Previous month:
December 2009
Next month:
February 2010

January 2010

Measure of Success

-Karthik Gurumurthy

 Success 

Why does life throw challenges and crisis at us, like the crisis we have all been dealing with for the last year with the recession and all?

Because that is the only way we will change. It is the only way we will rid ourselves of evil, bad habits, greed, ego and the wrong priorities.  It’s human nature wanting to stay the course, not to rock the boat, and usually the only way we will change is if we are forced into it by some outside influence, i.e. financial crisis,  illness, catastrophe.  We have to look at the challenges as an opportunity and as a way to re-prioritize what is important.

What has happened with most people last year is they are consumed, by what has been taken away and not focused on being thankful for what they have and the opportunities of tomorrow.  Step back for a moment – the reason things get taken away, the reason life throws us challenges and crisis is because it is the only way we will wake up and quit overlooking those things which are really most important in life – our family, our friends, our health, our spirituality, balance, etc.  Challenge and crisis gets thrown at us because it is the only thing that will slap us in the face hard enough to get our attention. Think back in our life to a time of crisis – yes we may have lost something. There may have been a scare in our life of some kind, and with that crisis a door opened. A new person appeared when you looked in the mirror, usually a better person, a more thankful person, a more humble person, a more caring person, and a person with better priorities.

In every crisis and in every challenge there is an opportunity. We just have to find it.  But, until we let go of the pain and anger of what we have lost, and focus on all that we have which is really most important, the agony will not stop.  And, once we do focus on what we have, life will be even better than it was before. This week and beyond, let us all make a commitment EVERYDAY to give thanks and be grateful for everything and everyone we have in our life.   If we can do this on a day-to-day basis, not only will the pain stop, but life will be better and we will be more at peace than ever before.

Remember, life is about who we become and how we grow when faced with challenge, with crisis, and with pain.  It is what life is all about. It is why we are here.  So let us step back and look in the mirror, who are we becoming?


Nuggets from Rose

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Got this email as a forward few years back. Powerful message..

Enjoy..

Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional


The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m 87 years old. Can I give you a hug?"
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends.

Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk non-stop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began: "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success."

  • "You have to laugh and find humor every day."
  •  "You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!"
  • "There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change."
  •  "Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." 

"The Rose"

Some say love, it is a river,
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor,
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless, aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you, it's soul the seed.
It's a heart afraid of breaking,
That never learns to dance;
It's the dream, afraid of waking,
That never takes the chance;
Its the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give;
And the soul, afraid of dying,
That never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely,
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong:
Just remember, in the winter,
Far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love
In the Spring, becomes the rose.

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be…..YOU!!

Remember, growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
If God brings you to it ... he will bring you through it. It’s better to try and fail, than fail to try.

Law of the Garbage Truck

Karthik Gurumurthy

Got this as an email forward.

Enjoy..

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was really friendly.. So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks.

They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.

As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you.. Don't take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.

Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...

Love the people who treat you right.

Pray for the ones who don't.

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

-DJP


Nuggets from Laws of Lifetime Growth

-Karthik Gurumurthy

At what age, did we stop growing taller? The age when the human body stops getting taller is debatable, but it’s somewhere between the ages of 16 and 21. I often wonder at what age most leaders stop growing. Unfortunately,most people settle into average by the end of their twenties'. Rarely will you find a person committed to a comprehensive personal growth plan into their 30’s, 40’s, or beyond.

As children we grew year after year with some growth spurts, sometimes unnoticeably, but our bodies were always growing.

The growth of a leader can be similar. At times, it may feel like the wheels are spinning and no headway is being made. In other seasons, new breakthroughs and victories are clear indicators of a growth spurt. To grow consistently, the key is to manage your daily agenda. I wish I could pass along an easier solution or secret formula for leadership growth, but daily discipline makes all the difference between growth and stagnation.

I would like to share some nuggets from the book "The Laws of Lifetime Growth", written by Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura.

 Laws


1.  Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past.

