190 posts categorized "Opportunity"

Print worthy!

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I browse through many articles and posts  on a daily basis. If I find something truly outstanding  I print them, irrespective of how many pages are involved. 

Yes, sure;  you can save it and access it later. Personally for me converting the ideas into a document I can hold, highlight and saving it separately is compelling. It means I really find that post worthwhile  and the value I get from re-reading it is priceless.

When was the last time you read something so great that you feel the urge to print it?

Not all our written communications need to be “have to  print” quality, but if nothing we write  urges our readers to print it, we’re not  definitely up to the mark. That is one way of checking if we are articulating it correctly so that the readers feel compelled to print them. Print worthy is a good goal we all can strive for.


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.

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.


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: 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.


Merry Christmas!

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a Merry Christmas! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement throughout the year.

I would also like to wish you and your family all the best in the coming year. My prayer for you is that you will be blessed with good health, be surrounded with loving family and friends, and that you will continue to grow and reach your full potential and destiny.


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.


Thoughts for today: Risk

-Karthik Gurumurthy

The story is told of a man living near the Holy Ganges river in India. A farmer like his father and Grandfather, Ram staunchly believed that God would always take care of him. Life was good; Ram's crops flourished and his animals were healthy. 

When the Ganges began rising, Ram thought to himself, God will take care of me. As water covered the first floor of his farmhouse, Ram picked up his farm animals ans moved up to the second floor. Watching things he barely recognized swirling past his house. Ram marveled at the river's power. The next day when neighbors rowed up to his bedroom window to take Ram to higher ground, he refused to leave because he believed God would provide. Water rose over the second floor and Ram reluctantly moved into the top floor, Volunteers yelled through second floor window, pleading with him to get into their boat, yet Ram steadfastly refused. The following morning, water began seeping into the second floor and Ram wearily moved onto the roof; certain that God would provide, he refused to climb into neighbor's boat. As water covered the roof, Ram exhausted by his ordeal, feel asleep and was swept away by the rising water.

While a helicopter crew was recovering his body, Ram was asking to God in heaven with a disappointed note, "Why didn't you take care of me?". God answered, "Well, I sent three boats and a helicopter- What were you waiting for?"

Like Ram, we often hope for divine intervention rather than take the leap of faith and the risk to move on.We doubt our own judgment, we love our safe comfort zones and hate uncertainty. It is also the fear factor. Fear can be Finding Every Acceptable Reason not to do something or False Evidence Appearing Real. Successful have the tendency to believe latter and make the first move which makes all the difference.


Thought process: Vision

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Epictetus, A Greek Philosopher, wrote: " What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are." Centuries later, Johnny Carson proved Old Epictetus right when he joked on his late night television show about a shortage of toilet paper in the US. Fiendishly, Carson went into exaggerated detail about the dire consequences of the Tissue Paper shortage. To his amazement and distributors dismay, people took Carson seriously and bough up all the toilet paper in sight. People who heard Carson's retraction later remain unconvinced; they knew there was a shortage. after all the shelves were empty. This was a vision gone awry.

This is a funny story but having a vision of your future enables you to make it come true through your actions.


Silence

-Karthik Gurumurthy

 Silence is a source of great strength. – Lao Tzu

One of the hardest lessons for a young leader to learn is that of silence. One of the hardest lessons for seasoned leaders is to remember it. Silence is a great tool for leaders. You can observe a while lot within your organization by paying attention and listening. What you can learn and the wisdom you gain will serve you well. The lesson here is simple. Don’t be afraid to listen when you are tempted to speak. Take time to process your thoughts. It could very well save you some grief by speaking too soon. Watch and listen. You will be the wiser for it.


