64 posts categorized "Reflections"

No Gasoline zone

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Life is different in every country, and traveling opens your eyes to all living conditions. Traveling puts into perspective your blessings and privileges as well as facing the harsh realities that many people live with.


Thought for the day

-Karthik Gurumurthy


“Choose a day as your day of simplicity. Speak little, and listen with attention. Do something incognito and nice for a person you are close to. Eat simple and natural food. Create time periods for not doing anything – just walk, look around, live the  moment. Have your mind open to a more profound and silent sensitivity. Appreciate each scene and each person as they are.”

Why Travel?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Traveling forces you to break out of your daily routine and all that you are familiar with. It might be uncomfortable, scary even; however, the rewards are worth it. The knowledge and experience you gain will outweigh any self-doubt and worry you had before you began traveling.

Travel also forces you to self-reflect and understand yourself as a person. As a result, you will be more prone to being open and comfortable expressing yourself without worrying about others’ approval.


Break free of your limitations

-Karthik Gurumurthy

You know the story about the elephant whose one leg used to be tied using a small rope since the time he was young and he used to experience a lack of freedom in moving around wherever he wished. At that age, the small rope was enough to tie the elephant. As the elephant grew bigger, he possessed the physical strength to break the rope and wander around freely but instead of making use of his strength to break the rope, he did not do so. He remained confined to the same small region where he used to be tied because his mind was conditioned that he cannot break the rope, which is an example of a mental limitation.

In a similar manner, the inner region of our mind is the place where we as children got used to being tied with the different types of ropes of a lack of optimism or positivity. E.g. I cannot do well or I am not good enough or I am not as successful as others or I am low on self-confidence or I am an under-achiever. These ropes in many people are so strong that a time comes when situations of success have arrived in their life in different forms as they have grown up and they have achieved reasonably in different spheres of life. At that time they can easily break these different ropes, but they still remain low on optimism.


-Karthik Gurumurthy

Life is short. How do we meet the challenge of finding both joy and impact in the time and place we actually live in?

Each of us must learn for ourselves what we have to give and how to give it well. Our work is to give with the best of our abilities, the fullest of our love to create a lasting impact. Several years ago, I chose teaching is my way of giving it back to the society.

Bring your ideal self..into reality

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Spend time every day imagining your ideal self. Picture what you would look like, how you'd speak and your tone towards those that can do nothing for you. Think about how you'd act in uncomfortable situations, how you'd push through difficult scenarios or how you'd come up from being underwater. Picture what your wardrobe consists of, the environment you'd live in, and the places you'd explore. Visualize the memories you'd like to create with your closest friends and the success of the business your child you once dreamt of.  Envision how you'd act, think, believe, laugh, smile, move and speak. Visualize your ideal self and now, do everything in your power to become that person. Because if you were able to imagine and feel them- then they exist.

But it is only up to YOU and your power to become it. It is only up to you to match the energy that lays dormant within you and that ALIGNS with the world you envision living in.



-Karthik Gurumurthy

Do not spend time on people who aren't grateful. Those are the ones who take blessings for granted and live a life that lacks empathy. Your time once spent won't be gained back even by spending millions. So make sure you spend it wisely on those who respect your efforts and are grateful for the support they gained. As well, build this quality in your own life. Be grateful. Every interaction matters. Do not waste your energy and time on people who don't deserve it.



Feeling the vibes

-Karthik Gurumurthy

“People’s vibrations reveal who they truly are. Each person carries their vibrations, and we can feel them by paying a little attention. When we silence our mind and turn away attention from visible parameters, we sense invisible energies, their vibes. It helps us understand the other person’s nature and intentions. The next time you meet someone, feel their vibes. Words or behaviors may be deceptive but vibrations cannot lie. “


-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

To be specific, these small minds are fault-finders, which according to the Webster dictionary, are people who habitually find fault, complain, or object, especially in a petty way.

As a part of human nature we subconsciously search for faults in other people to feel better about ourselves, or just because their faults are annoying to us.

Put simply, fault-finders are people who obsessively find fault in others and criticize. They often complain and harshly judge others based on trivial issues. Fault-finders are constantly telling others what they are doing wrong and or what they should be doing. They rarely, if ever, let a fault slip by, regardless of how insignificant.

Once, A famous painter had thousands of fans who would never get tired of praising his work.
One day, he thought "Do people praise only in front of me & talk about mistakes behind my back?"
The next day, he put up his painting at a busy intersection of the city & wrote a note "If you find a mistake in my painting, please put a mark in that place."

In the evening, when he went to the square, there were hundreds of marks on his painting. Seeing this, he got very disappointed & stopped painting thereafter.

When one of the painter's friends heard this, he said, "Let's put a painting made by you at that intersection again but this time with a different note."

