238 posts categorized "Character"

Who is your hero?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

It is totally fine to admire what a person achieves in science, business, or in sports, but it is not smart to turn them into a hero unless they are the kind of person you want your child to grow up to be. Sports people were portrayed role models were very appropriate because the media only reported their redeeming qualities. Tiger Woods might have succeeded as a golfer but he is not a great role model.Some great football players beat their girlfriends. What we can learn from Roger Federer/ Sachin Tendulkar is their dedication to excellence.  Here's the challenge- separating the message from the messenger.

There is also lot of confusion between being great at something and being famous. If you are famous, then you are admired. You can be famous for good, for being notorious, or just for being famous (Kardashian, Justin Bieber). If you are famous, people will flock to be near you, to have their picture made with you, and many of them will want to be just like you.

How many people choose a Teacher or Professor or a Mother doing whatever it takes to provide for the kids as a role model? Not many. More often we admire and adore singers, movie personalities and anyone who gets media attention.

We need to look at more than what they do, what they have and how they look. We must look at who they are and how they live.It is our responsibility to determine what we plan to achieve and then, find a role model who has succeeded in that area, using their standard of performance to motivate us in a specific aspect.

Just as we all have fallen short and failed in our endeavors, we have to realize that our heroes do not need to be all encompassing examples of inspiration. I have many role models. My dad, mom, many of my teachers/Professors /Cousins/Uncles/Aunts/ Friends. I doubt you have heard of any of them.


MS Dhoni Sixers (Leadership Lessons from Captain Cool)

-Karthik Gurumurthy

MSDhoni2011

Today MS Dhoni, the captain of Indian Cricket team decided to quit Test Cricket. This is good news for India as he can focus on the upcoming World Cup which is coming up in 45 days.

M.S. Dhoni who is fondly referred to as Mahi is one of the most successful captains who lead India to #1 position many times in his career. 

He had very humble beginnings and worked as a ticket collector in Kharagpur for several years in Railways. When he was not checking tickets, he used his time in practicing. We all can learn a lot from MS Dhoni. MS Dhoni is known for his sixers and the following six(ers) can help us in improving ourselves.

MSD2015

1. The only way to command respect from the team is through your own personal example. Rahul Dravid mentioned while talking about Mahi, "One of the things I really liked about playing under MS was that he never asked you to do anything that he himself didn't do."One should perform at the highest level before we expect it from the team. Personal work ethic and performance is the best and the only way we can teach the team. 

2. MS Dhoni is known for his humility who likes to be in the background and shining the light on other team members. He shares the credit of success with the team members and applauds them in public.His ability to empower his team members created the loyalty within the team and together they were able to achieve more which resulted in securing World Cup 2011.

3. MS Dhoni is known as Captain Cool for being calm in extreme situations and leading the team from the front. Sometimes he can be perceived as being lackadaisical or not being aggressive. But he shows his aggression in the game, letting his bat speak and silencing his critics in several occasions. His unbeaten 91 in the World Cup is one of the reasons India was able to win the World Cup in 2011.

4. Mahi was always criticized for his experimentation. But experimentation and taking risk is part of achieving success.

5. MS Dhoni is known for encouraging the team members despite the setbacks and believing in them despite their debacles. He earned the respect and loyalty from the team members by trusting them and empowering them.

6. MS Dhoni seldom reads or believes newspaper clippings. This helped him in keeping him humble and focussing only on the performance ahead.

Picture source Courtesy: Reuters


Asking the right questions

-Karthik Gurumurthy

One of the biggest questions that is continually in the forefront of a business owner/managers mind is – how do I become a better owner/leader?

So how do we become better? Not long ago, I had a learning break-through. It was at Vivekananda College and  Prof. S. Sundaram made this comment: “it’s not what you know that will help you, it’s the questions you ask”.

Prof. Sundaram was talking about Analytical Chemistry, but this applies across the board to just about everything.

Questions ignite imaginations, avert catastrophes and reveal unexpected paths to brighter destinations.In Forbes Bunch of entrepreneurs have pitched in their questions which are as follows:

1. How can we become the company that would put us out of business?
2. Are we relevant? Will we be relevant five years from now? Ten?
3. If energy were free, what would we do differently? Or if not energy, then choose another key word that drives your business?
4. What is it like to work for me?
5. If we weren’t already in this business, would we enter it today? And if not, what are we going to do about it?
6. What trophy do we want on our mantle? Is growth most important? Profitability, stability?
7. Do we have bad profits? Some products/services look attractive, but are they taking the company capital and focus away from its main line of business?
8. What counts that we are not counting? What tangible and intangible assets truly differentiate your business  that you currently have no means of measuring?
9. In the past few months, what is the smallest change you have made that has had the biggest positive result? What was it about that small change that produced the largest return?
10. Are you paying enough attention to the partners your company depends on to succeed?
11. What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader?
12. What are the implications of this decision 10 minutes,10 months, and 10 years from now?
13. Do I make eye contact 100% of the time?
14. What is the smallest subset of the problem we can usefully solve?
15. Are we changing as fast as the world around us?
16. If no one would ever find out about my accomplishments, how would I lead differently?
17. Which customers can't participate in our market because they lack skills, wealth, or convenient access to existing solutions?
18. How likely is it that a customer would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?
19. Is this an issue for analysis or intuition?
20. Who, on the executive team or the board, has spoken to a customer recently? What should we stop doing?
21. What are the gaps in my knowledge and experience?
22. What am I trying to prove to myself, and how might it be hijacking my life and business success?
23. What do we stand for- and what are we against?
24. Is there any reason to believe the opposite of my current belief?
25. Do we have the right people on the bus?

