Isha INSIGHT 2018 – Success Stories
This Spot offers some gems of insight into success, delivered at Isha INSIGHT 2018. Be inspired by some of the most prominent leaders of the country, including NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Ola Cabs CEO Bhavish Aggarwal, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani, and, of course, Sadhguru.
For the seventh edition of Isha INSIGHT, we had an effervescent group of entrepreneurs and professionals here at the Isha Yoga Center last week. And above all, stellar resource leaders with some really inspiring success stories. It is truly heartening to see such leaders who are not only immensely successful with their businesses but also have a larger vision, beyond balance sheet and income statement. Too many start-ups fail because the founders do not understand that an ingenious idea alone is not enough. It takes a systematic approach to translate a business idea into a sustained success.
We need this kind of leadership whose focus goes beyond short-term profit maximization. It is this level of insight and commitment to in some way better the lives of millions of Indians that will move the country forward. And most importantly, there is a new openness to the spiritual process. I’ve been seeing this for the past few years now, not only in India but around the world. People are beginning to understand that unless you enhance yourself, however successful you may be in other people’s eyes, it will not lead to a real sense of wellbeing within yourself. This is certainly true for everyone, but even more important for a leader, whose actions and decisions impact the lives of many.
Insight, Integrity, Inspiration
Sadhguru: Namaskaram and welcome to Isha INSIGHT 2018. It’s the seventh edition of INSIGHT. Well, every human being, no matter who they are, in their own level of intelligence, exposure and times in which they exist, are were always aspiring to be something more than who they are. To explore that in some sense is Insight.
This is the nature of a human being. If you pay enough attention, there is no door in the universe that’ll not open for this creature. It is just a question of how intense this attention is.
B. S. Nagesh, founder of TRRAIN: Sadhguru, you always said that leadership is all about integrity, inspiration and insight. If you can actually talk about that.
Sadhguru: Integrity is not a bunch of values or ethics or certain actions that we take and do not take. Integrity is your commitment, it is larger than yourself. You are committed to a larger wellbeing. So you will do whatever is needed that is towards the wellbeing of everybody around you.
Inspiration means… If people are not inspired, if people are dragging their feet, then you had it. If you have to be an inspiration among ten people or hundred people or thousand people, the important thing is, you’re burning with intensity.
Insight means… See, once you acquire a leadership position, you must work to sharpen your vision, so that if you’re sitting up there, when people look up to you, everything that you see, is of a little more insight then what they see.
So these three are most basic ingredients – integrity, inspiration, and insight. Without this, there’s no leadership. Leadership is not a position that you take. Leadership is an impression that you’ve made on other people.
Amitabh Kant: The first thing is that it’s very important to think big and think large; never think small. In 1998, they posted me as Secretary of Tourism, because at that time, nobody had heard of Kerala as a tourism destination. I started building Kerala as a tourism destination, but I said I’ll do everything which is an anti-thesis of the West. And we decided to go to the roots of Kerala. So, we brought back traditional Kerala Ayurveda, not as a massage, as a regiment. We brought back the traditional houseboat of Kerala, where not a single nail is used. We brought back the backwaters of Kerala as a product. We brought back the cuisine of Kerala.
We brought back the traditional Kerala art forms. The traditional Kerala architecture, the Nalukettu houses, were actually being sold as firewood. We brought them back as the centerpiece of the tourism product and we converted many poachers into guides in the Periyar Game Sanctuary – if you can think big and large, you can change the status quo and Kerala became a very high-value tourism.
An Evolving Vision
Bhavish Aggarwal: Just to give a little bit background about myself… I went to IIT in 2004 for Computer Science Engineering. I finished my engineering; I got a job at Microsoft. Even though I was a good programmer and a good software engineer, my heart was never in that job. So, one day I decided कि मुझे धंधा शुरू करना है|. To both my parents’ credit, they didn’t stop me from doing this. They said, नहीं करो, MBA कर लो. They said all that but ठीक है – if you want to take a risk, you take a risk. It is your life and your risk. If you have your dreams clear, your support system will always support you.
As a first-generation entrepreneur, your vision keeps evolving as you learn more. When we started off, our vision was not what it is today. Our vision was we will build a website for booking cars. And from there to now, our mission now is to build mobility for a billion people. All kinds of mobility options, all kinds of multi-modal options for every spectrum of society. So the dream evolves.
As an entrepreneur, you have to always keep your mind open to the market realities, always keep hearing from the consumer. And the consumer always speaks the truth – you have to just be able to read it. It keeps evolving, and then the most important thing is to ignite that inspiration in your team.
Ingredients for Success
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B. S. Nagesh: Kishore, I’ve known you for many, many years, and if I look back from 2001 to 2018, what you’ve created in India as a business has been visionary. How do you build a vision, how do you build a strategy, how do you strategize your vision?
Kishore Biyani, founder and CEO Future Group: So I think everybody is a learner and everybody is a teacher in some sense. Every step you take teaches you something more. I think, we keep our eyes and ears open and meet people like you during our journey, and maybe learn and execute something. And if it fails, learn something from that, and again execute something.