The next day, a new painting was put at the intersection. Now the note read, "If you find a mistake in my painting, please correct it."

In the evening when the painter went to check the painting, it was still the same & there were no corrections made.

His friend said, "Anyone can find mistakes but there are very few who help to correct those mistakes. There is no point in unnecessarily taking opinions of people who only find fault without suggesting improvements."

My guiding thought about fault finding has always been a quote from Marcus Aurelius,
" Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question : What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?"

Let's stop finding faults and make a serious attempt towards becoming an example of one who focuses less on the bad, and more on the good & stay blessed forever.

Being nice

-Karthik Gurumurthy

“Each of us has grown up with values, and taught to be kind to everyone around us. But we often exhibit a behavior of dependency – we are nice to people only when they are nice to us. If they behave wrongly with us in small or big ways, we feel an impulse to strike back in the name of tit for tat or an eye for an eye. We copy people’s wrong behaviors and give up our inherent goodness.

People behave with us differently on different days, depending on their mood, nature, circumstance, perspective or environment. They may argue, betray, scold or ignore me. There is always a chance of them being rude or disrespectful. We have three options:

1/To reflect their behavior and deplete our virtues,

2/To absorb their behavior and go into pain, and

3/To transform their energy by radiating our inherent goodness. If we keep copying people’s behaviors, we lose our own identity and virtues. It’s their life, their energy, their karma and their destiny. We need not respond the same way as they behave. We have the power to be nice to everyone, including with those who are not right to us.

Understand people and don’t hurt them back. Let them be their way, you be yours. Let your behavior be a reflection of your personality. Don’t copy their behaviors and don’t reflect their personality.”

1:1 Conversations

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Whenever we meet friends or family, we make it a point to meet one family at a time. We try our best not to meet many families at the same time.Sometimes due to time constraints we might have done it but we try not to do that anymore. We seldom invite anyone for the sake of meeting them but we always wanted to give them undivided attention.

There’s nothing quite like it to unburden yourself. To know that you are being listened to. To feel that you are special. Many a memory is made up of meaningful conversations with significant others.Everyone has a special story to tell and I have learned a lot from the 1:1 conversations as opposed to having many extroverts completely take over the conversation and you never get to hear from the quieter people who wanted to share a useful nugget or a funny situation.

It is at these times that we learn to still ourselves to listen to the other. To give him/ her the gift of our undivided attention. It is when we learn how our lives can make a difference to other lives.

If we pay more attention to others, someday, in the future, someone will tell us how our attention and words made a difference.


Greatness, Competitiveness and Friendship

-Karthik Gurumurthy


I love this picture not just they are tennis fiercest rivals of all time. To see your greatest rival cry tears of sadness is the ultimate respect. There will never be another rivalry like this duo.Two men demonstrating the strength to be authentic. To be truly as you are, where you are. It's so obvious what this moment means to these two. Their powerful emotions clearly, courageously on display for all to see. How often do we hold ourselves back from being our authentic selves because we feel "it's not allowed." When was the last time you felt strong enough to be authentic?  It disrupts and destroys all myths about masculinity, competition and vulnerability.Being vulnerable in front of others always shows one's inner strength and character. 

Men are expected not to cry.
Men are expected to be tough.
Men are expected to destroy the competition.

Nothing about the raw emotion of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal follows any of those outdated, damaging and dangerous rules of toxic masculinity.

They are openly crying.
They are holding hands.
They are competitors on the court and compassionate comrades who respect and revere one another.

Possessing both masculine and feminine traits is the sign of an evolved person. This really warms my heart.

And I hope that we are continuing to move towards a world that evolves beyond the gender binary "masculine" and "feminine"; one that isn't so desperately set on putting people into boxes and telling them that who they are, what they feel, who they love and how they live is "wrong" or "right" based on how the world has gendered them.

Until then, I implore more and more leaders to show up fully in all of their *human* traits — regardless of gender — so we can embrace, learn from and love them wholly.  Bow and respect to both Federer and Nadal..

Leadership Culture

-Karthik Gurumurthy

In my twenty plus work experience, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing organizations and great leaders. What I have observed with the top leaders is they focus primarily on the growth and well being of the team and the communities to which they belong.  They always put the needs of others first and help their people develop and perform at a very high level. 

I have also witnessed  so called  average positional leaders sharing lofty big dreams but doesn't necessarily back it up with the action/ strategy to make that happen. To develop leaders, one needs to start from the ground-up.  What separates average companies from the great ones is their ability to build a leadership culture through out their organization that cultivates great leaders.

"a true leader is not the one with the most followers but the one who creates the most leaders."

-Neale Donald Walsch




Earned life

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Marshall Goldsmith provides a powerful guide for anyone seeking a higher purpose in their personal and professional life.

