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November 2009

Exception mentality

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I am currently reading the book "Flipping the Switch" by John G. Miller. Got a lot from the readings today. One thing which stood out was the discussion about "Exception mentality". The author had mentioned five roadblocks to learning. One of them being "Exception mentality".

What that means is, when we learn from a book or a speaker, we feel it is a great content that can be useful for certain person or a group but certainly it doesn't apply to me!. There is a lesson here we should all keep in mind: "We tend to teach to others what we need to hear ourselves."

Meaning: If we hear an idea and immediately think of other people who really need it, that's a good sign we may need the idea more than they do. This can be a challenging thing, but one I have certainly found to be true in my own life. I am guilty of this tendency too. Whenever we feel the urge to teach others, we have to ask ourselves the same question. Yes, we tend to teach to others what we need to hear ourselves.

When you think, I really know someone who needs to hear this, stop and  consider if you can apply it to yourself first by asking the question to yourself " How can I use this in my life"?.

This is a big eye-opener for me. I am glad atleast I found this blindspot.

I am thankful to..

-Karthik Gurumurthy

This is Thanksgiving across US.

This is the perfect time of year to live the holiday. Write a list of what you are most thankful for. The people, your home, your job, your family and friends. Make that list and try and make it at least 20 items long. If you can do more (I believe you can do 100 if you took some time and thought about it), do more! We have all heard of the law of attraction, what you give is what you get. The more thankful you are. the more you will see return back to you. I truly believe this.

Here are my top 20 things that I am thankful for (not necessarily in that order) :

My parents, Shobana, Aravind /Meenakshi,  Susi /Anu, Vijay/Bhavana,  Dr. A.K. Mishra,  Dr. K.S. Viswanathan, , Sankara School, Tulane University, Chitra , business team of entrepreneurs who believed in us , future friends,  sceptical negative people who challenged me in my beliefs, the current recession,  my drinking water, my country, my good health, Irvine, the ability to read and write.

 Make a list and be honest about it. Then read it out aloud. Don’t be shy. Instead of complaining what you are going through, you can be thankful that you have the opportunity to have the problem. There is some one in the obituary list who would be happy to have your problem.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Ideas are useless

by Karthik Gurumurthy

Controversial title for my entry today? Perhaps. But I think it's true.

I have heard so many people say that ideas are the currency of success and we become what we consider all day long.

Sid Ganguly shared in FED that, ideas without execution is mere delusion. 


In other words, an idea - no matter how big - only assumes value when it's acted upon and brought to life.

This world of ours is full of great thinkers who never realized their greatness. They were strong on the thinking piece but weak on the execution side. And they suffered as a result of that constraint.  Achievers get both right. They are superb strategically and brilliant tactically. Really creative and really good at getting things done.

So jump start your commitment around execution. Yes, capture your ideas and bask in the glow of a brilliant thought. And then reach deep into your inner power and have the discipline to do whatever it takes on a daily basis to make the idea a reality.

Do it now

by Karthik Gurumurthy

One of the things that the author and pastor Joel Osteen emphasizes in "Its your time" is about Power of NOW. It is so true.

Procrastination eats potentially great lives. Doing what you know you need to do now – now - is a brilliant strategy to get to world-class. Leadership is all about doing what's right versus easy. It's about aligning your daily actions with your deepest values - and highest goals. And please remember: one of the things that define a leader (and everyone has the opportunity to show leadership behavior each day) is that leaders do the things that mediocre performers don't like doing - even though they don't like doing them either. But their commitment to their ideals is far stronger than the strength of their immediate impulses.

Successful communicators

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I was reading about the traits of successful communicators. Here are 6 of the most common things that uncommonly good communicators do:

1. They tell stories and paint pictures through the words they use.

2. They are interesting and entertaining.

3. They are sincere and authentic.

4. They are able to distill complexity into simplicity.

5. They radiate passion.

6. They listen spectacularly well.

I have observed all of these traits in  great communicators. If you can put a check mark in each of these traits, you are good. If not, hone your skills. There's zero doubt in my mind that you were made to become a masterful communicator.

Nuggets from It's your time

-by Karthik Gurumurthy



I am currently reading "It's your time" by Joel Osteen. Lot of valuable nuggets from todays' reading. I would like to share whatever I could recollect from my notes.

