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December 2010

It is the most wonderful time of the year

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Christmas is almost here and with it comes for most the celebration season.  It’s the time of the year where we celebrate with family and friends. Eat food and share gifts. The gifts can come in the form of something purchased or they can appear in the form of a visit from a friend or a card in the mail. It truly can be the most wonderful time of the year.

I also believe that this is the most important time to plan your 2011. Why wait until January 1st to start thinking about the new year. What if you take the time now to reflect and evaluate your 2010. Take some time to list your successes, failures, triumphs and tragedies. You need to see how your “season” went to make changes and develop a game plan for the new year ahead. Create four lists; health, family, spiritual/personal growth and wealth. Under these headings write down the key goals that you want to achieve in each category. Plan out your year, where will you be by the end of January, June, September and then December 1st. Be a specific as you can. If you want to be in the best physical shape then be specific, how do you want to look, feel, what do you want to eat, how long do you want to sleep. With Family and friends figure out the connections you want to make, the bonds you want to strengthen and the time you need to spend with those you love. Hug some more, love some more and listen some more. Do the same with the spiritual/personal and wealth.

You get the idea. Make 2011 the best year you can by building momentum towards it now. It could and will be the best year of your life (so far) if you choose.


What is your mindset?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I take my wisdom where ever I can find it. Recently I heard about a young man who dreamed about becoming a bull fighter. The goal in the ring is to stay on the bull for eight seconds. The first six months, the guy worried constantly: "What if I get thrown right away? What if I get trampled? And sure enough, he kept getting thrown before the eight seconds. Then one day, he decided to try something different. Instead of worrying about all that could go wrong, he'd worry about what could go right: "What will I do with the loads of money I will make? What about the fans who want my autograph?". He is now a champion.

As the bullfighter discovered, when we imagine all the things that could go wrong, we create a lot of internal interference, some kind of static in our minds which increases the chances of failure. Our emotional brains want to move away from the possibility of pain, so intentionally or otherwise, we goof up or give up.  When, on the other hand, we focus on all the positive outcomes, our emotional brain is attracted by the possibility of greater pleasure and so it aids in our going toward what we want.

Another reason this happens is because, according to my friend Dr. R who works in neuroscience is that we humans do not think in facts, but in frames. Mindsets are made up of frames of reference (the ways individuals make sense of situations) that lead to the formation of priorities (the relative importance of various options). Shared mindsets within an organization serve as the foundations of culture and ultimately lead to common patterns of behavior. In simple terms, I think these mindsets are the stories we tell ourselves about life that get confirmed over and over because we filter out any conflicting information.

How this relates to change is that each of us has a frame, a story about ourselves and life, that influences everything we think and do. Unless we change the frame, it will be hard to get different results in our lives. I know a friend of mine whose mind-set is that people who have their own business are corrupt. He felt that they are out there to rip off. And guess what- his story keeps coming true. Is it because there are no honest entrepreneurs? Of course not. But he interprets all behavior as proof that he's right, filtering out any trait of the entrepreneur that showed good character, trustworthiness and integrity.

One way to create a new frame is to do what the bull fighter did- create a new positive story about a future self. Then making the necessary changes becomes possible because you have got a new story to live with.

To create a new positive frame, write yourself a letter from your future. Imagine, it is 5 years from now and that future self has accomplished what you want. The you of the future has accomplished the 95% of the goals you had set for yourself. The reason I didn't say 100% is because then there is no reason to live if you have accomplished everything you wanted to achieve.

Are you goal obsessed?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Best selling author Mark Sanborn says, "Goals are great, but there are some few issues one has to watch out for. Technology is great tool but can be used for bad. Food is good, but eat too much of even the best foods and you will experience problems". Once you know about the risks, you can deal with them.

Let us start with a look at the good side of having goals. Goals give us something to aim for. Assuming what we’re aiming for is worth hitting, that much is good. Goals bring focus and structure to business and life. They allow us to benchmark progress or regress, and increase the odds of achieving success intentionally rather than accidentally.


Goals should guide us, but they should never control us. That’s one potential problem with goals. It is really possible to go from  being focussed on goals to being goal-obsessed. Rather than controlling our goals, our goals control us. When we become fixated, we risk paying too much to achieve a goal, or even lose sight of the reason behind the goal. If we get too obsessed, then we leave a trail of destruction in that process where we compromise on the integrity, character and relationship(s). What am I saying?