Thoughts for today: Everyday learning

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Remember when you came home from school and your parents asked, "So, what do you learn today?". The question is still relevant because learning is important to the health of your brain. Learning does not keep you from getting Alzheimer's disease, but it does keep your brain alive and helps you stave off senility. New knowledge causes your body to make new connections between your brain cells. The process of arborization occurs when neurons actually grow microscopic filaments to connect to each other. When you learn something new, neurons create growth hormones that stimulate their own growth and that of their neighbors. Thoughts happen when the branches of brain cells connect: that's why you need to keep feeding your brain knowledge. We need to make learning a lifetime habit by becoming an habitual thinker.

According to Late Dr. Lazarus (Dr. L), you learn best when you spend a short time learning everyday or every other day. Pulling an all-nighter as you did in college is counterproductive. Dr. L suggested when you are learning something difficult, switch off and do something that comes naturally to you; then return to the difficult subject. 


Thought for today: Listening

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today at work, there was a major issue which created a rift between two groups. On closer discussion with the groups, it is just a gap in communication because of not listening. 

Effective leaders are skilled listeners who take an active interest in the other person. Leaders suspend judgement until all the facts are know and "use a third ear" to discover what the other person wants to-but doesn't or can't-say.

I think it is a good idea for all of us to take the page out of statesman Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack. Franklin wrote that we attain true knowledge by using our ears rather than our tongues.He gave others  time to talk, consciously allowing a silent pause afterward to be sure  they had finished speaking. By listening so carefully, Franklin learned what was important to others. Refusing to speak when he was angry, Franklin waited he could think more clearly, because he realized that softly spoken words often are heard more clearly than harsh loud epithets.


Question enough to get the answer..

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Status Quo HCPSS 7-2013.001

I learned about the amazing story of Stanislavsky Lech who saved his own life by constantly questioning until he found the answer.

Stanislavsky and his family were arrested by the Nazis during World War II and sent to a death camp in Krakow. His entire family was shot in front of him and he was forced into hard labor.

Starving to death he somehow continued, but he knew if he didn't escape he would surely die. He questioned how to succeed every minute of every day. His friends told him it was useless. He refused to accept this and continued to question..continued to search for a solution.

Finally, the solution presented itself. The Germans would  pile bodies next to the gas chambers and each day load them into trucks to be dumped into mass graves.

As his work day ended, Lech slipped out of line, ducked behind a truck loaded with bodies, removed his clothing, and while no one was looking,  jumped into the back of the truck with the dead. More bodies were dumped on top of him and he lay quiet, pretending to be dead.

Finally the truck moved outside the camp grave site and dumped its aweful grave. Lech stayed silent for hours until dark and escaped from the site.

How did Lech survive? Because he refused to give up. He continuously questioned to find the solution.

In life or in business, if something isn't right, we have two solutions: accept it or question it to find a solution.Sometimes you have got to ask many questions to find the right answer.  The key is to never stop questioning until you are satisfied with the answer.


Giving

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Great thought process about giving. My niece Neha Iyer shared this in Facebook and loved to share this with all.

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"Practice giving things away, not just things you don't care about, but things you do like. Remember, it is not the size of a gift, it is its quality and the amount of mental attachment you overcome that count. So don't bankrupt yourself on a momentary positive impulse, only to regret it later. Give thought to giving. Give small things, carefully, and observe the mental processes going along with the act of releasing the little thing you liked."

Thanks Neha.


What if this is it?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I am not trying to be a pessimistic. I don’t want to be controversial. I certainly do not want to offend you or anyone. But, here goes.. What if this is it?