Questions can be a great friend. Have an outstanding weekend!


Notes from the readings today

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Tony Dungy mentions in Quiet Strength : "It is the journey that matters. Learning is most important than the test. Practice well and the games will take care of themselves."

Rick Pitino in Success is a choice: Individuals with great self-esteem will do great things..they're the ones others count on to boost results when the company needs it most.


Lesson on integrity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

  SRT1

I am currently  reading the book "Playing it my way" written by the Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar (SRT).  I always want to know what he had to go through to reach the pinnacle of success he had achieved to be one of the greatest cricketers of all time. One of the stories which he shares in this book really shows what he is made up of. 

SRT's career did not start the way one would expect. When he started getting coached from Ramakant Achrekar (RA), he moved schools to Sharadashram where RA coached. The first two games he played, he scored  two consecutive ducks. He scored 24 runs in the third game.     One had to score at least 30 runs to get the individual score published in newspaper. The scorer of the game mentioned to SRT  that he will make up his score to 30 (adding the extras of 6 to his score) and convinced SRT that it should be alright as he is not changing the total. In the excitement of seeing the name in the newspaper, SRT had agreed to fudge his score from 24 to 30. He was hoping he would get applause all over the place for this accomplishment. Instead, the following day SRT got the surprise/shock of his lifetime. Coach RA got really upset, shocked and unhappy after seeing the fudged score in the newspaper. He took SRT aside  and showed through the motion how unhappy he was with the manipulation. It taught him a valuable lesson of integrity and SRT promised that he will never do that again. What a powerful story and a powerful lesson! The instance clearly shows how his character is made up of.

I have seen lot of occasions where emphasis is given more on performance than integrity. So I have seen lot of people falter and fudge having the notion of doing whatever it takes to make things happen. Doing whatever it takes is good but it has to be done with integrity. Success without integrity is not long lasting.  Even though he might erred in this occasion, it takes a lot of guts to openly share it so that everyone can learn from it.  This is one of the reasons SRT was able to have outstanding success in the long run as he had all these values and principles deep rooted in him. 

Picture courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo


Genuine leadership and BS

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I love reading the works of Dr. John C. Maxwell. All his books focusses on leadership and leading from the front. To be a leader, one has to be constantly on the move, engaged, working on execution, learning and making appropriate changes to improve performance constantly.

One of the stories he shares about the turkey chatting it up with the 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 on 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 on top of the tree. But he was promptly spotted by a hunter, who shot him down 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.


Blind spots and self awareness

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Believe it or not, all of us have blind spots. We need to be aware that we are also capable of making mistakes. We should not be like this guy whom I am going to describe. 

I am originally from Chennai. Chennai is a city in Southern part of India which is known for its humidity.  It was a hot day at work due to issues in air conditioning. There were about dozen people in close quarters and everyone was sweating with a fan on. All of a sudden,  people started to wrinkle their noses at an odor passing through the air. One of the guys at work got irritated and said,  "Oh Boy, someone's deodorant is not working?"

A guy in the corner immediately yelled saying,  "Can't be me, wasn't wearing any."

We all love to visualize ourselves as  self-aware, but when a story comes up we always assume that it’s our neighbor who desperately needs to hear it and not us. Our time is spent judging whether our friends, co-workers, and family members are blissfully unaware of their deficiencies or just too self-absorbed to notice.It is important to check ourselves first before we start judging others.

 


Good thoughts

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today my friend G. Krishnan (fondly referred to Gikku) shared a quote from Swami Vivekananda. I loved it and would like to share this with you all.

"If we both exchange one rupee, we each have one rupee.

But if we both exchange one good thought, we each have two good thoughts."

Isn't that so true and powerful?


Gratitude

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." 

-William Arthur Ward

Gratitude1

 

As you look back over the span of your life  I’m sure there are people along the way who made an impact. Do you remember them? They are the ones who befriended you in a new position. They helped you grow and develop your confidence. They stood by you and believed in you when no one else would. They gave you correction when you needed it and patiently gave of their time to help you grow and become the person you are today. Expressions of your gratitude are in order.

Why not reach out and reach back to say thank you to those who were kind enough to help you?

Perhaps you can give them a call or send them a note expressing your gratitude. Life is too short  not to pause now and then to remember, reflect, and give thanks for where you are and for those who helped you. 


Dealing with unexpected changes

-Karthik Gurumurthy

When I was in high school and college, I spent hours and hours learning, and trying to understand Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Currently I live close to Los Angeles and from time-time we get some tremors which shake us up. Heisenberg principle is nothing to do with what I am going through..but uncertainty/tremor is the one I am talking about. I am currently dealing with lot of uncertainties/tremors. How do we deal with unexpected changes in life?

We all need to know how to handle these unexpected changes. Even when you think you’ve curled into a cozy cocoon of predictability, anything could change in a heartbeat.