You are closer to your goals than you think. Greatest difficulty always comes right before the birth of a dream. You may not realize that you are in labor right now. When you have struggle, you could say, " This is the greatest attack I've ever faced."

Instead of getting down and thinking, "Poor old me", learn to turn it around and say, "Yes, this is the greatest attack that I've ever been through, but I know it means that I'm headed for the greatest victory that I've ever seen.". Remember it's always darkest before the dawn.

It is so important to keep reminding yourself that Creator of the Universe is directing the steps. He has you in the palm of his hands. And even though this is difficult, I know it is a matter of time before it turns around. Just know that the payday is coming.

Remember to fan that flame. Thank you God that I will have strong finances. Thank you that you are leading me and guiding me.

God is in complete control- so be a prisoner of hope.

Get up each day expecting his favor.

God is breathing new life into your dreams.

Tell yourself each and everyday. The tide is coming back. Today is the day. I am closer to achieving the goals than I think.

It is always darkest before the dawn.

I know God is in control. At the right time, he will bring the right person and the right opportunity. Always remind yourself that your time is coming.

Don't let bad breaks change your meaning and purpose. You may been through unfair situations. Let me assure you God still has a great plan for your life. When you go through tough situations you can say, I may have been through a lot, but I have come too far to stop now. I refuse to get bitter. I refuse to live life in the negative. I know God has great things in store.

When you feel like dying, you should talk about living. When you feel like giving up, you should talk about pressing forward. My good time is coming. I am a victor and not a victim.

No matter how long it's been, no matter how tempted you are to get discouraged, get up every morning and just declare it by faith. "My time is coming, The promise is on me, and I will not die until I see it come to pass".

Your best days are not behind you. They are still out in front of you. God will open up new opportunities. He will bring the right people across your path because you've been faithful.

Stay in faith. Be a prisoner of hope. God will put the right people in your path. You must block out negative thoughts and say, "you know what, this is for me. With my faith, I will ignite this moment. With my faith I will bring forth the dream on the inside".  Scripture encourages us to fan the flame.

It is my time to come up to a new level. I have seen it happen for others, but it's my time to see God's blessings and favor. It is my time to accomplish my dreams.

I want you to have a bigger vision for your life. In your future there are God-ordained moments, he has them planned out for you.

David Psalm 31:15 "God, I already know you have supernatural breaks planned out for me. You have the right people, the right opportunities, so I will not be stressed out. I will stay in peace knowing that you will get me to my final destination."

God has preordained moments of favor for you. He has already lined up the right people, the right breaks, the right opportunities. He's prearranged them for your future.

You will look back one day and say, "Man that was a blessed opportunity. I could have never orchestrated that all on my own."

God has marked moments of favor for restoration. He knows how to get back on the right track.

So go ahead and get your hopes up. Believe that no matter what you have or your haven't done, your best days are still out in front of you. In God's eyes, your future is looking extremely bright.

Every setback is simply a setup for a comeback. God not only wants to bring you out better off than you were before.

God is not limited by the economy. God is not limited by our education or lack of it. God is not limited by the environment we were raised in. God is limited by your beliefs. Believe that things are shifting in your favor.

When you sense it is your season, you need to declare it. Words have creative power. You may not feel well., but it's good to announce."Health is coming my way. I will live and not die".

When you stay in faith, God will cause you to hear what you need to hear.

I can hear the sound of abundance. I can hear the sound of health. I can hear the sound of restoration. I may not be able to see it, but that's okay. I can sense it down inside. I know my set time for favor is coming. I  know my hour of deliverance is on its way.

You have been preprogrammed to live a victorious life. Each one of us has potential waiting to be released. All of us have gifts just waiting to be activated.

What others say and do cannot stop you from fulfilling your destiny. What somebody says about you doesn't change the DNA God put in you. You have a purpose. You have a destiny that is not given to you by other people. Your destiny was handed down by Almighty God.

If you'll stay in faith, no matter what has come against you, at the right time your seeds of greatness will activate and you will fulfil your God-given destiny.



