This is the text of my email conversation with Shiv Khera, the iconic speaker on leadership and motivation and author of many books. He says that 85% of self-made millionaires globally today are first generation. A survey said that they read about 50-60 self-help books a year because they realize that one good idea could be life changing and worth a million dollars. If you think you also have an idea that could be worth a ton of money, consider getting help from business expert Andy Defrancesco who can guide you during your start up period. However, if you want to look for businesses with an already established name, visit this website: to choose from a variety of their list.

Arvind Passey: Your Wikipedia page mentions that you ‘worked as a car washer, a life insurance agent, and a franchise operator before becoming a motivational speaker’. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have their beginnings traced to a garage. However, there are many successful business people in India who insist on having mentions of a humble start included in their biography as they think it is one inclusion that infuses credibility to their story. Do you think seekers of products and services are any more bothered about these stories? Do such stories still sell?

Shiv Khera: Absolutely! Everyone, especially our youth, require inspirational real life stories. Our youth is the most disenchanted and yet holds the maximum potential. Everybody faces adversity in their lives and stories such as these show people how to turn a setback into a comeback. It gives them hope “if they can do it, I can do it”. Such real life stories give authenticity and they act as role models and mentors.

AP: Rhonda Byrne wrote that ‘you become what you think about most’. Does attending one workshop or reading a book or maybe watching a movie about motivation techniques or leadership skills change the way a person has been thinking for years?

Shiv Khera: Certainly. What we focus on grows.

One iteration of any of the above mentioned does not lead to change. It acts as a seed or a catalyst to the self unfolding. Doing something right once in a while does not bring success nor does making a mistake once in a while make one a failure. Repetition of the positive or the negative thoughts and actions determines success or failure. The continuous application of even one principle imbibed through a workshop, reading a book or watching a movie is what leads to lasting change.

If you read biographies and autobiographies of successful people, they continuously feed their minds with positive thoughts through self-help books, workshops, audio-videos etc.

Case in point: 85% of self-made millionaires globally today are first generation. A survey said they read about 50-60 self-help books a year. Why self-help books? Because they realise that one good idea could be life changing and worth millions of dollars. So they don’t want to waste their time with other books. They ensure that they are feeding their minds with good self-help books. They realise that time is more precious than money.  Input determines output!

AP: There was a time when there were few Gurus and lots of celebrities patronized them. Today when we look around, there are thousands jostling in the Guru-arena. It is similar to someone remarking that India will soon have more writers than readers. How does this make you feel… and what steps will you recommend to up and coming Gurus?

According to experts like Bob Bratt, good professionals are very few in number. There are pioneers who become legends and train new leaders and professionals to become teachers for the next generation. The key is there are few and far between genuine good professionals.

You are right, there are many self proclaimed gurus in the self help arena who have become authors and started doing workshops. How genuine are they depends on if they walk their talk. There are many walking failures who are teaching others the secrets of success. Or just like the financial failures who are teaching others how to become millionaires.

Only a good student can be a good teacher. It has nothing to do with academic grades. A good teacher is authentic. He walks his talk and keeps growing through continuous leaning.

AP: When you supported L K Advani and the BJP in 2014, did your activism against caste-based reservations interfere in some way? Is your stand against this form of reservation still live-and-kicking? Tell us something about the way political thought has evolved within you.

Shiv Khera: I believe very strongly that to see a united India on the world map, reservation should not be based on caste or regionalism. While supporting Mr. L.K. Advani, my stand against caste-based reservation did not interfere in any manner. My stand remains against this form of reservation. In fact, if anything, it has become stronger. Such caste-based reservation only goes against meritocracy and promotes mediocrity. It is divisive anti-national and only creating hatred within our citizens and weakening the society.

The remedy is three-fold and sequenced:

Providing access to quality education to each and every child.

Achievement based on merit and excellence

Reservation granted on the basis of economics given the above criteria

AP: There are many who believe that students, corporate workers and managers, and even jailbirds benefit when they listen to professional speakers. Do you think our politicians also need mandatory attendance in such workshops that may be conducted by people like you and others to embrace a change in their attitude?

Shiv Khera: In fact most good organizations across the world such as GE, Mercedes, etc. have made it mandatory for all their employees go through continuous professional training programs done by professional consultants. Case in point: anybody who operates a taxi in Singapore must go through a two months customer service training program. Memories are short. We need reminders. Hence every year the taxi drivers need to go through a one week refresher. No wonder they perform. Our politicians need it the most. To ensure the safety of your taxi, a specialist provider like TRADEX can help you get the insurance that fits your requirements.

But unfortunately, those who need it the most are the ones who think they know it all. Their arrogance leads to the downfall of society. This country need a strong and positive political change. The leadership is positioned to really bring about this change. I would be happy to conduct leadership programs for our political leadership to change their attitudes and rebuild our country based on values and ethics.

AP: You have been a successful author of self-improvement books. Do you think the Indian reader is still reading these kinds of books? If yes, do you have any plans to publish any more titles? Do tell us about your plans.

