Living a Successful Life: Lessons From Vijay Eswaran
Vijay Eswaran, a Malaysian born businessman and executive chairman of QI Group of Companies, is a multimillionaire and a business guru. His teachings on life, business and success are simple yet profound. Like most, his advice isn’t overly sophisticated or unintelligible to the common masses. His teachings are deeply rooted in our everyday life. Before decoding his teachings, principles and the fantastic book he wrote, we shall take a sneak peek at his life and how he became what he is today!
This is how it all began
Vijay was born on 7th October in the year of 1960 to Pushpavathy and Vijayaratnam Saravanamuthu. His mother was a teacher while his father worked with the Malaysian Ministry of Labour. His father’s job demanded a lot of traveling and frequent relocation. This led their family to live in different parts of Malaysia all his childhood while he grew up.
Vijay’s life in his growing years before he founded QI companies can be split into two phases. One, before he graduated with a degree from London School of Economics (LSE) and two, after he graduated from there.
As said earlier, he graduated with a degree in socio-economics from LSE in the year of 1984. Until then, he was living with his parents and life was normal. But after graduation, he decided to travel Europe for over a year. During this period of travel, he undertook a wide range of jobs from being a worker in a construction site in Belgium to plucking grapes in France. Traveling is powerful as it exerts a heavy influence on a person’s mind. It is said that a lot of famous and successful people in life have spent few years of their lives wandering and searching for life and meaning. Steve Jobs did the same too!
When Vijay came to the UK, he discovered Binary System Marketing. This was one of the turning points in his life. After discovering this, he went on and studied in the CIMA to become a certified professional. Post this, he went on and obtained a degree in MBA in the year of 1986 from the Southern Illinois University. After finishing his MBA, he started working for Synaptics, a company that developed Human Software Interface (HMI). He was also involved in Multi-Level Marketing on a part-time basis.
He went on and worked in various companies all over the United States and South-East Asia as well. After 13 years of living all over the world and working at several reputed companies like IBM, he returned to Malaysia after 13 years. Upon his arrival, Cosway Group approached him to kick-start their Philippines business. This proposal from them made him serious about MLM, and he started focusing more on it.
What Vijay Eswaran is doing right now
After his return to Malaysia, he founded an MLM company that expanded into his present company QI group where he serves as an executive chairman. QI groups is an e-commerce based company with diversified businesses in luxury products, corporate investments, wellness, training, travel, media, etc.,
QI group expanded to over ten countries with its headquarters situated in Hong Kong. They have offices in many Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. QI’s subsidiary Green Venture Capital is currently involved in a real estate development project known as QI City worth $250 million.
Advice— Life and Business
Life and Fear
While most people avoid fear like the plague and loathe fearful situations, Vijay has a unique perspective on fear. He preaches that embracing fear and letting it guide you in the right direction is essential.
Depending on our response, anything can be perceived differently. Responding instead of reacting should be the motive. Vijay says that fear can paralyse you or push you in the right direction. As an entrepreneur, Vijay has to deal with decisions that induce fear, tension and those that demand an enormous amount of determination.
According to him, among all the things that one fears about, the only thing worth fearing is how fragile time and life is. He says that having one day at a time in your hands is the only thing to fear. You have one day, and this day counts. Focusing on maximizing every single day is his mantra.
Let us look into the anecdote from his life that Vijay shares to exemplify his teaching— 'fear what you have today, your day, your time. Maximise it.’
Vijay is a swimmer and is a snorkeling enthusiast. A few years ago, he had been to Great Barrier Reef in Australia. They hired a boat and went over to a small reef on a summer day in Australia. The reef where they pulled over didn’t have any boats or so in the vicinity. They were all by themselves there.
Excited about exploring what’s beneath the water, he dived into the ocean with his snorkeling gear. For a moment, he was happily drifting in the water exploring the reef and in the next moment, he was on the other side of the reef, away from its safety and in the dangerous waters. At that juncture, he was in mortal danger and could be pushed into the powerful ocean the moment any powerful wave kicked in. While he was under the reef, he was enjoying the warmth of the water. But after he was pushed away, it was chilling and scary.
Instead of panicking and clouding his consciousness, he remained calm. His survival instinct came into play, and he started swimming as hard and as fast as he could. After swimming for over a ten feet, he immediately reached the vicinity of the reef and was safe again.
That moment is a defining one for him. His few moments of comfort and joy, and the few moments in mortal danger, they both reminded him of how fragile life is. Few moments, we are in comforts and are happy. But sometime later, we are in trouble again. This fear and the fragility of life serves as an important reminder of how valuable and precious our life his.
He stresses on three essential things that everyone must be aware of when it comes to fear. One, fear is nothing but excitement in disguise. Two, what doesn’t paralyze you will energize you. Three, fear is a great motivator and pushing agent towards growth and development. Let’s look at each of these ideas briefly.
The first lesson is excitement concealed as fear. Often, our body has an instinct to warn us against anything that has a level of risk and unfamiliarity. If you were to bungee jump or get on to a roller coaster, your mind would be racing with all thoughts and scenarios. Your adrenaline starts pumping, and heart starts pacing fast. But at the end of the experience, we almost always make it back safe and full of happy memories. Same goes for life. We fear what we don’t understand. Children often don’t fear things much as they don’t know how to fear the unknown by imagining fifteen different scenarios. With self-doubt and negativity, our mind is clouded, and we fear things irrationally without a well-formed analysis.
Two, this motto is an interpretation of what German philosopher Nietzsche said. If one puts some time aside to introspect on all the aspects of one’s life which instill fear, a clear pattern is apparent. We often fear situations that lead to a significant transition in life. In those cases that we’re venturing into foreign waters, doing the unknown and new things, we fear. If we take time just to rationalize and deal with our fears, we can spot an opportunity and grow. If we manage our fear, we get energy. If we succumb to the fear, we become paralyzed.
