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March 2008

Know your expertise

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Expertise is not the sole domain of a rare breed of person. Both you and I are entitled to that label and to play in that space - if you choose. Here's the big idea: focus on any area or skill with a relentless devotion to daily improvement and a passion for excellence and within three to five years, you will be operating at a level of competence (and insight) such that people call you a expert. Focus plus daily improvement plus time equals expert. Understand that formula deeply and your life will never be the same.

Michael Jordan was a basketball genius. Was his spectacular success on the court purely the result of natural gifts? Absolutely not. He took what nature gave him and ran the formula: focus plus daily improvement plus time creates pro. He didn't try to be good at five different sports. He didn't scatter his focus. He just got devoted to being brilliant at basketball. And he was. Or think of Thomas Edison, the man registered a stunning 1093 patents over his lifetime and invented the light bulb as well as the phonograph (a schoolteacher labeled him a slow learner when he was a kid; he didn't listen. Awesome.). He didn't try to be a great merchant and a great poet and a great musician. He focused on his inventions. He improved daily. And he let time work its magic. Genius came knocking. Makes me think of the story of Pablo Picasso. One day a woman spotted him in the market and pulled out a piece of paper. "Mr. Picasso," she said excitedly. "I'm a big fan. Please, could you do a little drawing for me?" Picasso happily complied and quickly etched out a piece of art for her on the paper provided. He then smiled as he handed it back to her. "That will be a million dollars," "But Mr. Picasso, "the woman replied, flustered.”It only took you thirty seconds to do this little masterpiece." "My good woman," Picasso laughed, "It took me thirty years to do that masterpiece in thirty seconds."

Know what you can excel at - your 'strengths'. Discover your strengths and then work like crazy to polish them. One of the most important of all personal leadership skills is self-awareness. Know what you are really great at. Reflect on those abilities that others admire in you. Think about those capabilities that just come easy to you - and that flow effortlessly from you. You might be a fantastic communicator or have a way with people. You might possess an extraordinary ability to execute and get things done. Perhaps your special talent involves innovation and creativity and seeing what everyone else sees but thinking a different thought. Find your strengths and then develop them. Focus plus daily improvement plus time. Start today and in three to five years people will be writing about you. Calling you a leader/specialist. Celebrating your magnificence.


by Dr. John C. Maxwell

For my whole life, I have opened my car door by inserting a metal key into a physical lock. Now, I can unlock the doors and start the car at the push of a button. It seems like magic to me, but it’s actually a simple application of science.

Keyless entry and keyless ignition are made possible when a transmitter within your key fob communicates with a radio receiver inside the car. Two conditions are necessary for this communication to take place: 1) the transmitter must be set to the same frequency as the receiver, and 2) the transmitter must send a uniquely coded message which the receiver has been programmed in advance to recognize.

Communication acts as a leader’s “keyless entry” into relationships. It can open the mind of an employer, the wallet of investors, and the hearts of loved ones. Talented communicators seem magical when they weave their words together. However, much like the concept of keyless entry, great communication depends on two simple skills—context and delivery. Context attunes a leader to the same frequency as his or her audience. Delivery allows a leader to phrase messages in a language the audience can understand.

As we explore context and delivery, we’ll draw upon Steven K. Scott’s book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived. In the book, Scott offers commentary on the words of King Solomon, the wealthiest man in history. Renowned for his wisdom, Solomon writings are filled with advice about effective communication.


Listen before Speaking
“He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him.” ~ Proverbs 18:13

Earn the right to be heard by listening to others. Seek to understand a situation before making judgments about it. As the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, observed, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Understand Human Nature
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” ~ Proverbs 12:18

Words are powerful, and they can build up or tear down those who hear them. Regardless of your audience or avenue of communication, the following principles enable you to communicate constructively.

People are insecure. Leaders can bestow confidence by demonstrating their trust and belief in a person’s abilities. People want to feel special. Leaders win a loyal following when they are generous with compliments and acts of appreciation. People are looking for a better future. Leaders inspire through an optimistic outlook and words of hope. People are selfish. Leaders learn to motivate when they begin speaking to the needs of their people.

Be Emotionally Aware
“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day…is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” ~ Proverbs 25:20

Communicating within context involves taking the emotional temperature of others. Pay attention to facial expressions, voice inflection, and posture. They give clues to a person’s mood and attitude.


Adopt an Appropriate Tone
“A soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger.” ~ Proverbs 15:1

When you’re emotionally aware, you’re halfway to effective communication, but you still have to deliver your words appropriately. Many times it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Adopt a fitting tone to address the emotional state of those around you, and your words will have their desired effect.