“The past is useful because it is rich with experiences that are worth thinking about in new ways-and all of these valuable experiences can become raw material for creating an even bigger future. Approach your past with this attitude, and you will have an insatiable desire for even better, more enjoyable experiences. Use your past to continually create a bigger future, and you will separate yourself from situations, relationships, and activities that can trap you there.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. We spend each day either repairing the past or preparing for the future. We can try to fix our past, but we can’t rewrite it; we can only author our future.

The future is that time when you’ll wish you had done what you aren’t doing now. Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.

 Glory


2. Always Make Your Contribution Bigger Than Your Reward.

“As you become more successful, numerous rewards will come your way: greater income, praise, recognition, reputation, status, capabilities, resources, and opportunities. These are all desirable things, but they can be growth stoppers. They may tempt you to become fixated on just the rewards, rather than focus on making still greater contributions. The way to guarantee that rewards will continually increase is to not think too much about them. Instead, continue making an even more significant contribution.”

To make your contribution bigger than your reward, adopt an anti-entitlement attitude. Believe you must give before you receive. Expect to serve before feeling like you deserve a reward. Determine success by the seeds you sow rather than the harvest you reap. Each morning, I ask myself, “Who can I add value to and how can I do it?” It’s amazing how much I’ve been able to contribute by answering this simple question each day and following through to help a friend or colleague.

3.  Always Make Your Performance Greater Than Your Applause.

“The greatest performers in all fields are those who always strive to get better. No matter how much acclaim they receive, they keep working to improve their performance. Continually work to surpass everything you’ve done so far, and your performance will always be greater than your applause.”

To make sure your performance stays a step ahead or your applause, be growth-driven instead of goal-driven. I’m not criticizing goals, but if we aren’t careful, they can limit our growth. If we set them too high, they de-motivate us. If we set them too low, we are tempted to relax when we hit them rather than pushing for our best performance. Growth is a long and consistent process. No substitutions can be made or shortcuts taken which avoid the day-to-day process of growth.


4. Always Make Your Gratitude Greater Than Your Success.


“Only a small percentage of people are continually successful over the long run. These outstanding few recognize that every success comes through the assistance of many other people – and they are continually grateful for this support.”

We see the value in people and things through proactive gratitude. Once we see this value, we naturally treat these people and things with greater respect. People and resources are drawn to where they are valued most. The world responds to gratitude by making more of everything we appreciate available to us.

To adopt an attitude of thankfulness, Oprah Winfrey keeps a gratitude journal. She recommends her habit to others: “Every night, list five things that happened this day that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life. If you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see that the universe is abundant; you will have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.”

Nuggets from "Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires"

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I've just finished a fantastic book "Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires" and I would like to share some of the highlights from the book.  I would strongly encourage everyone to get this book and study it and apply the principles in it.  I believe it will make a huge difference in your life and in everything you do.  I would also recommend it to everyone you care about, especially your children or any young person or couple that is just getting started in life.  It's basic, but it's powerful.