Goldsmith draws on his experience as a world-renowned executive coach to provide practical advice and exercises aimed at helping readers live a life aligned with their overarching purpose, regardless of the eventual outcome.

Taking inspiration from Buddhism, Goldsmith reveals that the key to living an earned life, unbound by regret, requires committing to a habit of earning and connecting that habit to something greater than the isolated achievements of careerism.

With illuminating stories from Goldsmith's legendary career,  this book provides a roadmap for ambitious people seeking to close the gap between what they plan to achieve and what they actually get done, and to avoid the trap of existential regret that reroutes destinies and persecutes memories.

Job market trends

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Current generation job market is better than what it used to be a decade ago.

If you are ready to learn and present yourself truly, you will get a job. No one questions your gap, or relevant experience. All people see is the attitude towards work and people. Most companies evaluate people at mindset level than skill set.

Upskill, build network, truly learn and stay humble. You will end up being relevant your whole life.



-Karthik Gurumurthy

Don’t set your goal of reading a specific number of books per year and keep Mortimer J. Adler’s words in mind: “In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”  I set aside some time to reflecting what I read and see how I can apply it to upgrade myself.

Notes to Myself Part 9

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"You are the only one that can do what only you were meant to do to be a change for good in the world so go out there and shine your light and do it! Don’t let the norm stand in the way of making a difference, dream big (because you can do anything you set your mind to) and accomplish much with your unique gifts."

Notes to Myself Part 8

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"Try not to worry much. Whatever is happening is happening for a reason & it will teach you something. Trust your instincts, believe in your values & keep going. It's all building you up. And you can take it. Fall down but keep getting up.

No one is permanent in life. But everyone has a role to play. People come, teach you something & leave when they are meant to. Treat them well to your capacity & be honest. Don't bear any hard feelings.

Learn, gain experience, share, be generous but don't buildup a bad attitude. Use your ego wisely.

Try to stay in touch with your friends. They are true gems.

Life is a marathon, don't look at it like a sprint.

Stay happy, nothing is more important."

--your older self with greying hair 😊

Notes to Myself Part 6

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"It’s better to work in a positive work environment that is inclusive and psychologically safe than to work on really cool stuff in a hostile environment…It’s more about who you work with than what you work on. Culture is everything. You’re the kind of person who can identify interesting opportunities that are good for the bottom line anywhere you are. So, don’t waste your energy and time in toxic environments, but instead find creative, inclusive, collaborative company/department cultures. The sky is the limit when you’re in the right place working with the right people!"

Book reading: Reflections

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I love reading books but sometimes I get too carried away and I buy way  too many at the same time when I go to India or at the Friends of the Library shop.

I am realizing it is better to buy one book, complete reading it and then buy the next book.  When I buy books in bulk, I end up reading none. It gives a great sense of satisfaction and security if we hold a large amount of resource. The thought behind that being, "It is mine, I can refer it anytime." Actually the resource that is not utilized is not a resource. If unutilized,  it is just bunch of papers. I am realizing I need to make best use of resource, one by one. Read, Grow, Repeat...

How I Built This by Guy Raz

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I have been listening to the most amazing Podcast,  "How I Built this ". Guy Raz does the most phenomenal job interviewing some of the most successful entrepreneurs of recent times. Guy has a real talent for interviewing entrepreneurs and engaging his listeners, which is what make this intriguing.  The selection of stories are from some of the best and most entertaining episodes, from Away bags and AirBnB (and their Obama Os) to FUBU and Allbirds. This isn't a bunch of "overcoming all adversity and winning" tales. It's honest, true stories about the work, the practice, and the insights that sparked many of our most loved innovations. I can't get enough of it!!!

Meeting one-on-one

-Karthik Gurumurthy

When giving feedback, you might assume your role is to tell your employee what you see, but it’s far more effective if you engage in a two-way conversation. Start by asking questions about their strengths. For example, you might say, “Tell me about a time this month that you felt energized,” or, “What have you learned about yourself from working on this project?” Asking employees to look back on these moments helps you better understand what it took to get there — and what it will take to get there again. When employees hint at a challenge, try to draw out their concern. You might ask questions like: “What outcome are you trying to achieve? What have you tried so far to get there? How have you handled similar challenges in the past?” Then, help them shape the path forward. Let the employee offer ideas about next steps but steer the conversation and offer concrete feedback. Close with questions like, “How do you think you’ll act on this?” and “What would happen if you tried this?” The best feedback helps your employees understand and build upon their strengths — and perhaps even see themselves in a new way.