What if, after we pass there is nothing more and your life is simply a collage of the choices, actions and interactions that you have had while you were on this planet. What if you have only one shot. Your life here on the Planet Earth. It’s not a fun thought I know. But I believe it should be a motivating one. We all need to embrace two things; one, YOU are responsible for you. Two, we are judged by our actions here and now. With every single person we meet each day. I mean every single person. Not just the ones that you deem important, likeable or helpful. The annoying child running in the store, the slow check out person at the grocery store, the tedious bank teller, the monotone school teacher, the co-worker that frustrates us, the boss that sometimes seems unreasonable. Everyone. What if you took those opportunities to make the world a better place by treating everyone and everything with love, kindness and respect? Wouldn’t that make the world a better place? I have only a few BIG goals in life. At camp we call them FLAG’s; Fearless Life Altering Goals. 1. Leave the planet a better place for my children and their children. 2. Be ridiculously kind 3. Create a ripple 4. Celebrate the beauty around me. If I do this I think that I will have lived a good life. I will confidently know that when someone mentions my name there is a smile that radiates from those that hear “Do you know GKa?”. If I do this then if there is some Universal greater power, God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Shiva or whomever you believe in, he/she/it will judge me by my work, my actions and interactions. Not by the symbol on a chain around my neck or the idle wishes and demands that I have made upon a higher power. In the end you are a mirror image of your choices. Today, pretend that you can change the world. Not for a backstage pass to the ever-after. Because you know that it’s the right here and now that matters. You can be a positive impact on that.


Thoughts for today: Counting my blessings!

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today is my birthday.I won't say how old I am. I can say I am celebrating my 11th anniversary of 29th birthday. Wow really..! Yes..Time has gone by so fast..

But that is fine...Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.It’s up to you whether or not you get old.

Few years back, I had in my mind my target weight goal in lbs and some financial goals.  But this morning? I decided to ignore the number and celebrate the day. I didn't get on the scale. I didn't check my bank balance. I decided to count my blessings instead.

I remember what birthdays were like as a kid. All of the anticipation of what you might get for a present, what kind of cake you wanted and most importantly what treat you were going to take to school. Yes, I grew up in the days of taking candy for your birthday. That practice that is now frowned upon in some schools and classrooms because of the health implications and the policy in those places is strictly enforced here.

My mom and dad made it special with their personal touch. My mom would make special Payasam (Indian Dessert) along with other special dishes and would shower her love and affection and my dad would pour his affection and I always felt like million bucks that day. Dad always got finer quality new dresses and expensive cakes. I don't know how he was able to afford them but felt like being in Cloud 9 the whole time. For dinner, Dad would take us all to a fine restaurant. Since going to restaurant was reserved for special occasions, we were looking forward to it the whole time. Since dad and mom were in good mood the whole day, I used this time to get their signature on the subjects which I didn't do too well.( I am not sure if they follow the procedure anymore. Back in those days, school students are supposed to show their grades to the parents and parents have to sign them (as a proof) showing they acknowledge the grades!)

I left the whole birthday present thing until last. Honestly, I can’t remember a single thing that I got for my birthday. Don’t worry, me and my brother always got a fantastic gift and it was usually something fun that we had asked for, but I really don’t recall exactly what any of the presents were.  I do know that we only got one present from Mom and Dad and we appreciated it.It is a great feeling to get the blessings from parents and other elders which made it more special.

Fast forward to the present day, my birthday is still a really good day. My lovely wife got up early to cook special lunch with so many of my favorite dishes and a special dessert for me. She also got the cake which I will be having with my dear in-laws. It was nice of them to grace us and we definitely appreciate their presence on this birthday. Made it lot more special.

Maybe it is sad that our birthday goes from being one of the two or three best days of the year to just another day. Sure, every ten years is that “special” birthday when everyone pokes fun at your age and make sure the whole world knows how old you are. I guess in retrospect while birthdays may not be such a big deal when you get to be an adult, they are still important. After all it is a day to reflect on all the good memories and blessings in our lives that came in the past year. It is also a day to look forward and wonder what the next 364 days might hold.

As I celebrate a milestone birthday this year, I want to pause, reflect, and say: Thank You. Over the past several years you have been part of the moments, the days, the months, and the years that have built on each other to create my life story. You have helped shape my journey and it would have been a different adventure had you not been part of the cast.

