying, “Oh! Great man, you saved my son from drowning. But for you, I won’t him see him alive and kicking. Here’s a purse of money and gold. Please accept it.”

The farmer, refusing to accept the gift, was saying, “I did what anyone would have done. How can you offer gifts for doing one’s normal chores?” Again, the Nobleman was pleading to accept the gift and the farmer refusing and when this conversation was going on, a boy peeped out of the house and hailed, “Daddy”. The Nobleman, noticing the boy calling his father, asked him, “That must be your son. I have no doubt; he will be as great and as generous as you are when he grows up. O.K . You don’t accept the gift but let me give him education, the education that my son will learn.” The farmer agreed.

Years rolled by. The farmer’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.

Many Years later, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the pit was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.


Blind spots

I just finished reading this article written by one of my favorite leadership Gurus Dr. John C. Maxwell. It is an outstanding article which talks about 'blind spots' which all of us have. Enjoy:)

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Blind Spots

by Dr. John C. Maxwell


After World War II, a general and his young lieutenant were traveling by train in England. When they boarded, the only seats left were across from a beautiful young lady and her grandmother. The soldiers sat facing the ladies. As the train pulled out it went through a long tunnel. For about ten seconds there was total darkness. In the silence of the moment, the train’s passengers heard two unmistakable sounds – a kiss and a slap. Everyone on the train had their own perceptions as to what happened.

The young lady thought to herself, “I’m flattered that the lieutenant kissed me, but I’m terribly embarrassed that Grandmother hit him!”

The grandmother thought, “I’m aggravated that he kissed my granddaughter, but I’m proud she had the courage to retaliate!”

The general wondered, “My lieutenant showed guts to kiss the girl, but why did she slap me by mistake?”

The lieutenant was only one who knew what had happened. For, in the brief moment of darkness, he had seized the opportunity both to kiss a pretty girl and slap his general.

BLIND SPOT

Blind spots are the areas where we are in the dark about ourselves. We are oblivious to our blind spots, and they may wreak havoc on our leadership. In this article, I’d like to examine another widespread blind spot—insecurity.

The Blind Spot – An area in the lives of people in which they continually do not see themselves or their situation realistically. This unawareness often causes great damage to the people and those around them.

BLIND SPOT: INSECURITY

Personal insecurity may be the most widespread blind spot in leadership. Insecurity causes a leader to think selfishly when the very essence of leadership is to focus on others. Insecure leaders place their followers in jeopardy, put the organization in peril, and even endanger themselves.

Telltale behavioral signs make insecure leaders easy to spot. First, insecure leaders have a hard time giving credit to others. Insecure people operate from an internal deficit. They are empty inside, and, as such, they are constantly seeking affirmation. Bottom line: insecure people are needy people.

A second symptom of an insecure leader is the habit of withholding information. Communication can be a form of empowerment, but insecure leaders conceal it to gain control. They may even leverage information to manipulate those they lead. By releasing information a leader demonstrates trust and confidence, whereas withholding it belies a fear and insecurity.

Another warning sign of an insecure leader is the habit of feeling threatened by the growth of others. Instead of empowering those they lead, an insecure leader may deliberately stunt the growth of followers. A classic example comes from observing a bucket of crabs. If one crab is trapped in a bucket, it will have no trouble climbing out. However, if several crabs are trapped, they will never escape. As soon as one begins to climb toward freedom, the others will pull it back down. Like the crabs, insecure leaders habitually drag down those around them.

A final quality of insecure leadership is micromanagement. Insecure leaders are control freaks. Distrustful, they have tight reigns on everyone and everything.

SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE BLIND SPOTS

As a leader, how do you fix a blind spot when you can’t even see it?

# 1 Ask Those Who Know You Best to Identify Your Blind Spot.

For instance, I’ve asked my assistant, Linda Eggers, for feedback on my blind spots, and she has kindly and candidly helped me to discover them.

My Blind Spot: Since I assume right motives in those around me and believe in the importance of a great attitude, I do not always give a timely and realistic assessment of the people and situations around me.

I couldn’t have articulated this blind spot on my own. I needed someone else to verbalize it for me, and Linda enabled me to see it.

#2 Openly Discuss Your Blind Spots With Your Inner Circle.

Be transparent with you inner circle about your recurring blind spots. You will need to rely on your team to counterbalance your personal weaknesses.

#3 Assume Your Blind Spots Cannot Be Removed By You.

Remember our definition of the Blind Spot – “An area in the lives of people in which they continually do not see themselves or their situation realistically.”

I have had the same blind spots my entire life. I’ve learned to compensate for them, but I’ve never been able to remove them.

#4 Develop and Empower a Team to Cover Your Blind Spots.

I’ve been able to avoid the pitfalls of my blind spots by surrounding myself with quality people. For instance, whenever I face a major business decision, my brother, Larry, goes with me. He is much shrewder than I am in the business arena, and his perspective covers the deficiencies in my vision.

Delegation can also save you from the dangers of a blind spot. My tendency to see the best in others and to put my faith in their potential has led to some horrible hiring decisions. My organizations didn’t start to hire better people until I quit being the one who hired them.

