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November 2013

Great expectations

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it."

~ Michelangelo

The expectations you have for yourself are important. You will not rise above your own level of expectations which is why they are critical. If you are feeling trapped or held back in your personal development then stop and assess your expectations and also what thoughts are dominant in your mind. If your thoughts and attitudes are negative then so will be your actions and outcomes. Keep your thoughts right, your attitude strong, and expectations high. Remove the limitations to your success by believing the best and being your best. 


Happy Thanksgiving!

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Happy Thanksgiving:) Thanks to my parents, teachers, family, friends, students, associates, colleagues…It has become a habit everyday, to simply cease and purposely ponder the notable events and people who have influenced my life, and take the time to thank and appropriately acknowledge them. So, thank you.

Yes, you. The person reading this. Because if you found your way here, then that is a blessing for which I am truly thankful. And I’m here to remind you how truly special you are. I am thankful for every connection I have because each and every one of you brings something wonderful to my life. You bring you.
Photo: Happy Thanksgiving:) Thanks to parents, teachers, family, friends, students, associates, colleagues…It has become a habit everyday, to simply cease and purposely ponder the notable events and people who have influenced my life, and take the time to thank and appropriately acknowledge them.  So, thank you.

Yes, you. The person reading this. Because if you found your way here, then that is a blessing for which I am truly thankful.  And I’m here to remind you how truly special you are.  I am thankful for every connection I have because each and every one of you brings something wonderful to my life. You bring you.
 

Prudence

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Caution is a good risk to take.

Prudence is all about good judgment, weighing all the possibilities, considering the consequences of one's actions, thinking before one acts, being thoughtful, using common sense, doing what's best for oneself, using discretion, exercising caution, and conforming to reason and decency. It is the avoidance of thoughtless and reckless behavior. It is the ability to distinguish the difference between what is harmful and what is helpful and following the right course of action. Imagine how much misery would be eliminated if we all following the dictum, " Look before you leap.

You see, part of being prudent is being balanced; it is imprudent to be otherwise. Because of the need of balance, prudence may direct us to hold our tongue on one occasion and to speak up on another.

There are two types of risks, those with bad payoffs and those with good payoffs. A prudent person doesn't smoke because it is a health risk; it has a bad payoff.Prudent people avoid risks with poor payoffs, but have no problem taking risks that have good payoffs. Part of being prudent is valuing courage.

Some disasters are avoidable while others are unavoidable. The consequences of our actions are always unavoidable. But as long as they are governed by prudence, we will have nothing to fear. Prudence is a protective shield and the absence of caution is more harmful than the absence of knowledge.

In the thirteenth century, Persian Poet Saadi wrote, "Learn from the misfortunes of others, so others may not learn from you." Besides learning from the mistakes of others, prudent people also learn from the accomplishments of others. Every person we meet is an example, one to be followed or one to be avoided.

 


Thought for today: Integrity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Integrity is a value, like persistence, courage, and industriousness. Even more than that, it is the value that guarantees all the other values. You are a good person to the degree to which you live your life consistent with the highest values that you espouse. Integrity is the quality that locks in your values and causes you to live consistent with them.

Integrity is the foundation of character. And character development is one of the most important activities you can engage in. Working on your character means disciplining yourself to do more and more of those things that a thoroughly honest person would do, under all circumstances.

To be impeccably honest with others, you must first be impeccably honest with yourself. You must be true to yourself. You must be true to the very best that is in you, to the very best that you know. Only a person who is living consistent with his or her highest values and virtues is really living a life of integrity. And when you commit to living this kind of life, you will find yourself continually raising your own standards, continually refining your definition of integrity and honesty.

You can tell how high your level of integrity is by simply looking at the things you do in your day-to-day life. You can look at your reactions and responses to the inevitable ups and downs of life. You can observe the behaviors you typically engage in and you will then know the person you are.

The external manifestation of high integrity is high-quality work. A person who is totally honest with himself or herself will be someone who does, or strives to do, excellent work on every occasion. The totally honest person recognizes, sometimes unconsciously, that everything he or she does is a statement about who he or she really is as a person.