The only constant in life is that it will involve change; and try as you may to control the future, sometimes all you can do is trust that whatever happens, you can adapt and make the best of it.

Since I am straddling familiarity and the unknown, waiting to form some type of expectations for my future, I’ve been thinking a lot about dealing with uncertainty well. Though I’ve written before about embracing an uncertain future, I have a few thoughts as I am going through this:

Replace expectations with actionable plans.

When you form expectations, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You can guide your tomorrow, but you can’t control the exact outcome. If you expect the worst, you’ll probably feel too negative and closed-minded to notice and seize opportunities. If you expect the best, you’ll create a vision that’s hard to live up to.

Instead of expecting the future to give you something specific, focus on what you’ll do to create what you want to experience.

What is in my hands is what I plan—, find balance, and live the life I want.

Prepare for different possibilities.

The most difficult part of uncertainty, at least for me, is the inability to plan and feel in control. But I can plan for the possibilities. If Plan A doesn't work, having a Plan B..If not Plan C..There are 26 possibilities in total for all of us.

Become a feeling observer.

It isn’t the uncertainty that bothers me; it’s my tendency to get lost in my feelings about it.

The second I start indulging fear, I get lost in a cycle of reactionary thoughts. “It might not work out” leads to “How will I achieve my goal?” Before you know it, I’ve somehow traveled all the way to “What if I become this homeless person in the street?

Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration. The point is that speculation leads to feelings, which can lead to more speculation and then more feelings. It helps me to stop the cycle by recognizing the feeling—in that case, fear—and the reminding myself: I can’t possibly predict the future, but I can help create it by fostering positive feelings about the possibilities.

Get confident about your coping and adapting skills. This isn’t the same as “expect the worst.” It’s more about assuring yourself that you can handle any difficulty that might come.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I could take the opportunity to downsize my stuff. I could deal, which makes the uncertainty a little less scary.

Utilize stress reduction techniques preemptively.

If you’re dealing with uncertainty, you probably have stress in your body, even if it’s not at the forefront of your thoughts in this exact moment. Over time, that body stress affects blood pressure, blood sugar, muscle tension, cholesterol level, breathing rate, and every organ in your body.

Incorporate stress reduction techniques into your day, ideally meditation, even if just five to ten minutes daily. Finding your center will help you feel better prepared to tackle whatever comes your way.

Focus on what you can control.

Oftentimes, we overlook the little things we can do to make life easier while obsessing about the big things we can’t do. What is in my control is, what I can do today to take care of the issues for today.


Practice mindfulness.

When you obsess about a tomorrow you can’t control, you’re too busy judging what hasn’t happened yet to fully experience what’s happening right now. Instead of noticing and appreciating the beauty in the moment, you get trapped in a fear-driven thought cycle about the potential for discomfort down the line.

While meditation is the best way to become more mindful, it isn’t the only approach. Sometimes it helps me to take an inventory of what’s good in today.

If ever you think you’ve created a controllable, predictable life for yourself, you can rest assured that’s an illusion. Nothing stays the same forever.

The uncertainty can keep you up at night, obsessing over ways to protect yourself from anything that might go wrong. Or it can motivate you to practice acceptance, live in the moment, and embrace the adventure of living.

What’s coming tomorrow might not be easy—or it might fulfill you in ways you didn’t know to imagine. What’s certain is that it will come and when it gets here, you’ll respond to it, learn from it, and move into another tomorrow full of endless possibilities.

Today I’m focusing on my possibilities, not my fear, and suddenly I feel much better.


Effective communication

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I wrote this draft about 2 weeks back  but didn't get to post it until today. I have more time now compared to two weeks back.

Anyways, I was able to notice few blunders in communication at work. I am specifically sharing about a person who was running this project. If I had good relationship with the respective person, I would have told the person directly  about how it can affect the results and morale. If I share it with the person now, the person might get defensive. I am hoping the person learns soon.

However I am sharing it here so that we all can  learn and make sure we don't do the same mistake.

We spend about most of our  time in  talking to other people. By simply improving our  discussions we significantly improve the quality of our lives. There are different ways to make every meeting/discussion better:

Clarity:

If you don’t know what outcome  you want to get out of a conversation you will probably be surprised at what you get.

Be clear on what you’re trying to communicate before you start. Clear intentions greatly increase the odds of getting the results desired.

Are you trying to inform? Come up with solutions? share concern? There are as many potentially different outcomes as there are interactions.

The main bottom line from the discussion is : What do I want to have happen as the result of what I say?

Good conversation is about quality, not just quantity. Saying more isn’t necessarily better. Clarity makes you more concise, not more  verbose.

 Speaking politely/kindly :

"People don't know how much you know until they how much you care."- Dr. John C. Maxwell

A  curt reply can kill a good conversation. It suggests that the other person isn’t really interested. Sarcasm and negativity are humiliating and can be a major turn-off. Likewise, speaking rapidly or assertively can come across as harsh.

Results-oriented aggressive people sometimes forget that how a message is delivered largely determines how it is received.

Speak to others with kindness and you are more likely get a positive response.

It doesn’t take any more time to be civil and polite than it does to be direct and harsh. Pay attention to how you say it, not just what you say.

Converse like a friend.