How to get some work done?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Do you have too many meetings to get your work done? If you never seem to have enough time to tackle your big projects, rethink your to-do list. Break down big assignments into bite-sized tasks you can complete when you have a few minutes (even if it’s a short break between meetings). Keep a list of these small tasks and use it as a guide for making incremental progress on the work you’ve been putting off. Ticking off even one or two items will bring you closer to the finish line. If you’re still struggling to get things done, set aside a few hours by adding “project time” to your calendar as a recurring event. For example, you could reserve an hour or two each morning for focused work. Try to protect these blocks of time and use them for the important tasks you can’t get done otherwise.

Thought for today: Understanding people

-Karthik Gurumurthy

" Every problem is a people problem. Someone made it, Someone is upset of it, Someone is enjoying it, Someone is  not acting on it and it is someone in someway. Understanding people is an essential skill to run life. If we give importance  to improve our ability to understand people without getting influenced by the situation, we will see the growth. Leadership is all about understanding people and making their life better."

Reflections: Questions to ponder?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

As 2008 is coming to an end, it is a good time to pause and reflect.

  • What are your top priorities? (Do you treat them accordingly?)
  • What are the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned this year?
  • Are you a giver or a taker?
  • Do you think for yourself or follow the pack?
  • What mistakes have you made more than once this year?
  • Are you more likely to accept responsibility or to blame others for your disappointments?
  • Who are your role models? What makes them special?
  • Are you proud of the way you live your life?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • What do you wish others knew about you?
  • If you could live your life again, what would you do differently?
  • How do you want to be remembered?



Attitude of Gratitude

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Every day is a blessing, and in each moment, there are many things that we can be grateful for. The world opens up to us when we live in a space of gratitude. In essence, gratitude has a snowball effect. When we are appreciative and express that gratitude, the universe glows a bit brighter and showers us with even more blessings.

There is always something to be grateful for, even when life seems hard. When times are tough, whether we are having a bad day or stuck in what may feel like an endless rut, it can be difficult to take the time to feel grateful. Yet, that is when gratitude can be most important. If we can look at our lives, during periods of challenge, and find something to be grateful for, then we can transform our realities in an instant. There are blessings to be found everywhere. When we are focusing on what is negative, our abundance can be easy to miss. Instead, choosing to find what already exists in our lives that we can appreciate can change what we see in our world. We start to notice one blessing, and then another.

When we constantly choose to be grateful, we notice that every breath is a miracle, and each smile becomes a gift. We begin to understand that difficulties are also invaluable lessons. The sun is always shining for us when we are grateful, even if it is hidden behind clouds on a rainy day. A simple sandwich becomes a feast, and a trinket is transformed into a treasure. Living in a state of gratitude allows us to spread our abundance because that is the energy that we emanate from our beings. Because the world reflects back to us what we embody, the additional blessings that inevitably flow our way give us even more to be grateful for. The universe wants to shower us with blessings. The more we appreciate life, the more life appreciates and bestows us with more goodness.

Thinking 'right'

-Karthik Gurumurthy

If you watched the swimming events at the 2004 Olympics last summer, you probably observed the incredible focus the medalists demonstrated. Sure, they're strong and fast. But when hundredths—maybe even thousandths—of a second are all that separate the winners from the losers, it's obvious that something besides strength and speed is at work.

A comment by Flip Darr, a former collegiate swimming coach who played a part in training eight Olympic medalists, sheds some light on what that critical ingredient might be. "I felt in my coaching career that if I would work on [the swimmers'] head [s],their bodies would come along," he said. "A lot of coaches work on their bodies and then at the last moment try to do their heads. The thing is, if they are working with their heads all the time, and working with their head over the body, mind over matter, they will have more confidence when they walk up to the block."

What a great illustration of the value of good thinking. Athletic ability is important, but preparing for the biggest race of one's life is as much mental as it is physical—if not more so.

The specific thoughts that increase your effectiveness as a leader might not be the same as those required for an Olympic medal, but the overall commitment to thinking is identical.

The five statements that further underscore the importance of solid contemplation.

1. Everything begins with a thought.

Every great invention, every technique, every conversation, every leadership practice and every bit of personal growth starts in someone's head.

2. What we think determines who we are, and who we are determines what we do.

What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish in your life and career? Are your thoughts paving the way for you to achieve those goals, or are they getting in the way?

3. Our thoughts determine our destiny, and our destiny determines our legacy.

That's pretty sobering, especially for those of us who have already passed life's halfway point. The good news is that, no matter how old you are, it's not too late for good thinking to influence your legacy in a positive way. This quote by James Allen says it well:

"You are today where your thoughts have brought you, and you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."

4. People who go to the top think differently than others.

There are many reasons for this, but it's absolutely true. As William Arthur Ward said,

"Nothing limits achievement like small thinking, and nothing expands possibilities like unleashed thinking."