When you start a little earlier, work a little harder, stay a little later and concentrate on every detail, you are practicing integrity in your work. And whether you know it or not, your true level of integrity is apparent and obvious to everyone around you.Perhaps the most important rule you will ever learn is that your life only becomes better when you become better.

Ask yourself this question: What are your five most important values in life? Your answer will reveal an enormous amount about you. What would you pay for, sacrifice for, suffer for and even die for? What would you stand up for, or refuse to lie down for? What are the values that you hold most dear?

Think these questions through carefully and, when you get achance, write down your answers. Here's another way of asking that question. What men and women, living or dead, do you most admire? Once you pick three or four men or women, the next question is: Why do you admire them? What values,qualities, or virtues do they have that you respect and look upto? Can you articulate those qualities? What is a quality possessed by human beings in general that you most respect? This is the starting point for determining your values. The answers to these questions form the foundation of your character and your personality.

Who you are, in your heart, is evidenced by what you do on a day-to-day basis, especially when you are pushed into a position where you have to make a choice between two values or alternatives. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Guard your integrity as a sacred thing." In study after study, the quality of integrity, or a person's adherence to values, ranks as the number one quality sought in every field. Integrity in leadership is expressed in terms of constancy and consistency.

Napoleon Hill, in his book, The Master Key to Riches, tells about how he created an imaginary board of personal advisors made up of great figures of history. He chose people like Napoleon, Lincoln, and Alexander the Great. Whenever he had to make a decision, he would relax deeply and then imagine that the members of his advisory council were sitting at a large table in front of him. He would then ask them what he should do to deal effectively with a particular situation. In time, they would begin to give him answers, observations, and insights that helped him see more clearly and act more effectively.

You can do the same thing. Select someone that you very much admire for their qualities of courage, tenacity, honesty, or wisdom. Ask yourself, "What would Washington do in my situation?" or, "What would Lincoln do if he were here at this time?" You will find yourself with guidance that enables you to be the very best person that you can possibly be.


Activity vs. Accomplishment

-Karthik Gurumurthy

One of the books I like to read from time-time is "See you at the top" by Zig Ziglar.

In this book in one of the sections, he mentions about how lot of us confuse activity with accomplishment and the importance of having a daily goal.  A man or a woman without a goal is like a ship without rudder. Each will end up in the beaches of despair, defeat and despondency.

John Henry Fabre, the great naturalist conducted a most unusual experiment with some processionary caterpillars. These caterpillars blindly follow the one in front of them, hence the name. Faber carefully arranged them in a circle around the rim of a flower pot so that the lead caterpillar actually touched the last one, making a complete circle. In the center of a flower pot he put pine needles which is the food for processionary caterpillars. The caterpillar started around this circular flower pot. Around and around they went hour after hour, day after day, night after night for about 7 days (around the flower pot). Finally they dropped dead of starvation and exhaustion. With an abundance of food less than six inches away, they literally starved to death because they confused activity with accomplishment.


From today's readings

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today I was reading the book, "Day by Day with James Allen".

This is what I got from my reading.

  • We need to keep reminding ourselves that we have tremendous reservoirs of potential within us, and therefore we are quite capable of doing anything that we set our mind to. All we must do is figure how we can do it, not whether or not. And once we have made our mind to do it, it is amazing how our mind begins to figure out how.
  • We are either living in the problem or living in the solution. We always have to focus on solutions.
  • In life, there are no mistakes, only lessons.

Importance of playing in creativity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

We often hear extremely productive people say that their vocation is also their avocation, that they love what they do, that they have fun at work. Too often we fail to realize what this tells us about the way they work; it is not solely linear reason and disciplined routine, it is fun. Too many of us handicap ourselves in life and at work by approaching problems analytically; we cut out play and imagination and consequently close ourselves off from a vast source of ideas.

Many great achievers emphasize the importance of play and imagination in making breakthroughs. In an interview with Kary Mullis concerning how he arrived at his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which won him the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, he said, "I wasn't working, I was playing. I was letting this take shape before my eyes, and deep down I knew that I was about to find  something that was going to be Nobel Prize winning..And that's what happened!"..What Kary Mullis demonstrates for us  is that his Nobel Prize- winning breakthrough did not come from him following the linear path of logic and reason alone. In fact, breakthroughs  must disrupt the logic of what we know; because they bring new knowledge, breakthroughs can come only from parts unknown to the conscious mind and therefore unknown to reason. So breakthroughs- even the most intellectual and sophisticated ones - can manifest only at times when we disengage from what we know and from what we understand logically. This is why play is crucial: it disconnects us from reason and logic and opens us to new and different thoughts we wouldn't have access to.