Shiv Khera: The answer is yes. There is an old saying, “great leaders are great readers”. I have recently launched my new book You Can Achieve More in international markets and India. Hindi and the regional editions are in the pipeline to be launched in the next few weeks. I have two new books in the pipeline to be launched next year which cover topics on success, relationships and parenting.

The book on success is a companion to the book You Can Win.

The book on relationship is crucial as all over the world. Everyone is facing relationship and people issues.

Parenting has become a much bigger challenge today than it was yesterday. Media & devices are accessible to a new born, the filters are few and far between, plus the world of gaming and showing has added to parenting problems, previously unknown.

AP: Do share with us your favorite quote from your own writings and why you think the words are still relevant.

Shiv Khera: “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.”®

Many times, I am asked what winners do differently. My answer is, winners form the habit of doing things losers don’t like to do. What are the things losers don’t like to do? They are the same things winners don’t like to do either, but they do them anyway.

a. Losers don’t like to get up in the morning. Winners don’t like to get up in the morning either, but they get up anyway.

c. Losers don’t like to work hard. Winners don’t like to work hard either, but they work hard anyway.

To the winners, positive behavior comes habitually, as a reflex action.

We are all born to lead successful lives, but many times, we get conditioned to lose. We often hear comments like, “This person is just lucky, he touches dirt and it turns to gold” or, “He is unlucky; no matter what he touches, it turns to dirt.” These comments are not true of anyone.

If you were to analyse the lives of the people—labeled as lucky and unlucky, you’d find that the so-called lucky person is doing something right in each transaction. The positive behavior has become habitual. His reflexes have been conditioned to do things right the first time every time. For the person we call unlucky, if you analyse his life and every transaction in his life, the negative behavior has become habitual. It happens that every time they do something, they just do it wrong. It is reflex action in a negative manner.

d.       “If you want to stand out, you need to do something outstanding.”

Most people are looking to live extraordinary lives. To some it may also mean extraordinary income.

They need to ask themselves:

1. Are they extraordinary people?

2. Are they willing to work extraordinarily hard?

3. Do they have extraordinary commitments?

4. Do they have extraordinary relationships?

5. Do they have extraordinary integrity?

At the end of our lives, we do not want to arrive at a destination that makes us feel it wasn’t of our choice.  If we end up living or doing things we did not want to do, then we’ve arrived by default not by design. We may or may not realise it, but life moves very fast. To avoid regrets towards the end of one’s life, one needs to make the right kind of choices to begin with. We need to know when to say yes and when to say no.

The basic truths and principles of success are universal and eternal. Universal means they cross country cross culture cross religion. Eternal means, they were here before we came; they will be here after we’re gone. Hence our quotes: a) “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently” and b) “If you want to stand out, you need to do something outstanding” were relevant yesterday and will be relevant for all times to come.

AP: Please share a message for the readers of Education Post.

Live by the philosophy, Always give more than what you get.

At one of my programs, there were a couple of hundred people. It was a very mixed group. There were doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians. As I walked in, I said, “Never in the history of mankind, has it been so easy to succeed in life, than the way it is today. Regardless of your profession, we have no competition.”After I repeated myself twice, one person stopped me and asked me to explain how it is that we have no competition. I asked him, “Tell me how many people do you know walking down the street who are willing to do a little more than what they get paid for? The answer was, “Hardly any.” I continued, “Most people don’t even want to do what they get paid for and a second category of people want only to do what they can get by with. There is a very small fraction of people who are willing to do a little bit more than what they get paid for.” I then asked him, “If you fall into that category, I don’t care what your profession is, tell me where is your competition? You can’t even find a good attorney today, or an accountant or an electrician or a plumber. The question is, are you willing to do a little bit more than what you get paid for? If you look at the life histories of most successful people or organisations, who have 1) Succeeded, 2) sustained success and 3) maintained goodwill, they have all lived by this one principle: “I shall always give more than I get, to my family, organisation and my society.” If we live by this principle, you tell me where’s the competition? In fact, we become the competition. We have no competition.

Why should you do more? The advantages of doing more than you get paid for are:

• You make yourself more valuable, regardless of what you do and where you work.

• It gives you more confidence.

• People start looking at you as a leader.

• Others start trusting you.

• Superiors start respecting you.

• It breeds loyalty from both your subordinates and your superiors.

• It generates cooperation.

• It produces pride and satisfaction.

If we go the extra mile, where is the competition?

People who live by the above philosophy are in demand everywhere they go regardless of age, experience or academic qualifications. They:

• Can work without supervision.

• Are punctual and considerate.

• Listen carefully and carry out instructions accurately.

• Don’t sulk when called upon to pitch in at the time of an emergency.

• Are result oriented rather than task oriented.

• Are cheerful and courteous.

Always think in terms of giving more than is expected by your customer, friends, spouse, parents and children.

Whenever you do anything, ask yourself, “How can I add value to what I am doing?” or “How can I give added value to others?”




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Arvind Passey
Published in The Education Post, June 2019