5. We can change the way we think.

This is a comforting thought,especially in light of the previous statement. One of the best ways to change the way we think is to invest in resources that help us improve our leadership methods, our relationships, our technical competencies, our time-management skills, our ability to handle conflict, and so on. Over the years, I have been helped tremendously by books and tapes that cover such issues. They boost my thoughts and add great value to my life.

Before I close, I want to highlight the positive influence other people can have on our thought processes, and the critical impact we can have on theirs. For example, Flip Darr understood that one of his functions as a coach was to help his athletes develop the mental stamina necessary to win the big races. That's why he spent so much time "working with his swimmers' heads." As leaders, one of our jobs is to help our people learn how to think for themselves so they can perform successfully when we're not around.

At the same time, we also need to spend time with people who help us think better. I love interacting with good thinkers. They energize me. They stimulate my thoughts, challenge my ideas and stretch my mind like nothing else can. That's why I like to say that some of my best thinking has been done by others!

The bottom line is this:

When it comes to success in life, the ability to think well isn't just an asset; it's a necessity. And when you make good thinking a priority today, you lay the groundwork for success tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Richard P Feynman

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite Scientists of all time. Dr. Richard P. Feynman. (Nobel Laureate: Physics: 1965)

Richard Feynman, the man of science,
Whose mind was vast and his wit was quick.
He could see the world in a different light,
And he could make us laugh with his jokes.

He was a brilliant physicist,
Who made many important discoveries.
He helped us to understand the universe,
And he made our lives better.

He was also a great teacher,
Who loved to share his knowledge.
He could explain complex ideas in a simple way,
And he made us all want to learn more.

Richard Feynman was a true genius,
Whose work will continue to inspire us for generations to come.
He was a man of many talents,
And he made the world a better place.

Attitude and Mindset

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Your attitude is the way that you feel about yourself, other people, a situation or a circumstance. Napoleon Hill, the author of the best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich, put it so eloquently when he said, “The only thing over which you have complete right of control at all times is your mental attitude. Right of control means that you can control it, it does not mean that you do control it, you must learn to exercise this right as a matter of habit.” Think about the power of that statement and how it holds the key to building your positive attitude habits.

You have the right of control over your mental attitude. The purpose of the power of positive habits is to give you the information you need to exercise that right of control by the selective acquisition of positive habits. By doing this, you are creating a new mind set, a mind set geared towards success.

Hospital Window

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

"Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present."

Take charge of your life

-Karthik Gurumurthy

The people who get what they want in life are those who are willing to take responsibility. Think about it-- who would you rather deal with? Someone who makes excuses, and blame other people for everything that goes wrong, or someone who takes responsibility and gets the problem solved no matter whose "fault" it is?

When you are willing to take responsibility, you immediately stand out from the crowd. You become an effective, "can-do" results-oriented person. You're a leader and an achiever. It's only logical that when you are willing to accept more responsibility, you'll get more responsibility.

Take responsibility for your own work, for your own career, for your own surroundings. for your own health. Avoid blaming others for your problems, because that gives them control over your life. The moment you take responsibility, you become the master of your own destiny.

Take charge, take control, and take responsibility.


-Karthik Gurumurthy

A prayer is not just words, descriptions or sounds. It is mainly the sacred understanding of ourselves with devotion.

Prayer is not getting entangled in mere rituals without understanding their meanings. I read this in Swami Sukhabodhananda's book "Manase! Relax Please! and would like to share this with you.

There was a Guru who had mastered the scriptures. One day, when he was teaching Vedas to his disciples, a cat was moving around.

This, however, did not disturb the Guru, but was a distraction to some of his disciples.

So, the Guru instructed his disciples to get hold of the cat and tether it to a pillar to prevent distraction. As this nuisance continued to recur on the following days, the cat was regularly tethered to the pillar before the Guru began his teaching. After some years, the Guru passed away. One of his disciples became the new head of that ashram.

The practice of tethering the cat to the pillar continued while he taught his disciples. After a few months, the cat died. The next day, when the new Guru began his teachings, he noticed that the cat was missing.

He said, “Don’t you know that a cat must be tethered to the pillar here during my teaching? This is our tradition!” The disciples promptly obeyed his orders. People blindly follow tradition and miss the spirit of tradition.

Some people say, “We do not have a separate prayer room; So, how are we to pray?”

There is absolutely no need for an external peaceful atmosphere for one to pray or meditate. It is possible to pray without mantras and shlokas provided one has peace within.

Valuing the Moment

-Karthik Gurumurthy

"... the only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment."

-- Jon Kabat-Zinn

Many people regularly squander their time. They live under the assumption that they'll live forever. As a result, they don't value the present as a precious opportunity that will never come again.

Others continually race against time, trying to cram too many activities into each hour, and suffering stress in the process.

In our view, we are more effective and most happy when we balance being and doing. We continually ask ourselves what’s most important to get done. And we’re learning to BE -- fully present -- when we do. We also regularly give ourselves permission to relax.