Let us say your goal is to get A in one of your hard classes. You study hard day and night and still feel that you are unprepared for the exam. But your end goal is 'A'. You feel inadequate about your preparation. So you decide to have a cheat sheet and use it in your exam. What is the end result? You did get an A in the exam. Everybody cheers for you. But you know deep down you didn't earn it.  That is a perfect example of being obsessed with your goal and doing whatever it takes to get it done (even compromising integrity!)

Like Socrates said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living, the unexamined use of goals can prevent us from achieving the success we desire.

One benefit of goal-setting is what we become in the process, whether or not we achieve the goal. I would argue we often learn more from failed attempts than successes.

I believe goals can and sometimes should evolve. While I’m not an advocate of purposeless activity, I do believe, as the old saying goes, that luck favors momentum. I think it better to be in the ocean splashing around than sitting on the beach planning a swim.

Many of the best things that have happened in my life have evolved. I have always been goal-directed, but never goal obsessed. On the few instances where I wanted a goal too much, I found myself disheartened and bitter when I didn’t achieve it. Oddly, once I relaxed my grip on that type of goal, I often achieved it at a later—and better—time. And the goals I didn’t achieve I often found to be far less important than I had imagined.

The purpose of the goal is what powers us; the motivation is in the reason for the goal.
I could give you a goal to earn a million dollars in the next 12 months and it would have little power in your life unless you had a compelling reason to do so.

If, however, you had a close family or friend who needed a life-saving medical procedure not covered by insurance that cost $1 million, you would suddenly and surely be motivated to achieve that goal.

We need to make sure that the reasons for setting a goal are sufficient to motivate us. Compelling reasons result in completed goals.

Can goals slow down performance?

Consider this: what happens if you achieve your goals for the year by the middle of the year? What do you do for the rest of the year? There is something about the security of the achieved goal and human nature that causes us to relax a bit and lift off the gas pedal of achievement. In that funny way, goals can limit our achievement: we stop at goal achievement without achieving our true potential.

If we don’t set them high enough, we achieve them too easily and too soon. As a result we miss achieving more and learning more through the process.

Of course if you set a goal too high, you’ll be demoralized. When you realize your goal is unrealistic and unattainable, you’ll simply quit trying. The hardest part of goal setting is balancing stretch with attainability.

One way to avoid the let-down of goals realized too early or too easily is to simultaneously pursue your potential while going after your goals. Instead of just asking yourself how good you’ve become, ask yourself how good you could be.

And if you get audacious goals—goals you aren’t quite sure you’re capable of achieving—then include some short-term goals that will give you quick and consistent victories. These smaller goals will help you build momentum to go after the big, audacious ones.

Like any good tool used well, goals and goal-setting can enrich your personal and professional life. But the process isn’t perfect and the potential problems I’ve outlined can help you both avoid the downsides and make better use of how you effectively use goals in your life.

Law of Sowing and Reaping

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today I want to talk about something which is very vital and is the difference maker between being successful and not.  It’s a concept based on the realization that life is a lot like “planting apple seeds.”  If you can understand this concept, then you can certainly understand life.


You see, there are four things that happen when you plant apple seeds:


#1: You get apple (not bananas)

# 2: You get the apple later than you planted it.

# 3: You get more apple than you planted.

# 4: You get the apple in proportion to how much apple you planted.

So let’s see how this relates to life…

#1 : You get Apple

This is to say that the results that you’re getting in your life are the results that you’ve planted seeds for.  This is why you should never complain about your life.  You are the one who created it.  You, and you alone, are the creator of your life.

Wouldn’t it be something if you saw an artist complaining about his latest painting; blaming others for how it came out, blaming his mother, “If only she had been more talented, then I would be a better artist.”

…At some point you have to grow-up and take responsibility for your life!

You are the creator of your results, you are reaping the sweet or bitter fruits from the seeds that you have planted. If you don’t like apple, quit planting apple seeds!

# 2: You get the apple later than you planted it

In other words, it takes time to see results.  I have said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it a thousand more, there are no overnight successes, so quit looking for something in exchange for nothing. 
You’re not going to plant apple seeds today, and enjoy apple pie tomorrow.  You work now, you get the results later.  You must sow, before you can reap.