Speak Persuasively
“The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips.” ~ Proverbs 16:23

The National Storytelling Festival, held in Jonesborough, Tennessee features some of America’s most captivating communicators. Listen for awhile, and you’ll discover traits that allow them to persuade listeners to take interest in the stories they tell.

Enthusiasm. The storytellers obviously enjoy what they are doing, expressing themselves with joy and vitality. Animation. The presentations are marked by lively facial expressions and gestures. Audience Participation. Almost every storyteller involves the audience in some way, asking listeners to sing, clap, repeat phrases, or do sign language. Spontaneity. None of the storytellers have notes. The festival is truly an oral event. Storytellers didn’t read their stories; they tell them, which allowed for eye contact.

Be Honest
“He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.” ~ Proverbs 10:18

In an effort to persuade, leaders may be tempted to cross the line into manipulation. When doing so, facts may be fabricated or spun deceptively. Lies add complexity to life since the liar has to operate under the guise of falsehood. Eventually, lies are brought to light and undermine credibility. Leaders protect their character by using discretion in their language. They speak truthfully—even when honesty is costly.


Poor communication is the number one culprit of failed relationships—in business and at home. Since relationships are the foundation of success, leaders would be wise to invest in the communication skills of context and delivery. Master them, and you’ll more easily gain favor, more readily make friends, and more effectively motivate others.

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

What is Important?


Real success is not to be sought after in the outer world, but discovered in your inner world. I am not putting down the stuff of life. We all want the things that life offers.

But we don't need as much as we think we do.

Sooner or later you will discover that real success is to be found in loving relationships. With your family, friends, strangers, and anyone who crosses your path. It is kindness shared, support given and received, listening, giving and caring.

These will endure while your car rusts, your toys break, and you tire of the temporary gratifications that bring you what you think is real.

What matters is people.

What lasts is love. What counts are true friends, and if you treasure these you can yourself a success.

Laugh at your own mistakes

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Have you ever noticed that the funniest movies are the ones where everything goes wrong. From the classic ones of Laurel and Hardy; Charlie Chaplin to modern day stars like Jim Carrey or Jerry Seinfeld, it is easy to see that the funniest things are the problems, irritations and annoyances we face.

Next time, you find yourself having one of those not-so-good days, remind yourself not to take life so seriously. Laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. Laugh at life when it throws every curve ball imaginable. Laugh when you can't find your keys/ cell phone, when you fall down and get a stain in your white shirt. Ever heard the saying "You'll look back at this and laugh one day"..Why bother waiting? Go ahead and laugh about it now.

Just wanted to quote what Abraham Lincoln said regarding this.

"Most folks are just as happy as they make up their minds to be"

Just relax and have some fun.

Law of Sowing and Reaping

(This forward was sent by one of my friend. I enjoyed reading it and if we all could understand and think this way, there will be no more disappointments in any aspect of life. Easier said than actually doing it:)

Take a look at an apple tree. There might be five hundred apples on the tree, each with ten seeds. That's a lot of seeds. We might ask, "Why would you need so many seeds to grow just a few more trees?"

Nature has something to teach us here. It's telling us: "Most seeds never grow. So if you really want to make something happen, you had better try more than once.
This might mean:

You'll attend twenty interviews to get one job.
You'll interview forty people to find one good employee.
You'll talk to fifty people to sell one house, car, vacuum cleaner, insurance policy, or idea. And you might meet a hundred acquaintances to find one special friend.

When we understand the "Law of Sowing and Reaping", we don't get so disappointed. We stop feeling like victims. Laws of nature are not things to take personally. We just need to understand them - and work with them.

Successful people fail more often. They plant more seeds.
When Things Are beyond Your Control, Here's a recipe for permanent misery:

a) Decide how you think the world SHOULD be.
b) Make rules for how everyone SHOULD behave.

Then, when the world doesn't obey your rules, get angry!
That's what miserable people do!
Let's say you expect that:
Friends SHOULD return favors.
People SHOULD appreciate you.
Planes SHOULD arrive on time.
Everyone SHOULD be honest.
Your spouse SHOULD remember your birthday.

These expectations may sound reasonable. But often, these things won't happen! So you end up frustrated and disappointed. There's a better strategy. Have less demands. Instead, have preferences! For things that are beyond your control, tell yourself: "I WOULD PREFER "A", BUT IF "B" HAPPENS, IT'S OK TOO!" This is really a game that you play in your head. It is a shift in attitude, and it gives you more peace of mind.

You prefer that people are polite ... but when they are rude, it doesn't ruin your day. You prefer sunshine ... but rain is ok!

To become happier, we either need to
a) change the world, or
b) change our thinking.
It is easier to change our thinking!
" It's not what happens to you that determine your happiness. It's how you think about what happens to you. "