And so, in celebrating this milestone, I am in turn celebrating all of the cast, all of you, our times together, the moments we've shared, the laughter and the tears. Thank you for being part of it, for reminding me of my strengths when times were tough, and for keeping me in check when my ego took hold. For appreciating my idiosyncrasies, loving me as I am, and helping me be true to myself. But also for telling me when I wasn't being the best I could be, while at the same time reminding me that I am human and allowed to make mistakes. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me in my creative pursuits, for intriguing my curiosity, for all the conversations, and for listening to my endless meandering thoughts, helping me learn and grow. Thank you for showing up and being present. For never ceasing to impress me, inviting me to celebrate your successes with you and for trusting me to be your pillar when you've needed help.

I am in awe that we are traveling this realm at the same time in the history of the world, and grateful that our short duration on this earth have not only overlapped, but that our paths have intersected. When I think about the odds for this to have happened, I really come to appreciate how special this is. That we are now here together, at this time in the history of the world, and that we met and were given the chance to create something together. And I sure hope that together we can continue creating a more loving history, a more generous world, a more peaceful one, one that we're proud to leave behind for the next generations.

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If I was to try and summarize some of the big life lessons gathered over the past 29 years the list might look something like this at first draft..You can say  :

  1. Try not to be in too much of a hurry to “grow up”, always look at the world through a child’s eye as if it is something new to explore. Looking at the world through the eyes of our children we are reminded of the pure goodness and can take ourselves back into this magical place.
  2. My parents had more influence on me than everyone I've ever known. My wife is perfect example of  giving 200% in everything wholeheartedly. I have learned from her, anything worth doing is worth doing well.  If you want to learn about the word loyalty, my brother's name would be there. I learned from him what it means to be fiercely loyal. 
  3. Success is having appreciation for what God’s blessed you with. We need to be thankful all the time. Everytime your name is not in the Obituary section, you need to be thankful. Anyone in the obituary section in your today's newspaper would love to trade places with you whatever your situation maybe.Write down what you are grateful for every day – it changes your outlook on life – I promise.
  4. It’s okay to NOT know what you want to be “when you grow up”. Growing and learning is one of the most fun, important things you can give yourself. You can change careers, jobs, and directions as many times as you want. These are all patchworks and important parts of who you will become. Enjoy the journey.
  5. If you are expecting to see a pattern or purpose to the order of these, good luck.
  6. We only truly live if we put ourselves out there, and I mean right out there, in amongst the scary and the uncertain. Playing it safe is OK if you are happy existing, if you want to LIVE then you need to face your fears, fall, fall again and pick yourself up.
  7. Find a way to really connect and follow your intuition, even if everyone else is saying not to. Only you truly know. (although your parents are usually always right!)
  8. It is OK to ask for help, repeat after me. Oh! how this one could have changed things for me, it is never too late though and it has been one of my greatest learnings. It is NOT a sign of weakness, it is a sign of respect for ourselves and others. Giving someone special the gift of our asking, and allowing them to help is one of the most beautiful acts.
  9. Always say what you feel, always tell your people that you love them. If I could have one wish granted, it would be to have the chance to tell my dad one more time that I love him, for him to hear those words in his resting place.
  10. Spend time to listen to your parents and grandparents stories.
  11. Try your very best not to judge anyone. We are all a work in progress and many experiences dictate how people go about their day to day lives. Try to understand and accept that it’s the way things are. You can support and love, but you cannot change someone who doesn’t want to be changed. Respect people for who they are, not what you want them to be.
  12. Spend time to think about what you want your life to be like. Create visionboards and affirmations every few months. This is so much fun to do and will help you stay focused on what you what to attract into your life. They are also really lovely to look at everyday.
  13. Smile and acknowledge EVERYONE you meet and have eye contact with. Everyone is important.  Everyone matters.
  14. Don't waste your time arguing with hard-headed /hard-hearted people.  Pray for them, love them, leave them to God.
  15. Friendships do not need to be forever, there is an old saying about friendships coming into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Embrace this, learn to let go, speak your mind and surround yourself with those who share your dreams, lift you up and accept you for every little bit of you.
  16. You cannot change people but you can change how you react to certain situations. Always see the opportunity every relationship or experience presents to you. They are here to teach you something!
  17. Step up for people, and for what you believe in. Sitting on the sidelines is OK for those who are happy to exist, if you want to feel alive then you need to step up. Be a little extra-ordinary, go above and beyond.
  18. To inherit the future one must be constantly learning. Those who have finished learning will find themselves equipped to live well in the past.
  19. Being kind to others will lift you up. Possibly one of the most significant lessons and also one of my favourite personal wellbeing strategies, if you are stuck in your crap, simply spread some kindness to others and it will change things for you,  I promise!
  20. Learn to spend time by yourself. Without any other distraction from outside of yourself. It can be scary, but you will learn so much about yourself and feel confident that you are strong enough to stand on your own two feet.
  21. The next time you complain about your problems..remember if they weren't so difficult someone with less ability would probably have your job.
  22. You cannot get up early if you don't go to bed early.
  23. It costs way too much to go the the doctor, fill up your gas tank, and send your kids to college.  Start saving now.
  24. Consuming is easy but gives diminishing returns. Creating is hard work but has increasing returns.
  25. You are more productive in a clean, organized, uncluttered environment.Declutter your home on a regular basis. 
  26. There is nothing more destructive than a liar, except maybe a gossip.
  27. Challenge yourself often. Challenging your assumptions opens a new world of possibilities. Just because you have been thinking a certain way, that doesn't make it right. 
  28. I am not sure how much time is left for each of us.Whatever time is left, let us make the best use of it. My gift to my future self is a life of no regrets.
  29. I believe the best is yet to come.

