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June 2013

Effective Listening: Lessons learned from watching Sambamurti Athimber.

-Karthik Gurumurthy

One of the most common issues is a failure to communicate effectively.

The next time you are in a crowded mall or on a train, take note of people carrying conversations with one another. Are they actually listening to one another or are they simply waiting for their turn to speak?

If you find the opportunity to raise an issue with someone in the future, pay attention to the way in which you speak. Are you listening to what the other person has to say?

Try speaking less and listening more. I have seen my uncle ( Sambamurti Athimber) practice this all his life. I was just 14 years old when I met my uncle (Sambamurti athimber) in Calcutta, but he treated me  like million bucks.Thanks Athimber for teaching us these lessons through your example.

Picture credit(s): Srikant Anna

1) Think before you speak

Given time before you speak, you will put a little more thought into what you want to communicate to the other person. Take in what he or she is saying, and use their suggestions to support or dissuade your argument. Also, you will not end up saying something you did not intend to divulge.

2) Understand what the other person is talking about

When someone is speaking to you, it’s easy to zone out and just focus on snippets of what they’re saying. Listen carefully to what they are saying, how they are saying it. There may be an underlying issue of which you weren’t even aware, the person may be upset. Make sure you hear them out completely.

3) You will only say what’s important

Brevity is the soul of the wit. If you decide to listen more, and speak less than you normally would, it would make sense to only say what needs to be said. Why waste your time talking about things that don’t matter, or don’t deserve the energy?

If you want your opinions to make an impact, you should keep your points succinct. Try to make yourself as clear as possible so that there is no room for confusion. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; Avoid trifling Conversation.”

4) Have all of the facts ready before you make the decision

If you spend most of your conversations listening, and you absorb the information given to you, you’ll likely have a well-rounded opinion on the outcome of any decisions that are made.

For example, if you are in a meeting with several people who have concerns about a particular issue, let each person have their say before a decision is made. If you collect all of the facts, you will be able to make a well-informed decision on the outcome.

5) Value other people's thoughts

There’s nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart out to someone and being met with a brick wall. It is so important to feel needed wherever you are..

If your opinions are valued and taken into consideration, you will feel much better not only about the situation, but about yourself as well. Turning that around, you should make others feel the same way, that their opinions matter and that they too, are a valued member of the team. 

Conversations should be give and take. You shouldn’t have to interrupt someone to get your word in. But you shouldn’t dismiss what they have to say either..

If you can truly listen to what is being said, process the information, and use it effectively, your communication skills will only get better as time goes on.

What Matters finally is..

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I enjoyed reading this. 

Today's Daily Encounter by Michael Josephson

  • Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
  • There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
  • All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
  • Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
  • It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
  • The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end. It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
  •  So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
  • What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
  • What will matter is not your success but your significance.
  • What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
  • What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
  • What will matter is not your competence but your character.
    What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
  • What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.
  • What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
  • Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters!


1008th Post (Remembering Dad)

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I have been writing blogs from 2005 and this is my 1008th posting. I have an average of 25-30 visitors everyday. I thank you all the visitors for your ongoing support and kind words of encouragement. I don't write as much as I used to do. Today being Father's day, I want to dedicate it to my dad. (Below: Dad with S. Venkataraghavan)


It's natural for many to reflect today on what their dads mean to them.  I'm no different.  But I spend a lot of days thinking about the lessons I learned, how I've applied them and more importantly, how they have created who I am.


Dad left us last year and there is not a day that goes by without thinking about him. Everyday is Father's day. This is what I wrote last year about him.  It is difficult to find a proper way to express all that my father has meant to me and to offer a fitting tribute to him which might be profitable to share with others.  I would like to share the lessons learned by watching my dad.

  • No matter what I did in life, Dad was my biggest supporter. He was the guy driving me to play Cricket and telling me how wonderful I was. He was the guy telling his friends in front of me – how wonderful I was. I wasn’t always wonderful. But I sure felt like it. It turns out there is a strong correlation between encouraging your children and a feeling of self worth. I always valued myself and felt like I was special. Much of this came from my dad.
  • My father taught me that you appreciate the things you have much more when you earn them.
  • Dad taught me life is full of gray areas. Don’t be too quick to judge and don’t make assumptions! I have never seen my dad gossip about anybody. 
  • I learned loyalty by watching dad. He was fiercely loyal to his work place (State Bank of India), Cricket Team, Natakapriya and friends. 
  • When I left to US, he mentioned that "your profession or title didn’t matter. How you held yourself and treated others would be how you would be judged by others".
  • Most people talk about how to serve elders and parents. Much of what I learned from him I learned from observation. Through his  live example he showed us how to take care of them with compassion and devotion. We didn't read that in a book. We saw him in action. Everyday he would serve his mother (my Grandmother) with unconditional love and kindness. 
  • There is not a day that would  go by without him mentioning his gratitude to God for providing the best parents, family and friends. I have learned from him how to be thankful everyday for what we have.
  • He would always say, "With determination and dedication, you can almost accomplish anything and everything".
  • His favorite quote was, "Truth need not be remembered". If you are speaking the truth you don't have to have good memory.


I am glad I was blessed to have him as my Dad and a part of my life for 38 years. I look forward to the day I can see him -- standing by the Almighty and welcoming me home once again.


Happy Wedding Anniversary!

Today is special day..Why? My best friend (from Kindergarten) SusiAnu
Sudarsanam (whom we fondly refer to as Susi) is married to Anu 12 years back..Wishing Susi and Anu a very Happy Anniversary....Please join me in my wishing them loads of Happiness, Joy and Happiness, Peace and Prosperity, today and everyday! Anniversary-messages-1