You don’t have to necessarily know a person for long period of time to talk to them like a friend. When you talk like a friend, you are pleasant and upbeat because you value the person you are speaking to. You expect the best from the conversation, and you give your best.

You can talk like a friend to a complete stranger, and he or she will be positively affected by your thoughtfulness. And how often do we take for granted the important people in our lives and make our conversations  void of emotion?

A stranger is only a friend you haven’t made yet. When the quality of discussions improves, it helps to productive long lasting relationships making it efficient and effective.

One way to assure your performance is as expected or better is to ask for ongoing feedback. Don’t just inquire about how you’re doing; specifically ask about what you could do different or better to improve your work. The person whom you are asking for feedback would give you their feedback only if they know you are ready to listen.


Happy Birthday Appa!

Mothers Day 2011 104

 

-by Karthik Gurumurthy

 

Appa, today is your Seventy second birthday. Happy Birthday Appa. There is not a day that goes by without thinking about you. I am sure you are cutting cake with Patti Thatha and blessing us all. On this day, I would like to remember the lessons you taught me. I will keep them close to my heart and remind myself of them whenever I stumble or falter. You have always been the greatest cheerleader and I derived greatest fulfilment when I heard your comforting words of wisdom. Whenever you blessed, the words spoken were all done to encourage, comfort and reassure. This isn’t general wisdom, rather advice that was tailor-made just for me. I definitely miss that.I love you Dad.

Six nuggets you shared

  • Be yourself. Accept who you are, you’ve got no one else to be. You're born an original, don't die a copy: be yourself not someone else.Don’t apologize. Don’t make excuses.
  • Be unique. Don’t try to adapt yourself to someone else’s view of normal. That belongs to them, not you. Like yourself as you are.
  • Don’t worry about other people’s opinions. Everyone’s a critic, but ultimately what they say only matters if you let it. Don’t believe your own press. People can just as easily sing your praises as they can tear you down. Don’t waste your time on things you can’t change. Let it slide off you like water off a duck’s back.
  • What ever you do, always give it a good go. Don’t be afraid of failure and disappointment. If you fall flat on your face then get straight back up. You’ll always regret not trying. Disappointment is temporary, regret is forever. As long as you dedicate yourself to your goal, you have nothing else to worry about.
  • Never, ever, ever, ever give up. Keep on punching no matter what your up against. You’re only defeated if you give up, so don’t give up. Don’t take yourself too seriously. People who take themselves too seriously are boring. Laugh. There’s humour to be found everywhere, even in your darkest days there’s something to have a joke about. Laugh long and loud and make other people laugh. It’s good for you.
  • Be generous and kind because you can’t take it all with you. When you’ve got something to give, give it without hesitation.Love with all your heart and be humane. In the end, love is the only thing that matters.

Reading

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I am thankful for the train ride to work every day. It gives me a chance to read, observe, contemplate and capture ideas that will be relevant to my audience and useful in my speaking, writing, coaching and consulting. Reading broadly and eclectically develops intellectual bandwidth. If we read only what others are reading, we will likely lack the ingredients for true originality.


Play to win

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I wrote this post couple of weeks back  but did not get to post it until today. This was written when Germany beat Argentina to win Football Worldcup.

Argentina played well but the way Argentina played was it  just played enough to survive. 

It is a pre-requisite, obviously for everything else. But that cannot be the end goal. Germany however, played to win.

A client once told me, “I didn’t go to college to learn how to survive. I want to thrive!!”

Of course if we don’t expect much in life and don’t get it, we aren’t as disappointed. Some people aim low–at surviving–with the confidence that at least they can achieve that.

During difficult times, both individuals and businesses are sometimes faced with survival as a primary goal. But like Robert Schuller says, “Tough times never last but tough people do.”

The danger is staying in survival mode longer than necessary. Anyone can become so accustomed to playing not to lose that they stop playing to win.

Michaelangelo said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” 

To change your future, change your present perspective.


Thinking about you Dad

-Karthik Gurumurthy

AppaKarthik_061514

Father’s Day is an appropriate time to reflect on our own fathers and on what it means to be a father. My father was basically a happy man, who put family first. He went to be with the Lord two years ago. I’ve learned many lessons from my dad that will stay with me forever and that I’ll try and pass on to my son.

 This was my last year posting  about my dad.

This was my posting in 2012.

 I have learned a lot from my dad and these are the lessons I learned which I would like to share this year:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Unexpected problems will always happen in life and the vast majority of them aren’t worth worrying about as they all seem to work themselves out. Laugh every day. This leaves a lasting impression on your children.

Always carve out time for your family and children. The things I remember most about my dad are simple times like playing cricket with Aravind and myself in the evening and taking us out during our summer break. Men put so much energy into wearing the mantle of Provider, and they devote so many hours each day working hard to climb the ladder, that they forget the very people they’re working for: their children. Most kids would rather live in a shack with a father who is present in their lives than in a mansion with a father who is always working late or constantly out of town on business. Strive to find the balance.