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


Self Esteem

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Everyone experiences self-doubt or dissatisfaction at different times. One period in my life particularly stands out. During my freshman year in high school (Grade 9 in Indian standard curriculum), I flunked Math big time: my grades in the year were 33%, 34% and finally made 35% in the final (Just made it:)). Up to that point, I'd never looked at myself as a loser, but my confidence started to wane dramatically during this time. I doubted my skills and ability to succeed in academics especially Math, and I became so depressed that I questioned whether life was even worth living. My whole destiny was tied in how I succeed in academics.

The summer after that horrible freshman year, I decided to turn things around by practicing, working hard on the fundamentals of Math, and looking ahead to the upcoming year. As a result, I pulled myself out of my slump. I realized that I couldn't do anything about my past, but I could make a difference in the future. By taking the necessary steps to improve my math skills, I was able to rebuild my self-esteem. It was just a matter of doing my part to boost myself back up- and realizing that nobody else could do it for me.

Sometimes, I have noticed that lot of people confuse self-esteem with arrogance. Arrogance is an over-evaluation of your worth while self-esteem is a healthy opinion of yourself- it's valuing yourself to the point that you don't allow other people or negative situations and circumstance to influence the way you feel about yourself. Unless you value yourself, you won't value anything, and other people won't value you either. After all, the your relationship with yourself is the most important one you'll ever have.

When you're filled with self-doubt, give yourself a little pep talk. I learned this from our mentors. Repeat aloud the following , "A 21 second commercial to Me":

" [YOUR NAME], you are great! You are a unique individual, a new kind of person the world have never known. You were born to do well. You were born to succeed. You were born to bless the lives of others. You were born to be great, and you have what it takes to be great. You are enthusiastic, optimistic and a change-embracer. You are a giver than a taker. You are organized. You are a hard worker. You are happy. You are a master over yourself; you are a leader. You are a big thinker. As blessed you are with all these talents, there isn't one thing in the world you can't do. [Your NAME], go out and make a difference."

By making this profession everyday, you'll experience an awesome self-esteem boost!..Just remember you are priceless- your past is history and your future is now.


Be Proactive

Not many of us can recall all the laws of physics, but most of us remember these: A body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. So a stationary body continues to have no action, but a moving body keeps going..could life really be that simple?

Yes, it can. Life can be put as simply as this: Do nothing, and nothing gets done; do something, and many things get set into motion. We can't sit around expecting success to come to us- we have to break out of our inertia and take action to get what we want.

One of the best contemporary practitioners of the concept of taking action is a man named Nido Qubein. Nido left the Middle East and came to America as a teenager with just $50 in his pocket. Today he is the president and CEO of the Great Harvest Bread Company, owner of several other businesses, and a member of the board of directors for numerous charitable organizations. How did Nido accomplish so much? Well, for one thing, he didn't sit down and bemoan the challenging circumstances life had given him, nor did he wait for people to rescue him. He was proactive, rather than reactive. He took action and set himself in motion, and he hasn't stopped since. Nido is the first to admit that everything he holds dear is a result of acting on his own behalf because he simply wasn't willing to remain in those unfavorable conditions.

Regardless of what you're doing in life, you need to take action. For example, when I'm on the road I check my voicemail often because I want to take action and get back to people as quickly as possible. I'm convinced that this habit has benefited my business, for this seemingly small gesture shows clients, family members, and friends how important they are to me.

What are you doing to put action into your plan? What first step can you take to set you on the path to your goal? You've got to know what you want, because whatever you're seeking will then start to seek you. Knock, and the door will be opened. Don't wait to be be rescued, and don't spend your energy complaining or worrying. Instead define one thing you can do today that will take you one step closer to your ideal situation, your perfect life, or whatever goal or object you desire.

Movement produces momentum. One step is all it takes to begin your journey and as you continue to take steps, you'll move forward and leave the past behind. Also, be sure to celebrate each step you take, and enjoy the fact that you're on your path.


Finish what you start

-Karthik Gurumurthy


Hello everyone, It has been like ten days since I blogged. Lot of good stuff happened in between.

On Jan 6, My wife Shobana and I ran the OC Marathon. We did the half marathon and it was lot of fun. Totally about 16, 000 people participated and out of that 4,921 finished it. It was a fantastic experience running the 13 mile stretch and meeting different kinds of people who participated in this event. This time, Shobana and I did not train for this event. But next time, Shobana and I would be lot more prepared for this event. Our goal was to complete it and we were glad that we did it.

Several years ago, Parade magazine carried a story about Olympic marathon runner John Akhwari from Tanzania. During the '68 Olympic games, Akhwari was the last runner to finish the grueling 26-mile race. His leg was bloodied and bandaged because he had fallen and severely injured his knee. When he painfully hobbled across the finish line, a reporter approached him and asked why he hadn't quit. He said " My country did not send me (here) to start the race. They sent me to finish."

Akhwari stayed focused on the end result-finishing the race- rather than the fact that his injury ruined his chances of winning. If he had given his attention to the challenge rather than the finish line, he would have given up on the race. You must have the same attitude when it comes to completing those things you've set your mind to accomplish. Even it looks impossible or negative situations arise, make a decision to complete the task at hand. It is not enough to set goals for yourself, if you fail to complete the steps necessary to achieve those goals.

Shobana and I witnessed so many people quitting within 100 yards of the finish line. Many people have dreams and visions that never materialize because they're not committed to completing them, and it isn't uncommon for people to start things that they never finish. Don't let distractions, complacency and hardships keep you from success: Commit to completion in everything you undertake.