Love and regards,

Karthik


Thought for today: Important lessons you learn from pencil

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today morning, I was reviewing my notes from some time back. This was shared by entrepreneur Visu Ar about the important lessons we learn from humble pencil.

  • It tells you that everything you do will always leave a mark.
  • You can always correct the mistake you make.
  • The important thing in life is what you are from inside and not from outside.
  • In life you will undergo painful sharpening which will make you better in whatever you do.
  • Finally, to be the best you can be, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today Nelson Mandela went to be with God and World has lost a tremendous leader today. He was 95. In his life of 95 years, he spent 27 years in prison. But in his 95 years he has packed more substance than so many of us together.

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I read his book "Long Walk to Freedom" and would love to share about what I got from that book. The best thing is to read the book. This is just the essence of the book.

"I never thought that a life sentence truly meant life and that I would die behind bars. Perhaps I was denying this prospect because it was too unpleasant to contemplate. But I always knew that someday I would once again feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sunshine as a free man."

Nelson Mandela grew up in a traditional village in the Transkei region of South Africa, hundreds of miles from either Johannesburg or Cape Town. A member of theThembu tribe that forms part of the Xhosa nation, his father was both a tribal chieftain and the chief adviser to the Thembu king, and Mandela was groomed to follow in his father's footsteps. The name given to him at birth was, prophetically, Rolihlahla. In his native Xhosa, the colloquial meaning of the name is "troublemaker."

The first member of his family to go to school, Mandela was given the English name Nelson. He recalls an idyllic Transkei childhood of animal herding, stick fighting,and storytelling, but after his father died he was moved to the Thembu capital to live under the wing of the tribal chief.

In his early years, Mandela says, he saw the white man more as a benefactor than an oppressor, and was enamored of British culture and its political system. But he came to realize that the Xhosa was a conquered people, with most of the men having to slave away in the gold mines for minuscule pay or work on whiteowned farms. Mandela observed: "No matter how high a black man advanced, he was still considered inferior to the lowest white man."

Early lessons, lifelong contacts

As a student, Mandela was introverted and not brilliant, but worked hard. He was placed in an English-style secondary college for blacks, met young people from other tribal backgrounds, and began to get a sense of being "African" as opposed to simply Thembu or Xhosa.