Take vacation time and spend most of it with your children. I’ve written before of how misguided it is when some men brag about not using their vacation time and act like the business world would crumble if they weren’t consistently active in it. Growing up in Chennai, summer vacations were magical when I was a kid. To this day they hold a special place in my memory. Although I didn’t really understand it all, I enjoyed seeing my dad unwind and cast aside the pressures that life heaps on us. Every summer he planned a fun trip to different cities all over India which we looked forward to it big time. We did this until we were in high school. We played cards/chess/cricket and I learned a lot about having the balance. I didn't think much of it when we did this and but now I do understand the planning that went to make that happen.

With the start of summer at your threshold, it’s right to be reminded about how significant it is to be present with your children and to live in the moment with them. You can’t ignore your business responsibilities and challenges, but you shouldn’t elevate them to the pinnacle of importance and prominence in your world. Save that place for enjoying life with your family, your friends and your children. Take a vacation and laugh a lot. That’s the kind of legacy that lasts. That’s what is best to be remembered for.

You gave me unconditional love. What a gift to have a father like you who thought the world of me. Growing up you always told me I could do & be whatever I wanted. You were right. You always gave 110% passion and effort in everything you did.You gave me self confidence. You always taught me to succeed in anything, you have to be determined and dedicated without an iota of doubt.

You always taught me the value of honesty by being direct and not mince words. Your favorite quote was always, "Truth need not be remembered."

How I appreciate all those intangibles you instilled in me. It shows in my relationships with others. It shows in my outlook on the world. It shows in my work ethic. It shows in my parenthood.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about you. When I look at my son I think of you and want to instill that self confidence and strong foundation you gave me. You raised me to be a strong man & I'm striving to do the same for my child. I appreciate your life even more. This is what I wanted my kid(s) to learn...(written back in 2005)....


Secrets of Happiness

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Heard this story from a discourse from H.H.Shri Ravishankar today in Sankara TV.


Once a wise man drew a line on a board and told his student to make the line shorter without touching or erasing it. How would you do it? You have to shorten a line without touching it. The intelligent one (referring to the student) then drew a much longer line underneath that line. So, the line automatically became shorter. The lesson here is that if your difficulties appear to be very big, lift your eyes because you are only focused on yourself. If you lift your eyes up and look at those who are in a worse condition than you, you will suddenly feel that your burden is not as bad as you thought it was. If you think you have some big problem, look at people who have a greater problem. Suddenly, you will get a confidence that my problem is much smaller, and I can manage it.

So, the first point on how to be happy is to see the world where there are greater and bigger problems. Then, your problems will appear smaller. The moment your problems appear smaller, you will get the energy and confidence to deal with it or solve it. In simple words, serve those who are in greater need.

Second, look at your own life. In the past, you had many problems. They have all come and gone. Know that even this will go and you do have the energy and power to overcome it. You will get self-confidence by understanding and looking at your own past.

Third, and most important, do some breathing exercise and relaxation.

Fourth, do you know, in anger we say, ‘I give up’. Without frustration or anger say, ‘I give this problem up, I cannot solve it, let the Divine help me.’ And know that you will always be helped. Have the confidence that you will be helped; a power in the universe is going to help you.

The fifth one – what do you think is the fifth one? I leave it to you. You think about the fifth one. I can go on up to twenty-five or thirty (points), but I would like you to come up with it. We are always looking for solutions from someone. We forget that if we turn our mind inward, we can get some idea, some solution. This is the fifth one. Spontaneity! Be spontaneous. Spontaneity will come when you take a few minutes to go deep within yourself. There is nothing great in smiling when everything is normal, and when everything is going the way you want. But if you awaken the valor inside of you, and say, ‘Come what may, I am going to keep smiling’, you will notice tremendous energy, just rise from within you. And the problem is like nothing; it just comes and disappears.


Thank you Amma......for everything!

 

HappyMothersDay2014_GurumurthyKarthik

  Amma_Mothersday

-Karthik Gurumurthy

One day out of the year, we have this beautiful opportunity to remind ourselves how blessed we are to have a Mother. We might not thank them enough for all the things they have done for us. She carried us inside of her for nine months.

So, Mom, this one is for you:

Thank You For Your Unconditional Love and Support.

You are my best friend and you always have been. I’ve seen your love million times be it when I was sick in school, be it taking me to IIT coaching classes, be it taking me to undergrad/grad admission counseling.You were always there for me with me. You comforted me at times that life became a little too tough to handle. Not to mention, you have shown me how to love others and how to love them well.

Thank You For Showing Me Grace When I Didn’t Deserve It
Perhaps it is easier for me to take my frustrations out on you than anyone else in this world because you love me limitlessly and unconditionally. There were times when I was a total jerk to you; I was rude, selfish and unkind. Still, you loved me anyway, and for that, I am forever grateful.


Thank You For Giving Me Everything
You never told me no and I appreciate that generosity. I know kids can be expensive and demanding. Working 9-5 for 34 years and still raising wonderful kids...I don't know how you did it..You never skipped a beat. Doing an outstanding job at work as well as taking wonderful care of us...You are the biggest outstanding Go-Giver who have lead by example about how to take care of everyone without grudges, complaining but with a happy heart.

From supporting me emotionally through my awkward beginning high school days, to sacrificing your personal time after your long days at work to talk me through my problems and working extra hard to support us (Aravind and me) financially through college, you and Appa have always been there.

You have sacrificed so much in order to give me a better life than you had when you were a kid.