But rest assured, whatever you plant, will produce a harvest.  It will take time, it won’t happen tomorrow, but it will happen.

# 3: You get more apple than you planted

What’s the lesson?  Be careful what you plant, because you will receive more than you planted.  This is a reminder that you shouldn’t go around planting “bad” seeds, because you’re going to reap more bad than you bargained for.

Sow good seeds, treat your neighbor as you would have them treat you, and you will surely bring in a wonderful harvest, a harvest fit for a king.

# 4: You get the apple in proportion to how much apple you planted

Planting two apple seeds will not yield the same results as planting 10,000 apple seeds.  A little work equals little results; a lot of work equals lots of results.

How many seeds are you planting, are you planting enough seeds to receive the harvest that you desire? 

Remember you will only receive a harvest in proportion to what you’ve sown for.  So sow “big,” sow plenty, sow well, and your harvest will surely satisfy your soul with sweet fruit.

If I am starting all over, what will I change?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

We always want to start our life with a clean slate and wish we didn't commit the blunders we have done in the past. If I am starting all over, the following would be list of choices, things I would have made knowing what I know now.

  • You have a choice whether you want to focus on the positive or the negative in any situation. It is vital to exercise that right and live a happier life for doing so. It makes you more responsible or accountable for your actions.
  • If you keep doing what you have always done and you will keep the same results. Einstein said, " the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." You might say this is common sense, but common sense is uncommon sometimes.
  • If you are holding a grudge against someone, it  harms you far more than it will ever harm someone else. They probably might never know about it. The best thing is to find a better use for your time and energy.
  • Success is in your journey towards your goals. If you aren’t enjoying the process, it is quite likely that you are in the wrong lane. Don’t be afraid to go back to square one and refocus your efforts. It’s much better to do it now than further down the road.
  • You might have heard about the saying “What you resist, persists”. Sometimes the best thing is to let go, rather than needing all the answers. You’ll never have all the answers.
  • One of the people who have had tremendous influence on me was my research advisor @ IGCAR., Dr. K.S. Viswanathan. He always used to say "Question everything you read or hear". Do question even the points I have shared with you today. Often it is our ‘failures’ that allow us to see the real truth in sayings.
  • View  all hurdles in your path from a new perspective, a new mindset. Instead of seeing them as a stop sign, see them as an opportunity to show how badly you want something.
  • Whatever 'hurdles’ you have, i s very much possible that someone else has had the same issue and already provided a solution. Find comfort in knowing you are not alone, not in the results.
  • Never let your ego get in the way. Whether it is going for the things you want in life or simply telling people how much they mean to you. Life is too short to miss the opportunity, if people judge you for it, once again, that is their problem, not yours.
  • Sometimes, no matter how positive or encouraging your advice is, people are not ready to hear it.  Just accept this and don’t see someone’s resistance to change as a reflection on you.
  • What people say about you is not your business. People will talk about you unfavorably whether you are there to witness it or not.
  • Right now, this is life, make the most of it. What you do today could affect millions of people in a positive light, or you could bring down the mood of those around you. Which would you like to achieve?


Time drainers

-Karthik Gurumurthy


One thing that God doesn't distinguish between a ditchdigger and a Multimillionaire is he gave everyone an account of 24 hours. Steve Jobs has 24 hours, you and I have 24 hours. What makes one person more efficient than others is how the 24 hours are spent. Take some time to figure out how much of your time is spent in activities which are going to help you in your goals you have set for yourself.

The three major time drainers would be the following:

#1: Not having a to-do list

Not having a to-do list for your day, month or year can cause you to waste lots of time.  Why?  Because you will probably attempt too many taskd and get very little done; the key is to focus your days, months and or years solely on your priorities.

The Lion Tamer at the circus uses a pistol, a whip, and a chair to control the lion.  The chair is said to be the most efficient at controlling the lion.

Why do they use a chair?

The bottom of a chair has four legs, and when pointed in the direction of the lion, the lion becomes unsure as to which leg to focus its attention on, and thereby loses his or her train of thought.

Don’t be like the lion, with so many things to focus on that you get off track; while nothing gets accomplished.