Three, from an evolutionary perspective too, the fear of death is the one that drove man towards seeking a shelter first and building it later on. The invention of everything, from weapons to fire, a basic shelter to a skyscraper, everything is a defensive measure against danger. In the wake of danger, we often are fearful, and that fear must only push us forward. By breaking patterns and thinking in a novel way, we beat our fears and emerge victoriously. Therefore, it is high time we realize that fear is not a depressing agent, on the contrary, it is a motivator.
Life and Change
There’s only one constant aspect of life, it always changes. Ironically, this is always true. Change is constant. Embrace change and you emerge victoriously. The moment you stop facing the new trends and run away from change, you can never achieve anything substantial. Vijay breaks down change, and it’s effect on life.
He compares an individual to a magnet and says that a shift in polarity shifts the attraction too. Likewise, when you change, your closest people and inner circle often feel the effects. At the same time, making and breaking habits is important. By clinging to one habit, we don’t make progress. By breaking one and creating another continually, one can be on the path of progress.
He says that change is like climbing a hill. It is and will never mean to be easy and expecting it to be easy and trivial will the downfall and a mistake that is never to be made. Never underestimate the effort that change demands. Pay the price, enjoy the benefits.
Once while Vijay and his friend were enjoying a calm evening at a beach, he spoke about change. He was talking about how waves affected the rocks and their shape and subsequently, the impact of change. On the other hand, his friend made a sharper and a more profound observation of the whole phenomenon. She said that with every wave that hits the rock, it becomes a metaphor for change.
The waves keep crashing the rocks continuously, and likewise, life hits us with challenges regularly. With the constant onset of waves, rocks transform and become smaller and smaller until one fine day, they become sediments and wash away. The bigger a wave is, the more impact it has on the wave.
Likewise, the more the changes in our lives, the greater the challenge and greater the impact. One must continuously evolve both mentally and physically. One that doesn’t evolve is the one that dies. Keep changing, keep moving and never stay still.
As the law of universal attraction says, things you do and the results you achieve often attract things of similar nature towards you. Similarly, change will invariably attract change. At the same time, you always pay the price for everything in life. When it comes to change, pain is the price that you need to pay. While change does involve fear, as mentioned above, one must embrace that fear, realize the inherent excitement that it poses and use it as a factor to boost your spirit.
Business and Leadership Advice
Leadership is not about telling people what to do. That is management. There must be a difference between rote management and leading people. Leading people involves inspiring them and uniting them to work for a common vision, a common goal. Vijay often uses a term to address ideal leadership—‘Servant Leadership.’ This leadership is built on the foundation of the philosophy of ‘service above self.’ He draws inspiration from his father who selflessly helped other people in developing themselves and genuinely cared about their well being.
His 5 C’s of Servant Leadership is an interesting set of principles woven together as compelling leadership advice. The 5 C’s of servant leadership are Care, Clarity of vision, Core Values, Commitment to Growth and Creating a Will to Sacrifice.
Caring for the employees and people who work for the company is the number one thing that leads to overall well being and prosperity of a company. If one has to define a company, then it's the people that run it. Therefore, a leader who genuinely cares about his employees and treats them respectfully gains a lot.
Without a clear vision, the efforts are pointless. True, it is not the destination but the journey that is important. However, a journey without a destination is a meaningless journey.
Values are the pillars of your building. Without a strong pillar, any structure is weak and can collapse any moment. The entire point of servant leadership is to place a tremendous amount of emphasis on core values. The core values of a company are synonymous with the DNA in our blood.
Growth is everything. If your work and your efforts are not changing your life and are keeping you in the same position, mentally, physically, spiritually and financially, then your work and life are wasted. Your time is the most prominent investment when it comes to your employers. Invest time in them and nourish them. They are the wheels of a giant vehicle. If every wheel functions correctly, then the machine runs in perfect condition.
If one looks at the history, they can understand that servant leaders never volunteered for leadership. Leadership chose them. They were compelled and put in the position of power by external factors. These leaders had to strive for the greater good always. For long-term gains, one has to sacrifice and give up. By doing whatever it takes in ethical means, one achieves the greater good and success for his tribe.
Vijay’s book— ‘Two Minutes from the Abyss.’
This book discusses the fragility of life. About how fear is important and how nonpermanent life is. This book highlights those aspects and teaches the readers about how life is ending one second at a time and how they can make the most of it.
A post shared by Vijay Eswaran (@vijayeswaran) on Jun 3, 2018 at 9:06pm PDT
This book was received with rave reviews and a five-star review on amazon.com. At a length of 187 pages, this relatively short book is power packed with compelling advice on life and how to make the most of it. Through this book, Vijay quotes several anecdotes from his life and the ones closely connected to him. The 11 pillars of life management are explained in this book. Being the entrepreneur and business executive that he is, Vijay emphasizes much on managing life and optimizing every living moment.
Through this book, he discusses various aspects of life like change, leadership and how learning is important. He breaks down learning into four stages. Discernment, Analysis, Total focus, and Detachment. With a subtle philosophical undertone and entertaining personal accounts, this book is a must-read.
Great people’s lives are always a source of knowledge and learning. From being a common man in Malaysia to exploring Europe and studying in London and USA, Vijay Eswaran has done it all. Vijay as a person has lived a pretty extravagant life in terms of experiences. From life in Europe, while he did menial jobs to leading a billion-dollar business empire, Vijay has succeeded in everything he took up. His advice is universal; everyone has something to learn from this phenomenal man. Fear nothing, embrace change and become successful.
Find more videos from Vijay on his official YouTube page.
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