-Karthik Gurumurthy


You can not build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” Henry Ford

I love this quote by Henry Ford. It speaks to me about one of the qualities I most admire in excellent leaders. The quality of walking the talk, of following through and being a person who does what they say they will do.

As a leader, other people watch us. They pay attention to what we do and who we are. They notice when we make mistakes, when we are having an off day and what we do when hard times come. They watch how we interact with others and they notice how others interact with us. And they especially pay attention to our follow-through. They will notice if we do what we say we will do. They will either trust us or not. Our reputation is built on doing what we say – not on what we say we will do.

Our word means something. If we say we are going to do something – we had better do it – our reputation depends on it. And so does our effectiveness as a leader. If our team members do not trust that we will do what we say we are going to do – we lose their trust, morale decrease and our reputation is damaged.

So how do we make this happen? What do excellent leaders know about building an excellent reputation and doing what we say we will do?

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it” Benjamin Franklin

Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.” Elizabeth Arden

A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos


-Karthik Gurumurthy

I have been aware of my own need to develop excellent listening skills lately. Most of this awareness has unfortunately come from spending time with others who do not know how to listen. Not being listened to isn’t fun. And it has made me more aware that I’m often the one who doesn’t listen.

Listening is an important skill. If we desire to be excellent in business and in life – it’s imperative that we learn to listen and listen well.

The sad truth is that most of us pay little attention to being excellent listeners. We want to talk and be heard at the expense of listening to other. We want to say what we think, be in the lime light and be the star of the conversation. Yet how do we expect to be heard, if we will not listen?

The benefits of listening are huge. When you learn to listen effectively you’ll be able to influence any organization. You’ll see opportunities for growth and increased productivity. Your customers will be drawn to you and want to do business with you. You’ll keep and grow life long relationships. You’ll be able to manage conflicts more effectively. You’ll be more creative and connected. You’ll grow as a leader and draw people to you. The bottom line is that by being a better listener, you will be more influential in all you do.

Many of you know – I love to talk. Yet not everyone wants to hear me talk all the time – they often just want me to listen. I have to remind myself that I’m not always the “speaker” and that I don’t need to run at the mouth constantly. No one wants to be around someone who consistently dominates the conversation. And no one wants to just listen. We all want a chance to talk and to be heard.

I have developed an inner radar. Thanks to Shobana for creating the awareness in me. I just knew I needed to pay attention to how much I talked and how effectively I listened. I began paying attention to my conversations. I began noticing how much time I spent talking and how much time I spent listening. The sad results were that I talked way more than I listened – ouch!

In order to begin training myself to listen more effectively – I shut up. I let the other person talk. I asked questions and removed distractions. I often literally bit my tongue. And in doing so, I learned. I learned things from my clients, my friends and from my mentor how to listen . I also learned that people genuinely respond to active listening. When I listened, others were able to shine and when they did – I learned.

I believe we can all practice the art of listening and develop it into a skill. The best communicators I know are also the best listeners. Below are some tips for developing better listening skills.

Tips for Developing Listening Skills

1. Attention. Give your full attention to the speaker. When you are on the phone, just listen. Give your full attention to the speaker.
2. Focus. Focus on the speaker and what he or she is saying. Do not plan what you will say next. By planning what you’ll say next, you’re not listening.
3. Let other person finish. Do not begin talking until the other person is finished. It’s okay to ask them if they are done.
4. Don’t start. Don’t start talking immediately. Let the words of the other person sink in and then think about what you want to say. There can be silence in conversations.
5. Important points. When you begin speaking, review the important points of the speaker. Make sure you heard them correctly.
6. Ask questions. People love to have others ask them questions.
7. Give feedback. Let the other person know what you think about their comments and ideas.
8. Be quiet. Speaking less and listening more is a good thing. I have personally observed Kanti Gala practice this all the time. The old saying goes – you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use your ears.
9. I have learned from Shobana how to be Other centered. Life is not all about us. We need to remind ourselves of this often. Focus on others. What are their strengths? What can they contribute? And how can I allow them to be the center of the conversation?
10. Let them be the star! People want to shine. They want to be heard and to be a star. Let them. We don’t need to shine all the time. By allowing others the chance to shine – we develop other leaders and bring out the best in people.

"I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen.Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions." Lee Iacocca

May you actively listen today!