Make today really matter. It's all you'll ever have.

"Very few of us know how much we can put into life if we use it properly, wisely, and economically. Let us economize our time -- lifetimes ebb away before we wake up, and that is why we do not realize the value of the immortal time God has given us."

-- Paramahansa Yogananda

How is Life coming along?

-Karthik Gurumurthy

When asked: “How is life?,” many of us say: “It is not too bad, or hanging in there, or nothing much ” with an expression of utter boredom. If we act with this mental attitude, we will not be able to move forward in life, not by even an inch. Our life would be bereft of interest or enthusiasm. How to get out of this quicksand called boredom?

If others get more attention, we feel jealous. It is this jealousy that builds up the attitude of apathy and lethargy. The words and expressions that we use to describe situations are the root cause of our depression. So, if you want to chase away the blues, throw out such words from your everyday vocabulary.

One method to drive away depression and energies ourselves is to employ auto-suggestion! “You have everything that it takes! You can get this job done better than any one else!”- if we begin to talk to ourselves like this, fresh energy will begin to flow in our minds and bodies.

If we become enthusiastic, the light waves that emanate from our bodies would make those around us also enthusiastic. This is a scientifically proven fact! When we say “I,” there are three factors involved: the body, the mind, and the waves or vibrations that emanate from the body. When we speak of great leaders, we usually say that there is a brightness or aura around them. This aura is from the light waves that emerge from the body of a person. Your energy field will also touch people.

Make sure you have good energy and create good vibration around you. No matter how enthusiastic we are and however well we motivate our colleagues, even a small failure could dash us down the abyss of depression.

At such times, remember- just as the experience of success is sweet, the experience of failure is also sweet. We can understand this if we learn to view failure as merely postponed success... that is all! There is nothing in it to make us depressed. Treat each experience as a unique one. In this wordless experience, your being starts relaxing and always be enthusiastic as enthusiasm means 'God within".

Develop Self confidence

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Some of you may be familiar with the story of Rapunzel. She was a great beauty. When she was young, a witch took her away from her parents and put her in a tall tower, deep in a dense forest. The tower did not have doors or stairs. Right on top, there was just one single window. Rapunzel eventually grew into a beauty, with skin like fresh blown roses and long hair like spun gold.

Rapunzel grew up knowing nothing about the outside world. The witch used to visit her through a window, climbing by grasping her long hair. But the witch did not reveal to her as to how beautiful she was. She was very possessive of her and did not ever want her to leave the tower. She thought if Rapunzel learnt of her true nature, or of the world outside she would escape from her and go away. There was nothing in the tower that could reflect anything; so, the girl had never even seen her own face. All she knew was the witch.

The witch constantly told Rapunzel how ugly she was and demeaned her totally, from dawn to dusk. Rapunzel had no choice but to believe all this. She used to feel sad that God had created her ugly and cried bitterly, all day long.

One fine day, a prince happened to come to the forest to hunt. Having lost his way, he chanced by the tall tower, where he glimpsed the fair face of Rapunzel and fell in love with her, at the very first sight. He climbed to the top of the tower, just the same way that the witch used to, using the girl’s long hair. He told her how beautiful she was and that he loved her dearly.

For the first time in her life, Rapunzel realized how good-looking she was. Thereafter, they met often, and their love grew deep and strong. The story ends, after many mishaps, with the prince releasing Rapunzel from the prison and marrying her. And as in all fairy tales, they lived happily ever after!

Now, you may wonder why I had to relate this fairy tale here! Before we go into the reason for the story, let us remind ourselves of the ideas on creativity that we shared earlier. A boy was studying in primary school. For some reason, he was unable to score good grade in English language. His family members as well the teachers at school told him repeatedly that he was no good in English. This was done again and again till he completed his college.

Now, is there any difference between this and what the witch used to tell Rapunzel? This is known as ‘Negative Belief.’ There is a witch in us, the ‘negative belief.’ There is a prince in us, and that’s our ‘creativity.’ Our mind, if it becomes repetitive, can be a prison in which the beautiful Rapunzel would be trapped. This way of constantly telling oneself is known as ‘Repetitive Thinking.’ Just as Rapunzel was imprisoned in a tall tower, this young man was imprisoned by his own repetitive thinking. To develop self-confidence and overcome negative belief you have to replace all negative beliefs by good creativity and positive thinking (by positive reinforcement).

What you see is what you get

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I read this story somewhere, maybe wisdom magazine. I don't recollect the source. I loved it and I think it is a good story with regards to having good attitude.

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often."

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again." All the faces in the world are mirrors.

What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet? Doesn't that say a lot about ourselves?

