You Can Win – Lessons from Success Guru


Shiv Khera was born in a business family in Dhanbad, India. His family had gold mines which got nationalized in 1973.  He did all his schooling and college in Delhi and got married when he was 22. When the mines owned by his family got nationalized, they literally came on the street because his father had died just about the time when he had finished college and they were left with the liabilities and the assets were gone.

He tried his hand at 3 businesses with no money and he failed on all three, so finally he left India, went off to Canada initially, and started life by washing cars door to door with a bucket in his hand for a few years and then gradually moved on to selling vacuum cleaners and then got into selling life insurance.

Getting into selling life insurance was the best thing that could have ever happen to me

That’s where he learned that selling is a rejection business and most people take the rejection personally and they get demotivated and quit. During that time he attended a program by Dr. Norman Winson Peel which according to him was a turning point in his life.

He realized that many times we become our own biggest problem. And the problem is a sign of life, so long as we are alive we will have problems, the day we have no problems we would be dead. So bottom line is that every problem gives you an opportunity, the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. So that is the time one needs to look at where you are and how you want to move forward.

Till then he thought he knew everything, but in reality, he had never read a book in his life but was reading comics. Even at school, he wasn’t the brightest kid, he failed in his tenth grade, but of course he cleared his higher secondary with the first division but the important thing is, that once that realization came after attending Dr. Winson’s program, life changed for him personally, professionally and socially. He moved on to the US, got into 3 businesses and eventually bought a company out in California.

Since he saw his life changed because somebody showed him the right direction, he decided that it is time for him to also put it back into the system and give back.

So he started volunteering his time in maximum security prisons in the jails in the U.S. He used to go into the jails and teach them how to increase self-esteem program, he saw people’s life changed and gradually he decided to take his teachings to the corporate world.

After 4 to 5 years of doing training programs for the corporate world, he wrote his book, You Can Win in 1997. And it did rather well, became his international bestseller with more than 3.5 million copies sold worldwide.  People often ask him how come it became such a nice good seller to which he replies that the purpose of writing book was to pass the wisdom and knowledge that he had acquired from people wiser than him to next generation.

Shiv on Success

Success is very subjective and that subjectivity is based on values really.  So based on our priorities is what we decide where we want to head towards. He has given a working definition in his book – Success is progressive realization of a worthy goal, now this is not what his definition, it is what given by a man called Earl Nightingale and it’s a journey, it’s not a destination, you never get there.

Success is progressive realization of a worthy goal

Realization is a feeling, means it is internal, not external, you cannot make yourself successful, you must feel success inside yourself otherwise you are not successful, so that means success without fulfillment is empty, that’s like good looks without goodness that become irritating after some time. So it means we got to have substance or form, not just formal work. So many times what appears success externally maybe emptiness internally. No wonder billionaires like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson they took drugs and committed suicide, why did they do it?  See these are people one can say had public success but private failures.

How to be lucky for success?

There is a nice little saying by a great philosopher, the harder you work the luckier you get. He suggests to check out most people who have been successful. He says that you will hear many self-made success stories but have you ever heard a self-made failure

Read the full interview in the ScaleUp Magazine Issue 5


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