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September 2011

Be Happy where you are

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Two friends met in the street.  One looked so sad and almost on the verge of tears.  The other man said, "Hey, how come you look like the whole world caved in?"

The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you.  Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me two hundred thousand dollars."

"That's not bad." Said his friend trying to console him.

"Hold on, I'm just getting started.  Two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew had an accident, died and he left me five hundred dollars tax free."

"I'd like that. But I can’t understand why you’re not happy"

And the sad fellow said, "Last week my grandfather passed away.  I inherited almost two million $."
"The how come you look so glum?"

And with sadness the friend said, "Of course I’m sad. Look. This week – nothing. Nobody died!"
Some people will never be happy because all they ever wanted is more. Being Ambitious and wanting to succeed is good but connecting that with Happiness is not good. 

This is an old story but worth its weight in gold to serve as a reminder for life lessons learning.

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad.

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah," said the son.

"So, tell me, what you learned from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

"Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

"We have servants, who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

 We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."

A Chinese proverb says: “He who is content can never be ruined.” Content doesn't mean a lackadaisical approach to life. 
Some people complain all the time.

“They’re not paying me enough…”“The benefits here are lousy…”“I never liked my job…”But wait till a chilling message begins to creep through the corporate grapevine.

“There’s news that the company has been brought by another and there will be a massive layoff. 30,000 layoffs in Bank of America”“Many jobs will be cut and many positions will be declared redundant…”Suddenly, the tune of the music changes drastically.

Discontent turns into fear. Grumbling turns into prayers. And why do we have to allow things like these to happen?

We never appreciate the value of something until that thing is taken away from us.
And why is this so?

Because it is so hard for us to learn and understand contentment.

Without contentment, there will always be contention.

Here is the key. Shoot for the best. Excel in whatever field you are in. Dream big dreams but learn to enjoy life’s small pleasures along the way. Being grateful for what we have is the first step. When we are faithful in what we do, skilled in the doing and excellent in the things done, the small pleasures turn into opportunities for bigger ones. Enjoy them all.

I heard this Anon. says which sums it all. “To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to the stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is  a good way to live a wonderful life.

What are you chained to?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

When I was a kid I loved the circus. I was fascinated by the fact how wild animals which are supposed to be dangerous in general were tamed to perform different feats entertaining  the audience. 

I came across a discovery about elephant tricks in circus.  Have you ever wondered why the elephants—the strongest and largest animals in the circus—don’t simply walk away?

The trainers have discovered a way to make them helpless.

When an elephant is born, it only takes about two weeks for him to get strong enough to break his chains, but his trainers use this time to their advantage. The baby elephant, chained to a tree, will make many attempts to break free before giving up, but once he has given up, that’s it. Although he grows larger physically, in his mind, the chain is still stronger than he is. In effect, he imprisons himself.

The chain therefore is a constant reminder that they are helpless.

A lot of us live our lives the same way. People have mastered the art and science of learned helplessness.

Rather than becoming the stars of the show, these helpless people in the work place have self-designed themselves into being clowns. They have made decisions either constantly or unwittingly that have led people to laugh at them. This is so sad because this does not have to be.

At the core of this problem lies the person’s inability to determine the difference between what are facts and what are stories. The stories they have heard may have come from the people they love.

Stories come in forms like:
“You’re not as good as your brother /sister….”“You’ve brought bad luck to the family….”“You’ll never make it…..”“You’re just like your dad/mom, you’re a loser….”These are stories not facts but somehow they imprison, they form chains.
Here are some other examples of what stories sounds like and they mostly come from your primary story teller and that is YOU!:
I shouldn’t have to do this—it’s not part of my job description.”“Other people should be more dedicated and motivated. Nothing would get done around here if it weren’t for me.”“There’s not enough time to get it all done.”“Our department is always having to clean up after others’ mistakes.”“The boss just doesn’t get it.”“He is always undermining me.”My coworkers don’t appreciate me.”“Management only cares about the bottom line.”“I’m underpaid for what I do here.”“It would be finished if they’d stop interrupting me with last-minute changes.”These are stories. These are not facts.

You and I need to stop arguing with reality. The reality is that God does not invent junk. Humans do it to themselves. We imprison ourselves with the chains formed by the stories we hear or the stories we invent ourselves.

We have the free will to choose. We can choose to rise up above our adversities, ignore the attacks of the envious, labor and learn and accept challenges and retain humility as success comes or we can choose to stay with our stories and ignore the facts.

Samuel Clemens says it well a long time ago when he said, “The problem with most people is not that they set their goals too high and fail to achieve it but that they set their goals too low and they attain it.”

God has given us a head to think, a heart to feel, hands to labor and feet to move towards our goals with the purpose of adding value to the world and never for the sole aim of personal glory or aggrandizement. Starting tomorrow as you go to the work place, stick to the facts and drop those stories. Let go of all the shackles which is holding you back.

Do it now

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Knowledge is only useful when put into action. You can't just sit there and wait for your ship to come in . . . you've got to swim out to it before the pier rots.  We can learn a lot about action by looking at insects. Consider the bee. It will make visits to 125 clover heads to make one gram of honey. That comes to about 25,000 hips for bees to make only one pound of honey. Ants are admirable creatures as well. They're not concerned about their stature but go about their diligent, tireless work of storing up food for their colony.”-

Harvey MacKay (HM)

Lillian Vernon, friend of HM was a 24-year-old newlywed seeking some extra income for her family when she spent $2,000 of her wedding money on an advertisement in Seventeen magazine, promoting monogrammed handbags and belts. The orders came, business grew, and today her mail-order catalog company, Lillian Vernon Corporation, has annual sales of $240 million and ships 50,000 orders daily during its peak holiday season. 

Ted and Dorothy Hustead likewise had a dream in 1931: to open a drug store in a town with a good school, a Catholic church, and a doctor. They chose Wall, South Dakota, a middle-of-nowhere town situated between the Badlands and the Black Hills. Alter a long dusty year in which few visitors stopped at their drug store, they were forced to do some serious soul searching.  They came up with an idea to lure parched visitors to their establishment and acted on it, posting FREE ICE WATER AT WALL DRUG signs all over the area. The signs soon became a novelty and were placed further and further away. Today, Wall Drug signs can be seen all over the world. During peak season, four to six thousand people visit daily. The fact is that you don't have to be famous or the CEO of a large corporation to have an idea and act on it.

Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  And here's a scenario you might recognize at your workplace: There once were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. An important job had to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it and that Somebody would do it. But Nobody realized that Everybody thought Somebody would do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Sounds confusing? You’ve got the point. This is what happens when nobody wants to pick up the tab and take responsibility. Everything turns out confusing.  Why not be somebody who makes things happen.  But how? In the words of a popular shoe and sportswear commercial, the slogan says: "Just do it."

Harvey Mackay says: “Ideas without action are like being all dressed up with no place to go.”  Nothing happens when you sit around waiting for things to happen.

And then there are only 3 kinds of people in this world. 
1. Those who make things happen. 
2. Those who watch things happen. 
3. And the last and the lost who wonders: “What happened?”

Don’t waste precious time. Do not delay. Do it now.