  • To rise above the majority, we must develop qualities and disciplines that the average person lacks.
  • There are more than seven million millionaires in America, most of them self-made, and the number is growing by 15-20% per year. 
  • The most important factor in becoming a millionaire is not the money, it's the kind of person we become in the process. 
  • The Law of Cause and Effect says that every reaction (effect) was created by an action (cause).  When we learn and apply the secrets of self-made millionaires we can cause the effects we desire. 
  • Nobody is better than you.  One of the main reasons we sell ourselves short is because we think people who are doing better than us are better than us.  That is simply not true.  They have simply done better than us to this point in life, but they are not better than us. 
  • When we think the same thoughts and do the same things as self-made millionaires do, we can expect similar results and rewards.  It's a matter of cause and effect. 
  • Dream big dreams; only big dreams have the power to move men's souls.   We always move in the direction of our dominant thoughts. 
  • A person with a clear purpose will make progress on even the roughest road.  A person without a clear purpose will make no progress even on the smoothest road.  
  • Always think on paper.  Write down your dreams and goals, then create an action plan to achieve them. 
  • See yourself as self-employed regardless of who signs your check.   It will make you more responsible and you'll be given more opportunities to succeed. 
  • The quality of our life is determined by the depth of our commitment to excellence.  Resolve today to be the best at all you do. 
  • Our life only gets better when we get better.  We cannot become better at everything at once, but we can become better at one thing at a time. 
  • Self-made millionaires work an average of 59 hours a week.   Resolve today to start earlier and work later than anyone else and you will separate yourself from the masses. 
  • Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any endeavor.  Our mind is like a muscle; it only develops with use.  Reading is to our mind what exercise is to our muscles. 
  • Lifelong learning is a major factor in becoming a self-made millionaire.  Determine today to never stop learning. 
  • Save a portion of all that you earn.  If you cannot save money, the seeds of financial greatest are not within you. 
  • The marketplace pays excellent rewards for excellent performance; average rewards for average performance; below average rewards, frustration and failure for below average performance. 
  • Our success in life is in direct proportion to what we do after we do what is expected of us. 
  • All lasting success is built on trust.  Integrity is the key to earning trust.  Be honest with yourself and all others that you interact with. 
  • Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.  It is the single most important quality you must develop to become a self-made millionaire. 
  • Successful people are concerned with pleasing results, unsuccessful people are more concerned with pleasing methods.  
  • Every act of self-discipline strengthens other areas of our life.  Self-discipline increases our self-esteem. 
  • Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, said ... "If you want to be successful faster, you must double your rate of failure.  Success lies on the far side of failure." 
  • The courage to persist in the face of adversity and disappointment is the one quality absolutely essential to becoming a self-made millionaire.

Dealing with Disappointments

-Karthik Gurumurthy


Alexander the Great conquered Persia, but broke down and wept because his troops were too exhausted to push on to India.

Let’s face it, we all experience disappointments both personally and professionally.

My encouragement to you with regard to personal disappointments is to forgive yourself; cut yourself some slack, get over yourself. Once you have identified the cause of your personal disappointment you are now empowered to make corrections. Identify what went wrong, accept responsibility for your part, make corrections, and get moving. Simply put, life is too short to wallow in self- pity.

In his book, Failing Forward, John Maxwell writes, “In contrast, someone who is unable to get over previous hurts and failures is held hostage by the past. The baggage he carries around makes it very difficult for him to move forward. In fact, in more than thirty years of working with people, I have yet to meet a successful person who continuously dwelled on his past difficulties.”Life will be filled with disappointments and mistakes, but we must not allow them to own us or defeat us. Too often we try to justify our anger, our bitterness, and our grudge. In the end, it only hurts one person.

In order to be successful in leading others, you have to successfully lead yourself. Choosing the right attitude when wronged or disappointed by others may be difficult, but in the end, your rise to the next level as a leader depends on it. Choose wisely.


Obstacles or Opportunities?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

While there is still a long way to go, we are slowly seeing signs that the economy is trying to make a comeback. 

I am reminded of a story narrated by Swami Sukhabodananda about how a king in ancient times placed a big rock on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the rock out of the way.

Rock

Then a person came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the rock, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the person picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a wallet lying in the road where the boulder had been. The wallet contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the rock from the roadway. The person learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

Every obstacle you have faced on the road the past year or two with the economic downturn presents valuable lessons that you might not have considered. From under the rock on the road contains a precious wallet with a few nuggets of truth that are reminders for us today.

First, successful people solve problems. Many of the king’s merchants and courtiers walked around the rock. Consequently, they did not receive the gold coins which are indicative of many today. Success comes to those who in the face of obstacles will work hard to remove the obstacles before them. Others prefer to walk around obstacles and pretend it is not there or blame someone for it.

Someone once said, “If Columbus had turned back, no one could have blamed him, but no one would have remembered him.” The successful person will roll up his sleeves and with determination move the obstacle. It may take a while and will certainly not be easy, but the reward will be worth it. What will you do with the obstacle on your path?

Second, rocks are the measuring devices of your creative powers. For many, a rock on their pathway is a nuisance, an irritation on the way to some place else. While the king’s men likely cursed the rock the person chose a different approach. While no one wants a rock on their path like a recession, how you choose to respond to it will make all the difference.