Thank You For Always Believing In Me
Life has been difficult and there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up, when things were not going my way. Each time, you were there to remind me of my worth as a human being.

You encouraged me to keep reaching for the unreachable and never settle for anything less than I deserved. No matter how crazy my dreams were — you always told me to go after what would make me fulfilled.

Whenever I have any hardships, the only person I can count on who has been there and prayed enough to make the mess to a miracle is because of you Mom.

As I get older, I realize more and more how much you have done for me and continue to do every day.

The greatest gift God has given me is the gift of a wonderful Mother..who has given me the strength, the courage, unconditional love and support through a great example, sacrifice and loads and loads of patience.

This Mother’s Day, thank whomever you call “Mom” for being the best on the planet at her job.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom..

HappyMothersDay2014_2


Lessons from the mess

-Karthik Gurumurthy

There are times when you feel like everything is going your way. It is a great feeling when you have it. Today is not that kind of a day. Actually, it is the opposite. I don't have to elaborate but there seems to be lot of friction in many areas of life at this point of time and I am seeing what I can do to emerge without losing myself.


About twenty years back, my aunt whom we fondly used to refer as Dhammu Athai had gifted me lot of attitude posters/anecdotes which has helped me big time at different points.She used to work for Crompton Greaves and everyime I used to drop by at her office, she used to hand me these anecdotes which played a huge role in my life. The one I caught hold of was about Life reminders. I photocopied it and kept it in my portfolio binder .  It’s still there today, and it continues to remind me that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.  And that no matter how good or bad I have it, I must wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

I have to be reminded that happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.  Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles.  Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.

Here are a few reminders that is helping me motivate myself and I am sure it will benefit all of you as well:

1.  Pain is part of growing.

Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward.  And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to.  When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose.  Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.  Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.  Good things take time.  Stay patient and stay positive.  Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you.  When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

2.  Everything in life is temporary.

Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt, you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever.  It won’t.  Nothing lasts forever.

So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.

3.  Worrying and complaining changes nothing.

Those who complain the most, accomplish the least.  It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.  It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it.  If you believe in something, keep trying.  Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future.  Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter.  Take action instead.  Let what you’ve learned improve how you live.  Make a change and never look back.

And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

4.  Your scars are symbols of your strength.

Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with.  A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed.  It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward.  A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of.  Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage.  Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear.  You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them.  You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.

I heard somewhere, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars.  See your scars as a sign of “YES!  I MADE IT!  I survived and I have my scars to prove it!  And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”

5.  Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it.  So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way.  Otherwise, there’s no point in starting.  This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion.  It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end.  It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills.  It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar.  It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers.  It could mean lots of time alone in solitude.  Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible.  It gives you the space you need.  Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds.  And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine.  You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path.  And it’s worth it.  So if you’re going to try, go all the way.  There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be alive!
 
6.  Other people’s negativity is not your problem.

Be positive when negativity surrounds you.  Smile when others try to bring you down.  It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus.  When other people treat you poorly, keep being you.  Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are.  You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you.  They do things because of them.

Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough.  Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future.  People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it.  So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think.  If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it.  Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.

All jokes aside, your life only comes around once.  This is IT.  So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.


7.  What’s meant to be will eventually, BE.

True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.  There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them.  You can’t force things to happen.  You can only drive yourself crazy trying.  At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE.

In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience.  It’s a long-term journey.  You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way.  Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds.  You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.  


8.  The best thing you can do is to keep going.

Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again.  Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.  Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.  There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong.  And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.  When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher.  Find the strength to laugh every day.  Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful.  Find it in your heart to make others smile too.  Don’t stress over things you can’t change.  Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak truthfully.  Work diligently.  And even if you fall short, keep going.  Keep growing.

Get up every day and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

    Think positively.
    Eat healthy.
    Exercise today.
    Worry less.
    Work hard.
    Laugh often.
    Sleep well.

It is all upto you/me to make the attitude adjustment and make it happen.


Thank you Bank of America..

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I was fortunate to work at Bank of America for the last 18 months. It was indeed a great learning experience to work with lot of wonderful people there. Some of them I got to meet in person and most of them I knew through virtual media. I am thankful for the opportunity to meet and learn from such a diverse group of people. Having no prior mortgage lending/banking experience, it was very new to me. First few months were little challenging.  But with the help of the wonderful team, I was able to pick it up and run with it. Since the 18-month contract is done, it is time for me to move on. Thank you Bank of America for the opportunity.


Remembering Appa

- Karthik Gurumurthy

It has been two years since you left us. When I say, left us, I mean your mighty physical presence. I know you are always with and within us in guiding us. We all definitely miss your physical presence. The best way to honor you is to follow what you have taught us and set a good example making each day count. Success is after all, how many people are better off because you lived. It would have been wonderful if you had stayed longer . All of us come with an invisible shelf life. We just have to make the best use of the cards we are dealt with and make each day count towards something great. Thank you Appa for being there with us all the time and guiding us through all the issues. We miss you big time Guruji. We love you Appa-:)


Apology

-Karthik Gurumurthy

An apology serves three purposes. First, it claims responsibility for past mistakes. Second, it announces your commitment to change and, third, it works as an agreement between both parties. When you apologize, say the words, "I'm sorry. I'll try to do better." Then say nothing else. Do not qualify your behavior or make excuses for your actions.