B. S. Nagesh: Yeah but, you have learned from others, you have created something, but during the journey, you also faced so many challenges
Kishore Biyani: When I was facing my first big challenge in life, I started reading Mystic’s Musings of Sadhguruji, and that was the only thing which helped me, there was an answer for every issue or challenge or problem or anything in the world.
Nothing is permanent – nor your success, nor your failure, nor the challenges. Success is where what you create, millions enjoy. And that’s what real success for me is.
Sadhguru: Success cannot be taught. You can only teach somebody a certain process of doing things. Depending upon their intensity, intelligence, involvement, and of course, the benevolence of time – whatever we do, is subject to the times in which we exist, we should never forget that. So considering all these things, when they fall together, success is a consequence. Nobody can work on a consequence. You can only work on a process. The only thing that I have inculcated with everybody here is to be absolutely devoted to the process.
Now, process is a daily ongoing thing. Success is only in other people’s eyes. They think you’re successful; they think you’re failure. But essentially, what you’re doing is, doing the process right. What you have to do today, you’re doing it right. So there is a systemic stability to what we do. And of course, you need a spark of genius.
This is something that everybody should look at – there is a systemic stability. The system is like an insurance that you can fall upon always. It would be expecting too much and it costs too much to be continuously sparking with genius. But if there is no spark of genius, the system will do mediocre things continuously. If there is too much genius and no system, then you will do spectacular things here and there, but nothing endures. So this is a balance which one has to find.
Solving a Problem, Serving a Purpose
Deepak Garg: I worked with McKinsey for about eight years. Every year, I was thinking, I would want to quit to start up. I thought if India has to become that superpower in the next ten years, twenty years, then the backbone of this country, I thought, was logistics. Where the materials move will have to be made stronger, and I started to go deeper into the trucking economy and the trucking sector now. People were saying, “We have all the load demand – I don’t have the truck driver.” Who would want to grow up to have such a poor life, to become a social outcast? The economy’s progress, India’s progress, and the global progress depend on this problem. How can we make the life human? The problem statement was you are spending months from home. Can we bring them home the same day?
And we started experimenting or ideating around a relay trucking model. In a relay trucking model, what happens is the truck is passed on like a relay baton from a driver to driver and the driver gets rostered to trucks in a way that every driver comes back home and the trucks keep running all the time.
Customers wanted to partner with us, because our transit time is very good, cost was lower. And the drivers wanted to come on the platform because they were getting a much better life. So we found this sweet spot, and we’ve started to believe that every business can find a sweet spot around a solid purpose. If you’re solving a problem and serving a purpose, there is always a trade-up.
There’s a long journey to go. We have now 3000 known trucks; we are changing lives of 10,000 drivers who do this transit. A million trucks – forty-six percent – are actually monthly active users on our platform. Our goal is to make each of them into a relay truck, and grow this to five million trucks in the next five years.
P. C. Musthafa: The more you give, the more you get, I have experienced myself. I encourage all of you to experience it yourself. Today, a young boy who started working as a coolie in a remote village of Kerala, and for whom having a breakfast was a luxury, runs a company that serves world’s best breakfast to a million Indians every single day. Let me summarize my messages for you. Build your business on solid ethics. Never compromise on it. Have an open dialogue on your values, and align your stakeholders. Focus on the spirit of the values, not on the term.
Use common sense to solve world’s problems and to build better businesses. Be the change you wish to see in this world. If you want people to trust you, you first trust them, so that they will trust you back. And finally, money is never ours. We are just custodians of God’s wealth. Do not hesitate to share it. Whatever is yours today, was somebody else’s yesterday, and will become somebody else’s tomorrow. Let us work together to create this world a better place, and to create heaven for others in this world.
The Ultimate Investment
Sadhguru: You being ahead of somebody doesn’t mean a damn thing. The question is only, the life that you are, is it finding full expression? That’s the important thing. “How is this related to my business?” That’s always the question. If you think the person who is conducting the business, his quality and his state of being and his ability, does not decide the quality of the business, then we know who you are.
The most important step in this direction is, anything and everything that you do should become a conscious process, not a compulsive reaction to something that’s happening around us, including your business. Only then, only then, you will unravel yourself. This is a fundamental transformation every human being has to bring in their life. Otherwise, you will not see great human beings. If you don’t see great human beings, you will not see a great society or nation. If you don’t see great societies and nations, there is no great world, and there is no great life.
Well, people may be living in palaces, but what’s happening in their minds, if you look at it, it’s absolutely disappointing. I have seen so many billionaire beggars. Because their attitude is still that of a beggar; the same insecurity, the same struggle. Ninety-nine percent of humanity unfortunately are an issue by themselves. In this condition, how to address the outside issues. This itself is an issue; it keeps you engaged.
The possibility of enhancing one’s life is very much there, and it’s not some wild philosophy or some esoteric something that you don’t understand. A systematic, scientific process is there that if one is willing to involve and pay enough attention and invest enough time and energy in this, enhancement of this life will happen. Isn’t this life the most important thing to invest in? Once you are in some way enhanced, anyway your activity will enhance itself. This is a possibility that every human being must explore.