At Fort Hare University College, run by missionaries and with black professors, he studied English, anthropology, politics,native administration, and Roman Dutch law. At this time his ambition was to be a low-level civil servant, a clerk or interpreter in the Native Affairs Department.

For a black South African, Mandela's education was privileged, and he believed that a BA would be his ticket to prosperity. Only later did he realize that there were many people without degrees who were smarter than him, and that character was the greater ingredient in Competing in cross-country running in college taught him that he could make up for a lack in natural ability by hard training. In his studies, he observed: "I saw many young men who had great natural ability, but who did not have the self-discipline and patience to build on their endowment."

Back home from college for a break, Mandela found an arranged marriage waiting for him on which he was not keen, and fled to Johannesburg. After trying to get work in the offices of a gold mine, he eventually found an articled clerkship in a liberal Jewish law firm. He was paid a pittance and often had to walk miles into thecenter of Johannesburg from his township. Slowly he began to get involved in politics and the African National Congress (ANC), but for a number of years was more observer than activist. It was at this time that he met ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu, a real estate agent when blacks were still allowed to own some property.

A black lawyer was a great novelty, and when Mandela enrolled in the University of Witwatersrand for a Bachelor of Law degree in 1943 he was the only African student in the faculty. His discomfort was lessened by a circle of supportive whites and Indians, who would later prove to be important in the struggle for black freedom.

Beginning the fight

On a platform of "the nigger in his place," in 1948 the Nationalist party came to power in South Africa. Though the idea of apartheid ("apartness") had been around for centuries, the Afrikaner Nationalists entrenched it in hundreds of oppressive laws designed to create a brutal hierarchy: whites at the top, blacks at the bottom, and Indians and coloreds in the middle. Afrikaans, the language of the original Dutch farmersettlers,took over from English as an official language. With race as the basis for South African society, elaborate tests were required that often broke up families. "Where one was allowed to live and work could rest on such absurd distinctions as the curl of one's hair or the size of one's lips," Mandela notes.

The defiance campaigns that the ANC organized, involving stay-at-homes and gatherings to protest against new laws, only made the new government more iron-willed in keeping black people downtrodden. School education was scaled down, whole towns were razed to make way for white housing, and the pass system made it extremely difficult for non-white people to move freely. The 1950 Suppression of Communism Act was only partly related to curbing communism; its real purpose was to allow the government to imprison anyone on a trumped-up charge.

Despite this harsher climate, in 1952 Mandela and Oliver Tambo established the first black law office in South Africa. It was inundated with cases from the first day and was highly successful. In those days, Mandela admits he was a "hotheaded revolutionary" without a great deal of discipline, and that he enjoyed wearing smart suitsand driving around Johannesburg in a large American car. He even bought land in the Transkei with a view to moving back home.

Fate had other ideas. At 35 Mandela was banned from any involvement with the ANC, which meant that any work he did for the organization would have to be secret and risk long-term imprisonment. His roles as freedom fighter and family man were never compatible, and from this point on he would live with the constant anguish of having made the people he loved secondary to the larger struggle for freedom.

Criminal and outlaw

In the famous 1958-61 Treason Trial, the Nationalist government charged Mandela and others with trying to overthrow the state. Though the prosecution lacked real evidence, the trial dragged on for years. By this time Mandela's marriage had collapsed, and the time required to be away from the law practice saw that, too, fall apart.

When the members of the group were acquitted, the authorities' embarrassment was so great that it made them even more determined to quell insurrection. In 1960, 70 black demonstrators were killed at Sharpeville, a township south of Johannesburg, when they peacefully surrounded a police station. Many were shot in the back trying to flee the gunfire. South Africa came under a State of Emergency in which the rights of blacks were further curtailed.