Play done properly is the lifeblood of our work. It fuels motivation and enables us to move beyond what we perceive as insurmountable limitations. Play isn't some reprehensible at-risk behavior that threatens to make slackers of us all. Play opens us up the possibility that we don't need more of anything- time, money, knowledge and so on - in order to produce more.  Human motivation is not linear; the way  one person gets motivated is a complex function of many intertwined factors, which do not follow a linear continuum but which can be greatly influenced by play. When we tap  into the part of people that responds to play and inspiration, we unleash possibilities and a huge potential for new sources of motivation that we could not have predicted or accessed otherwise. Thus when people are engaged in play, truly or deeply engaged, they lose track of time, they stop thinking about whether their check is bigger today than it was yesterday, they withstand discomfort and inconvenience, and more often than you might imagine, they create magic. Play moves people into an optimistic frame of mind, a place where they are more adaptable to change and more likely to improvise, and where they begin to dance in the groove of life.

So we all need to lighten up and we can break through the mental barriers that are keeping us stuck.


Shiny Happy People

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Shiny Happy People...This was the song by R.E.M which I vividly remember listening to when I was a freshman in College. I loved the song but more than that, I want to belong to Happy people group.

"Happiness comes most to persons who seek it least, and think least about it. It is not an object to be sought, it is a state to be induced. It must follow and not lead. It must overtake you, and not you overtake it"

-John Burroughs

Anyways, I realize there are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within.
 
The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: How do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

  • Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

  • Treat everyone with kindness.

I just talked about the same yesterday. Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

  • See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

  • Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

  •  Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

  • Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

  • Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

  •  Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

  • Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

  •  Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

  • Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

  • Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

  •  Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

  • Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

  • Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a hermit or Sage to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

  • Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

  • Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

  • Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

  • Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

  • Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

  • Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.


Kindness

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Years ago I wrote in my blog the following line. “Be the kindest person you can be and the world will come to you.

This was my way of trying to re-boot my attitude. It always works. At least I try. The world is full of negativity, jealousy and anger. It’s easy. It’s what we read about on the internet news sites and in papers. What we hear on television or the radio. It’s what sells. People are drawn to drama and drama tends to be negative. Kindness sadly isn’t fashionable.

It’s not easy. It’s never easy. I mean most of us want to be kind but think about it. How we react to people, how we speak to people. Our body language and what we say or snap at someone. I know I am not perfect. I try to be nice to all, but I am not. It’s a work in progress. Every day, all the time.

One of the entrepreneurs I admire made the comment, “Sarcasm is like swearing”. Brilliant. It’s true. When you throw a sarcastic comment back at someone you are saying, “I want to steal your light!” It’s a low form of self gratitude. The old “look at me” mentality.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I don’t like everyone I meet, I don’t agree with many people. I don’t chose to accept everyone’s choices. But and it’s a big but, I don’t have to ridicule or be hurtful.

Now, if you choose to take on the kindness lifestyle remember this. People will start to watch you. Start to judge you. You can’t be a kind person with hopes of “getting” something. That’s not why you do it. At least it shouldn’t be. It should only be because  you want to leave a place or a person better than you found them.

I can imagine if more people chose kindness over sarcasm, pessimism, negativity and those hurtful jokes we would probably be a happier society. I know it’s idealistic and probably a little naive. But as my mom said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say… it  is better to keep your mouth shut!”

Be kind today. Try it, you may be surprised at what you get back.


Ctrl Alt Del and start over

-Karthik Gurumurthy

 Once in a while as a leader it’s reassuring to be reminded of this simple truth. The weight and responsibility of leadership can drag you down and it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that tomorrow is a new day. The view you have of today’s troubles can improve drastically in just 24 hours. Keep your eye on the ball, keep your attitude right, and don’t be distracted by the obstacles you face today. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities. Ctrl Alt Del and restart with a great attitude!