Work on yourself

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Make a decision to change your life right now. Become a better person. Work on being more fit. Lose that unwanted weight. Give up those old destructive habits. Do more spiritual work. Meditate more.

I don't know what you actually need to become a better person, but I am sure there is something everyone can do every day to advance a little more in their lives. The journey to wholeness is a lifelong process and can be very enjoyable if you are headed in the right direction.

We were put on this planet to realize our true potential and it is through betterment of ourselves, that the truth of who we really are starts to dawn upon us. As Wayne Dyer says, we are spirits having a human experience, not humans having a spiritual experience.

When you are put on a spot

-Karthik Gurumurthy

It has happened to me during school days when my favorite Math Teacher NR Sir randomly will pick me to solve the problem in the blackboard. It used to stress me out initially but after few times, I kind of got used to it.

It happens at work too. Being put on the spot during a meeting can be an unwelcome surprise. But if you’re prepared to speak up and say something useful, you can turn it into an opportunity to show your expertise. Before your next meeting, look through the agenda and write some notes about questions you have and any points you might raise. If you’re called on in the meeting, speak slowly and confidently, and introduce your comments with some context so that colleagues know where you are headed. Of course, if someone asks you a question that catches you off guard, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer. Practice some simple responses for these moments: “I don’t have that information, but I will get it to you by 4 PM.” And always end by asking, “Did I answer your question?”

When you are stressed- Pause

-Karthik Gurumurthy

It’s hard to think clearly when you’re under stress. Your blood pressure and heart rate rise, adrenaline and cortisol flood your body, and your survival instincts kick in — all of which interfere with decision making. To avoid making bad decisions when you’re stressed, pay careful attention to your physical symptoms. We all have an inner “lookout” that helps us monitor our reactions. Tap into that part of your mind and look for physical sensations or emotions that indicate your stress level is rising: a tightness in your stomach or a feeling of anxiety or panic. By noticing these reactions, you can hold yourself back from acting rashly. For example, when you get an annoying email, and you notice that you’re irritated, you can hold off on replying until you’ve calmed down. Use your “lookout” to recognize these impulses before you act on them.

Interested is interesting

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Last couple of days, I wrote about how to ask questions that would help you connect with the person individually or with the organization so that you can understand the person or the situation better. My favorite story I heard which illustrates this was about a woman who had dinner with two great rival statesmen (Gladstone and Disraeli) from the Great Britain within one month. Both of them have served the Great Britain in the capacity of a Prime Minister.

When asked to compare the two men, she says, "After my dinner with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in all of England. " When her friends ask about the second evening out, she replies, " After my dinner with Mr. Disraeli, I felt as though I were the cleverest woman in all of England!"

When you make the conversation all about you, others may think you are clever. But you will not build their trust. You will not learn about them. You will squander an opportunity to build the foundations for a rich, long-term relationship.

It is a powerful lesson, indeed.

Asking right questions -Part 2

-Karthik Gurumurthy

If you are connecting with someone in person, I find these questions very useful to know about the person.

  • What would you like to be remembered for?
  • What has been your greatest accomplishment?
  • What has brought you the most fulfilment in your life?
  • Who have been influential role models or mentors to you?
  • If you had to write your obituary today, what would it say?
  • What is the most memorable book (movie, game) you have ever read/watched?

If you are coaching a team, I am sure you will find the following questions useful.

  • What questions are you grappling with now?
  • What is your time frame in achieving these goals?
  • What questions can I help you answer?
  • What are you most afraid of as you think about trying to achieve these goals?
  • What are some of the things you need to let go of in order to move forward and accomplish your goals?


Asking right questions

-Karthik Gurumurthy

Good questions challenge your thinking. They reframe and define the problem.  When I was in grad school, I attended a workshop which emphasized the importance of asking right questions. If someone says, "Tell me about yourself", you could start with your birth and can talk for hours. Instead, you could ask them what part of your background would most interest them and start there.

  • What part of my background interests you?
  • What aspect of that situation would you like me to focus on?
  • Before I answer that- have you had any experience with our team/organization in the past?
  • What if I started by describing a couple of examples/instances of recent work we have done for clients like you?

Follow-up questions

  • Doest that answer your question?
  • Is there anything else you would like me to talk about?

If we want to pause and think about the issue, we need to ask ourselves, "What do you think about this?" or "how do you feel about that? or would you be willing to share your views? or What has influenced your thinking about this the most? or are there any other perspectives I ought to be aware of?

If someone is trying to decide a solution for buying

  • Is there a problem or opportunity? Asking the questions such as " What is this costing you right now? If you don't fix this problem, what will be the consequences be? What do you think this opportunity is worth?
  • Who owns the problem? Are you responsible for fixing this? Who needs to be involved in a solution to this issue?
  • What would you say is missing? 
  • Why would you feel that now is the time to put extra resources against this?
  • What other solutions are you looking at?
  • What concerns do you have about us or our approach?