Mandela knew that he would soon be rearrested for something, so he decided to go underground, moving from place to place with the help of disguises. He grew his hair and wore the blue overalls of the worker and, because he had a car, pretended to be driving it for his baas (white master). During this outlaw existence, when there was a warrant for his arrest, the newspapers began calling Mandela "The Black Pimpernel." For several months he actually left South Africa to visit various African states including Sudan, Haile Selassie's Ethiopia, and Egypt to seek support for the ANC's cause, solicit donations, and learn about guerrilla warfare. The trip was the first time Mandela had experienced freedom and had seen blacks either running their own states or being treated as equals, and it only inspired him further. However, back in South Africa he let his guard down, and in 1962 he was captured on a road leading into Cape Town.

Captive revolutionary

At his trial, Mandela tried to put the onus of guilt on to the government, and wore traditional clothing to symbolize that he did not recognize the white legal system and the charges it was making against him. He received a five-year sentence without parole. However, much worse was to come. As the ANC's philosophy of non-violence was clearly not working, Mandela had founded a covert military affiliate that began a sabotage campaign on government property. In 1964 he was charged with sabotage and conspiracy, along with a number of other ANC members.

The death sentence was expected, and in his address to the court Mandela said that he was prepared to die for the cause of justice. Perhaps because of international pressure, however, the men "only" received life sentences. This seemed like a great victory.

Mandela would spend the next 18 years in the notorious Robben Island prison. The first decade involved hard manual labor, terrible food, and a climate of fear and abuse. However, the political prisoners were kept together and so could continue their discussions. Denied virtually all outside contact, the acquisition of a newspaper was prized almost above food. The men's political struggle was reduced to within the prison walls, and they had to fight for any kind of improvement in their daily life. For the slightest infraction they could be thrown into a solitary confinement cell for days on a diet of rice water. Mandela writes: "It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones—and South Africa treated its imprisoned African citizens like animals."

The years on Robben Island made Mandela a virtual stranger to his family, and he often wondered whether the struggle was worth it. His mother died while he was there and he was not allowed to attend the funeral. On the rare occasion that he was allowed family visitors, he was given only half an hour with them. Because of the restrictions on her movements, he did not see his second wife Winnie Mandela for two whole years, and his children were not allowed to visit before the age of 15. The nadir of Mandela's time on the island came when he received news that his 25-year old son had been killed in a car accident.

In the latter years of his imprisonment, as his legend grew, Mandela was moved to mainland prisons and received special treatment, ending up with his own house and cook, and was able to receive visitors.

He had been seeking dialog with the government for some time, and after 75 years of bitter antipathy white politicians began to listen to his ideas for a fully democratic South Africa. They knew that history was not on their side, and the country was becoming explosive.

Mandela_Prison

Amid great euphoria, Mandela was released in 1990, having spent 27½ years in jail. Four years later, after the country's first nonracial elections, he was elected President of South Africa. In the meantime there had been much bloodshed, but the worst years were behind the country.

Final comments

Long Walk to Freedom is simply but skillfully written, and even at 750 pages you feel that it only skims the surface of one of the twentieth century's great lives. This commentary, in turn, only highlights a few points; reading the book cannot be more highly recommended.

Today we think of Mandela as a grayhaired statesman, a legendary figure, but his memoirs allow us to get behind the image. We see that he was a normal man who was willing to react positively to extraordinarily bad circumstances. He got through his ordeal because he was an optimist, and could therefore inspire himself as much as others. The key to his success as a leader was the sense of inevitability he created—the power of his belief. The message he gave out that things would change wasso great that even prison warders came around to his way of thinking. The end result was a new nation based on fairness and dignity in the place of a rotten police state.

Though he received a privileged education and was groomed for leadership, neither of these things was a cause of his future success as a leader. As the state gave himless and less to work with, he parlayed even these meager opportunities into positive action.

In a tight situation or a long struggle for recognition or success, we would do well to remember Mandela, and to have even an ounce of his mental discipline and bravery.

We will miss you Madiba!

Mandela