Maybe you want to take a day and focus on organizing your house, or take a year and focus primarily on getting in shape or creating a prosperous mind, but keep your focus single.  You will accomplish more when you have singleness of purpose.

#2: Chatting on the telephone during your productive zone time.

I have specific times that I will answer my phone. If someone calls outside of those hours, I will return their call when it’s most convenient for me.  You can waste a lot of valuable time just “shooting the breeze” at times where you could have done more productive things.

There’s nothing wrong with “chatting on the phone,” as long as it doesn’t conflict with your other priorities.  It’s important to preserve the times when you are most productive, and dedicate those hours to producing your best results uninterrupted.

Don’t become the victim of someone else’s boredom.  In other words, when someone has an hour to kill, don’t let them kill your hour too.  Take control of your telephone time, and it will help you take control of your day.

#3: Watching the News

How many people spend hours a day watching the news, or reading about the news on the Internet?  A lot.

Why should you avoid watching the news?

It steals your time from doing more important things; things that will actually enhance your life and make you feel good about yourself (such as working out, communication with your spouse, or making strides towards achieving your personal and professional goals).

Unless your job requires it, there’s no real need to know about all of the murders that are taking place, not to mention every single theft…it is ridiculous waste of time.

While they are telling you about all the murders, they are murdering your time and killing your productivity.

I once heard someonesay (something to the effect of) instead of showing the news, they should just flash, “Things Are Getting Worse!!!” across the screen.

Now, I don’t believe things are getting worse, I believe things are getting better (society is evolving for the better, no matter what the stock market says).  However, the picture that the media portrays is that things are getting much worse, and really fast.

I don’t want to fill my mind with such rubbish. We never have cable in our place and we don't regret that decision. I would rather choose to focus on the good, thereby increasing the good in my own life.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you become a hermit, and find a rock to hide under. It’s OK to find out things which might help through the Internet because I can click and choose what enters my mind.  I don’t want to be bombarded with the negativity from the media (I usually give myself a time limit, such as 5-10 minutes).

What if World is coming to an end or what if something major happens and I Miss it.

Don’t be concerned that you are going to miss the next great tragedy if you’re not tuned in. If something big happens, you’ll find out about it, trust me ;) .

A majority of the time there is virtually nothing you can do with the bad news from the media, except to become more afraid, lowering your consciousness and the collective consciousness of the entire population; increasing the chance of this negativity re-occurring.  This is a huge waste of time; you should take this precious time and do something that enhances your life.

What is the solution then?

My coach TD and Suparna recommends having a to-do list and not-to-do list which covers it all.

For some people, watching the news (or surfing the web for the news) is just a daily habit.  Try replacing that habit with reading a good book or material which will help you achieve your goals.

Instead of taking in bad news, take in some positive news, because you are the summation of the information you take in. 

Most people have several anti-virus programs to protect their computers. How about protecting your brain which is lot more valuable?

I definitely know that you are engineered for greatness.

When are you going to Succeed?

-Karthik Gurumurthy


Has someone asked you when are you going to succeed in whatever you have started? It can be a business or it can be any endeavor which you deeply wanted to pursue towards which gives you complete fulfilment of your existence in this great planet. Lot of people have asked me and even to this day they ask me how things are looking. I have been working on business endeavors over last few years and is going very well. I am still in the active pursuit of accomplishing my goals which I have set for myself through my business opportunity.

What is the time limit you give yourself in order for you to succeed in anything worthwhile? Do you want to know what’s stopping you back from success?

To answer that, I would like to share couple of stories.

…Steve was excited; he had just finished his first book.  He had dreams of becoming a best-selling author after pouring his heart and soul into his first thriller.  Now it was just a matter of time before he found a publisher…

Unfortunately Steve was declined by the first publisher he submitted his book to, however he didn’t get distressed.  He knew that in order to succeed he would probably encounter several obstacles.  He happily submitted his book to another publisher. 

Yet he received another rejection.  And another rejection, and another, and another, he received a total of 29 rejections.  Down-and-out, Steve agreed to try one last time!  He anxiously waited he get the results, he knew this time things would be different; he was excited.

But alas…he was rejected once more.

At this point Steve was depressed; his dreams of becoming a great writer had been crushed!  He hung his head low, and threw his book in the trash, at least this way he would never have to be reminded of the book again.