Just saying you're sorry for past behavior is not enough. You must announce loudly and clearly, again and again, that you are committed to making a change. This personal advertising help you change other people's perceptions of your behavior and it holds you accountable. It also gives people permission to monitor your progress and offer suggestions.


Thoughts for today: Fear of Failure

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions. – Satish Reddy

Lot of times we seek approval and sometimes the fear of rejection takes over.If as a leader you are seeking or depending upon the approval of others for your validation as a leader you had better fasten your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Developing your sense of worth as a leader comes from within. It’s when you embrace your God-given talents and abilities that you can be humble when receiving praise and forgiving when being criticized. Because it’s then you realize that your purpose as a leader is not to make everyone else happy. Be confident in the abilities you have. Be gracious to all. Be the best version of you that you can be!


Thoughts for today: Plenty of room at the top!

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I was raised in an extremely competitive family. My cousins went to great schools and set a great standard for us to follow. This definitely provided me with energy and desire and a great deal of stamina. But what I found in my early years was that the goals that I set for myself became meaningless as soon as they were reached. This created a pattern of dissatisfaction and non-contentment. Beyond that there was an undercurrent of inability to share the joys of others' achievements, since, by definition, winning is about being at the top. And if someone is there, you're not.

When I joined my Grad school in Baltimore, I had to slow down to reflect this, that  there is room enough at the top for everyone. If I compete for the first spot, First, it means that your personal success does not need to be tied to someone else's failure. Secondly, it reinforces the belief that supporting others and their successes can be incorporated into your own view of success. Finally it calls for patience; for there is truly enough room at the top for everyone, you need not seize every opportunity that arises for fear that that opportunity will be forever lost. That extra room at the top means that there is room for you as well as everyone else. The opportunities will appear again. One priority may be displaced by another for a period of time without completely abandoning the vision no matter how strong. And if one can be patient, supportive, and capable of rejoicing in another's success, then peace will follow. Because each changed life signals renewed hope as one life touches another, and then another, and society begins to reflect the difference. Because, after all, "civilization is just a slow process of learning to be kind."


Thoughts for today: Seeking lasting rewards

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"It is better to deserve honors and not have them, than to have them and not deserve them."- Mark Twain

Somewhere between choosing life's work and doing it, many of us become diverted. We are subtly compromised by intellectual competition fueled at the earliest stages. Competition is addictive and not easily discarded. To win, to be the best, to hear our names stated publicly become the goals. The pace, consuming responsibility, and the dampening of emotions crowd out normal feelings and challenge our commitment to family, friends and self. Financial rewards are offered to compensate for our inattention to our real responsibilities. Without a great deal of care, power does corrupt. Laboring for money, possessions and personal recognition are signs of a life out of balance. We could all benefit from the advice of our elders. One study of 450 people who lived to be 100 successfully outlined the following keys to their success: They kept busy. They went to bed early and got up early. They were free from worry and fear.They had serene minds and faith. They practiced moderation. They ate lightly and simply. They had a great deal of fun in their lives. Reaching success in one area is not enough, it should be complete and lasting.


Today's thoughts: Simplicity

-Karthik Gurumurthy

The best leaders don't waste time. They have the unique ability to cut to the chase, and say it in a few well-chosen words. This simplicity enhances message clarity and demonstrates respect for others' time. The same direct communication styles have a way of carrying over to process design as well. Just as words are not wasted, neither are steps or time. Respect for simplicity and the real business at hand reinforces strong interpersonal relationships. In contrast, long-winded complexity distracts. But what taking the time to just shoot the breeze, to show you're a regular person, to develop a relationship. The truth is you are usually interrupting  someone's workflow. It only takes a second to smile or give a person a pat on the back. Do this instead!.


Today's thoughts: Effective communication

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug."-Mark Twain

Effective communication is based on clarity of thinking. It is interesting how often an individual's confidence dissolves when he is asked to commit his thoughts to writing. For writing demands words and figures rather than thoughts and general notions. Some leaders resist the written word for fear of being "nailed down" on an issue. Others decline because they suffer a weakness present with surprising frequency, the inability to write well at a reasonable pace. Finally, there are those who stay away because they are not accustomed to collecting data, organizing their thoughts, and making a succinct and convincing case. In contrast, successful leaders are able to commit their beliefs and arguments to writing, and are constantly bubbling to the top sequential facts arranged in a convincing manner. And those who are clear on paper are superior oral communicators as well.


Thoughts for today- Emotional Intelligence

-Karthik Gurumurthy


Your emotional intelligence has a lot to do with how physically healthy you are. Emotional health results from optimizing your innermost feelings, from dealing with conflicts, and from viewing difficulties as opportunities, not disasters. The following six actions are excellent good habits to possess.

  1. Accept yourself. Deal with the world without constant inner battles. Not every battle is worth winning.Accept what you can't change. When you find something that can and should be changed, accept that responsibility.
  2.  Accept others. Dealing with others' faults is a test of one's maturity. Accepting others helps you deal with their faults and allows you to criticize without venom. Not getting along with people is a sign your emotional health needs work.
  3. Keep your sense of humor and use it as a plane to shave off the rough edges of life. Your humor reflects your attitude toward others; don't joke at the expense of others.
  4. Appreciate simple pleasures, no matter how often repeated. Stay excited over things even if they seem ordinary to others.
  5. Enjoy the present. Although you can provide for the future, you cannot control or foresee it. Venture fearlessly into new projects and new places.
  6. Learn to have fun rather than living in a state of constant resentment. Sometimes if I take sometime and play with my son, it feels great to play with him with all the innocence and wonder than watching a movie/TV.