I read a story about fashion designer Sandra. As a student, Sandra was given a project to design clothing that would go against her natural inclinations--clothes that she didn't like. She came up with a line of economical, one-size-fits-all, modular clothing for women. The investment paid off. Within a few years, more than $100 million had been sold from her collection, and she had made millions in royalties. All because she put her natural inclinations aside and investigated something different.

Sandra chose to design clothes that were not appealing to her and became quite wealthy in the process. Her creativity paid off. What will you do with the obstacles on your path?

Obstacles provide opportunity. The truth is- opportunities often come in a disguise. Not every rock is an obstacle. Sometimes it’s a reward waiting to be discovered.

The next time you stumble upon a rock on your path, pause before you curse it or the one who put it there. Keep in mind that what lies underneath quite possibly could change your life.


Teachability and commitment

Motivation

by Karthik Gurumurthy

In his book, The 360° Leader, John Maxwell shares a humorous story of a turkey that was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”

“Well,” replied the bull, “why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings? They’re packed with nutrients.”

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally, after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. But he was promptly spotted by a hunter, who shot him out of the tree.

What is the moral of the story?

 BS might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.”

Growing or moving to higher level is about reaching your full potential as a person regardless of where you are within the organizational structure. 

Progress as a leader is made when you bloom where you are planted and remain faithful in the small things.

I work with junior tennis players who are enrolled in independent study programs. Some of them have very good ATP ranking. I have observed these boys and girls playing hard every single day. From time-to-time,  I chat with them about how many hours they spend practicing on a day-to-day basis. On an average these players spend 3-4 hours every single day working on themselves sharpening their edges. That makes them future professionals.

My mentor TD always says that people who work as an amateur makes amateur income and people who work like a professional makes professional income. That means to succeed, one needs to be a good student and learn all we can. A wise leader is on a quest to learn all he can. Henry Ford said, “Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”

Leaders embrace learning through books, mentors, colleagues, and competitors. You can learn without leading, but you can never lead without learning.

Make yourself useful to others. You grow as a leader when you invest in the lives of others. The mark of a true leader is not in what he takes but in what he gives.

Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” A leader grows when he helps others grow.

Set high expectations. When you set high expectations as a leader you are committing yourself to growing beyond where you are today to become who you want to be tomorrow.

Let us all grow and move forward and make 2010 a year of significance.


Sense of urgency

-Karthik Gurumurthy

For people from India, I wish you all a very Happy Pongal:Makara Sankranti: Baisakhi Greetings.

These festivals symbolize the destruction of evil (in the form of burning of junk). From time to time, we also need to slow down to reflect what we have learned from the past experiences and take some time to clearly identify where we are going and identify and burn the activities which might slow us in our mission.

 Urgency_

Last weekend, Shobana and I took sometime to do that and it really clarified few of our focal points. These focal points really helped in changing the priorities and also gave a sense of urgency to the goals we both set for this year. All achievers take some time to do this "action orientation."

It really helps to take the time to think, plan and set priorities. Once we do that, we can launch quickly and strongly toward the goals and objectives. It is not a one-day show but achievers work on the priorities steadily, smoothly and continuously and seem to go through enormous amounts of work in the same time period that the average person spends socializing, frittering time and working on low value things.  Once we work on high value tasks at a high and continuous level of activity, we can actually enter into state of flow. We feel elated and clear.  Once we get into that flow we also feel happy and energized. We also experience a tremendous sense of calm and personal effectiveness.  I am sure everyone has experienced this feeling at some point of time.

The best way we can trigger this state is by developing a "sense of urgency". This is the inner drive and desire to get on with the job quickly and get it done fast. This inner drive is an impatience that motivates us to get going and to keep going. A sense of urgency feels very much like racing against ourself. If I feel like I have all day to do something, I’ll take all day to do it – it’s Parkinson’s Law (“Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion”)

With the sense of urgency, we become action oriented rather than talking continually about what we are going to do. We focus on specific steps we can take immediately. We concentrate on the things we can do right now to get the results you want and achieve the goals you desire.