When you see someone doing things that are inconsistent with their core mission, we can ask the following:

  • Can you remind me of your mission and goals?
  • Is this consistent with your values and beliefs?

Instead of telling, you can ask thought-provoking questions.

Instead of being the expert, you invite others to contribute expertise.

Instead of controlling knowledge, you help draw out others' experiences.

Instead of assuming meaning, you ask about the meaning of words. 

Instead of mandating solutions, you solicit solutions from others.

Instead of showing how smart you are, show others how smart they are.

"How did you get started?" is a question that you can ask a successful achiever.  Other questions are, "who taught you? How did you learn your craft?" "Where did you grow up?" "How did you decide to do that at the time?' "What was the toughest learn you had to learn?"

When you want to understand what motivates and drives the other person you can ask, what are the most exciting parts of your job/ of what you do? Why?

What are you most passionate about in your professional life?

What would make it even more rewarding?

What in your life gives you your greatest sense of satisfaction?

If you want to probe further, you can ask the following questions.

Is there room for further improvement?

In what ways could this be even better?

What's stopping you?

If someone is reluctant, you can ask,

What are your biggest doubts or reservations?

Can you commit fully to this?

Other follow-up questions would be something like:

  • If you had additional resources, what initiatives would you invest them on?
  • What have you been focusing on most during your first six months on the job?
  • Are there any issues we haven't discussed that you think are relevant to this particular challenge?
  • Is there anyone else you think I should talk to in order to get additional perspective in this issue?
  • What is getting in the way of doing that?
  • What's your next step from here?
  • What does your heart tell you?
  • Can you say more about that?
  • What is the most memorable thing you took away from that experience?
  • What are the most enjoyable parts of your job and which parts do you find least enjoyable?
  • What do you wish you could devote more time to?
  • What is getting in the way of making that change?
  • What is the most profound question you have been asked? That you have ever asked anyone?
  • What is the most difficult question you have ever been asked?
  • Looking ahead in your life, what do you think will give you the greatest sense of achievement? The most personal fulfillment
  • What are some things you haven't done but which you would like to do before you die?
  • What could get in the way of accomplishing that?
  • If you were to summarize the principles or values, I exemplify what would some of them be?
  • What else could I do to better communicate and be a role model for these things?
  • What was the greatest day of your life?
  • What event in your life has brought you the greatest joy?
  • What things have you decided not to do?
  • Why do you think they aren't doing those things?
  • Why do you think you should start there?
  • Why do you think that's happening?
  • What is your most personally gratifying achievement?
  • What is the one achievement you are proudest of?
  • In thinking about all of your achievements, which one do you think other people will most remember, and why?

After a meeting:

  • Is there a decision that I need to make or that I can help you make?
  • What is the purpose of this meeting? What decisions do we want to make today?
  • What is needed in order for a decision to be made on this?
  • Do we all agree about that?
  • What have you tried?
  • What do you think your options are?
  • What is the thing you are most concerned about?
  • Is there a dream you've yet to fulfill?
  • After this, is there a particular challenge that excites you?

Peter Drucker's five questions:

  • What is your mission?
  • Which are the most important relationships you want to invest in?
  • What are the essential priorities and goals of those closest to you?
  • What are your expectations of the people around you, and what do they expect of you?
  • What is your plan?

Will continue this questions discussion tomorrow.

Take the first step

-Karthik Gurumurthy

There is no “perfect” time to start. And the longer you hold off, the scarier it will feel to finally take action.

Instead of waiting for every detail to be just right, point yourself in the right direction. Then figure out the easiest, most achievable first step—and take it before you can second-guess yourself! That might be, “Look at the University/research page,” “Start a draft of your project,” or “Walk for 20 minutes.”


-Karthik Gurumurthy

“Affirmations are positive and powerful thoughts that we create for success in daily life. They radiate good and positive spiritual energy to our physical body, people around us and also to the environment that surrounds us. This energy creates positive circumstances in our physical well-being, relationships, financial well-being as well as personal and professional roles, which makes our destiny positive.

Create an affirmation for the day and practice it the entire day.

Emerge the affirmation that you have created, as a positive thought in your mind, first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up, before eating and drinking anything and just before sleeping. That means about 10-15 times in the day.

Make sure your affirmation is experienced and not just repeated in your mind, which increases its success because an affirmation which is experienced, radiates a more positive and powerful vibration to the Universe and it comes back with a more positive result.

Make your affirmation full of positive words and phrases of success e.g. use words like I am instead of I will, I am not, etc. You can also make your affirmation based on the situation that exists in your life at that time.

Practice the same affirmation the entire day and in some cases, in a particular situation, you can practice the same affirmation for a few days together, for positive results.”