Denis Waitley noted that scientists are discovering that disease is not necessarily caused by gems and viruses acting alone. All people have germs, but not everyone becomes ill. In addition to hereditary and environmental factors, there is strong evidence that the cause of many illnesses is closely linked with the way an individual reacts to life.

16 year old Melissa Anderson knows how to react to life and injuries. After being struck by a motorcycle, Anderson was rushed to UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. When doctors removed her ruptured spleen and repaired her damaged liver, they weren't finished. The accident punctured her lung, broke her collarbone and right leg, and caused her brain to swell. Doctors expected Anderson to be hospitalized for months.

When she regained consciousness, Anderson had other plans: She wanted to go home. Twelve days later she did."When I want to do something, I just go for it. I worked on getting out of there," she explained. Her doctor,Dr.Lekawa, said Anderson's "attitude and willingness to get up and move around despite pain speeded her recovery and prevented side effects such as pneumonia, embolisms, or kidney failure." He added, "The will to recover causes hormonal changes in the body that encourage healing. I absolutely believe that a strong attitude to do well and survive helps you out."

Researchers claim that your right attitude is a medicine and they can back up their claim. Physical and emotional health are interrelated; a person with good emotional health can work, love, and play without much internal stress.But things have a way of getting tough, and when they do your emotional intelligence determines your ability to cope. Emotional health is as important as physical health because it helps you visualize, imagine, and anticipate full recovery from illness. You also can reward yourself for recovering. Good emotional health should be a goal in your life. Activities such as hobbies, reading, enjoying nature, gardening,or listening to music can help your emotional health.


Saturday night live!- Quiet reflections about risks

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."

-John F. Kennedy.

What is short term and what is long term is a function of the rate of change. At a gradual pace, it may be reasonable to concentrate predictively on circumstances five or ten years out. But in rapidly accelarating environments, the best one might be able to do is to define actions six months or a year away. In both cases, leader is thinking as far ahead as reality dictates is reasonable. He/she is predicting the fallout of short term decisions, weighing, assessing and leveraging in favor of long-term benefit. Successful risk takers are always attempting to limit the risk. They are grounded in reality and do their homework. Contrast this with my four year old, who at one time last year dove off head first from table (in the Park). Thankfully I was able to reach the pavement beneath him just before he did. He too, was a risk taker,  but he had an incomplete grip on reality and had no idea of the consequences of his actions. Leaders make mistakes. Some are large, obvious and embarrassing.But they never make the mistake twice. And their capacity to learn, to evolve, and to catapult off of a poor showing helps establish their mystique. They are human enough to try new things and willing to demonstrate vulnerability.But they have the uncanny ability to move from naive student to master teacher in a single step. Their willingness to risk failure simply reflects their knowledge that success will surely follow.


Thoughts for today! Attitudes

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Earl Nightingale, said, "Attitude will always affect your success, and you'll know it affected your success when you take credit for your success that's the good side or you blame somebody that's the bad side."

Leadership Guru Dr. John C. Maxwell tells this story about taking responsibility for attitude. After seeing how-to-improve-your-attitude books in his father's briefcase during a vacation, Maxwell said, "Dad, you're 70 years old. You've always had a great attitude. Are you still reading that stuff?".
 

Melvin Maxwell looked his son in the eye and answered, "I have to keep working on my thoughts through out my life. I am responsible for having a great attitude and for maintaining it. My attitude does not run on auto pilot."

So, we not only choose our attitudes, but they are also a continuing choice. TV anchor Hugh Downs defined a happy person not as someone with a certain set of circumstances, but with a certain set of attitudes.


Today's thoughts: Dreams

Karthik Gurumurthy

Our dreams are our invitations to perform the dance we have been gifted with. Dreams are full of purpose. They mean to inspire us, acting as markers along the paths to our destination. If we had no dreams, we would quickly lose the will to live.

The twenty-four hours ahead will be filled with dreams as well as actions. The actions we take today are no doubt inspired by yesterday's or last week's dreams. Dreams help us to image that which our souls desire us to do. This imagery is powerful, helping us to be prepared for any situation that requests our involvement.

Through our dreams we feel the pull of the inner self - that center we have that knows our needs, talents, our proper course and destination. My lifeline to tomorrow is through today's dream. I will respect its call and take the action necessary to make it come true.


Thoughts for today! Acting first..

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Things are always created twice, first mentally and then physically. Act like the person you want to be and that is what you become. Once you start doing something, such as standing stall, maintaining eye contact when you talk to people, and speaking distinctly with energy in your voice, motivation kicks in and helps you keep doing it. Acting as if may seem difficult the first time you do it, but like anything else, the more you act as if, the better you become. Acting as if gets the chemistry moving in the right direction. Don't wait for motivation to tap you on the shoulder. Instead act first and motivation naturally follows to keep you going in your chosen direction.