Somebody say, “But!” …But Steve’s wife went into the trash and retrieved the book…she encouraged him and motivated him to resubmit the book, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Steve also known as Stephen King whose book, “Carrie,” became an iconic thriller, and he has become one of the best-selling authors of all time.

Another story

Walter worked hard at his job; he worked for the local newspaper.  One day while Walter was working, his boss told him that he was fired!  His boss said that “he lacked imagination, and had no good ideas.”

Walter was depressed…yet he picked himself up.  He decided to go into business for himself, but that didn’t last too long, soon he was bankrupt.


But he was only bankrupt financially; he was not out of courage, not out of strength, and not out of faith.

Walter went on to start one of the most imaginative companies in history, the “Walt Disney” company, which today is responsible for $35 billion dollars in sales annually; so much for lacking imagination.

What is the time limit I should give myself to succeed?

So the question remains, “How long does it take to succeed?”  For most people it takes about ten- twenty years of focused and determined living.  It could happen sooner, or it could take longer, either way you’ll have to be determined like Stephen and Walter in order to succeed.

Why so many years?  When I look at people who’ve succeeded, it generally took them about lot of years of focused living to do so.  Ten-twenty years is enough time to discover your passion, to become a master; it’s enough time to fail, and enough time to re-gain your focus.

Why do I even mention this? We live in a microwave world. We want instant noodles, instant coffee, instant popcorn, instant results.. The moment it takes longer, we think it is probably not worth it. Just because you don't get the results which you wanted, you don’t need to think you’re “dysfunctional”.For all of you who are working towards your goals and dreams I want you to be mentally prepared, so that you can understand that success is a science, and that it takes years of work to go from an apprentice to a master. I have worked in pharmaceutical industry. It takes several years and several million $ to go from a research lab discovery to FDA approved drug. That is exactly how any worthwhile endeavor takes.

What about kids who succeed when their only ten years old?  Their parents probably put in a majority of the requisite years for them.  Some years are transferable, that’s why it’s important to keep good company, and to associate with people who are going where you want to go.

Karthik, but why does it take long time?

Success takes time because the requisite for success is that you provide value.  It takes a lot of work to become a person who provides significant value to others.  People pay for value, valuable people succeed.

So how many years have you put in?  You may have more years than you know; you may have fewer years than you think.

It’s kind of like college credits; when you “graduate” depends on how many credits you have towards your major.  If your life goal is to be a successful writer, then those years you spent reading novels everyday probably count significantly towards your experience. It’s possible that the years you spent with the right kind of people will help you to get their faster.  One way or another, you’ll probably need a good time of learning and applying in order to succeed.

If you don’t value the task enough to push until you succeed, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.  You have to remind yourself that there will be setbacks, your success is not based on your ability to avoid setbacks, but you ability to push through those setbacks until you get the requisite years you need to succeed.  If you remain focused, if you put in the time, success will surely be yours!

Taking action

by Karthik Gurumurthy

I'm a firm believer of good personal development books, audio CDs, seminars and so on. A great writer or speaker can open your eyes up to new ideas, give you just the advice you need, and genuinely change your life.

The problem is, most people don't get as much as they should out of the material they read.

Lot of times I have had students who listen to my Math lectures as if they are listening to rap song.

It's very easy to nod along in agreement with a writer or speaker. You might feel inspired or even determined while you're reading – only to end up forgetting all about those insights you had. The only way to really get max from the above is to put them into practice by being in the action mode.

To take action:

    * Get clear about what you want to learn or change. You're probably not just reading a book or blog post out of general interest: there's a specific situation in your life where you want to improve something. What's your goal?

    * Choose good material. Ask friends to recommend their favorite blogs or books, or check out reviews on Amazon. You want solid content and a style which makes it easy for you to read.

    * Read with a notebook in hand. Jot down questions which occur while you're reading, or any new ideas or insights. Make a particular note of anything you want to try out for yourself – a new way of managing your time, for instance.

    * Set aside time not just to read but to act. Try writing down one to three steps to take every single week, based on what you've been reading.

So now that you've just read this post. Don't let it be yet another piece of good advice that you promptly forget: instead, take a minute now to figure out what you're going to do differently next time you pick up a personal development book.