Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.
Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Vijay Eswaran who is a successful entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist and the author of the best-selling book In the Sphere of Silence. An economist by training, he is the founder of a multimillion-dollar global business, A well-known thought leader in Asia, he has written and spoken extensively about business, leadership, personal development, and life management. His new book Two Minutes from the Abyss published by Networking Times Press is now available as an eBook on Amazon.
D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?
My dreams of yesterday have been surpassed in many ways. I now yearn for dreams of today, which are of far greater significance to me. When I was in my teens, I dreamt of owning a Ferrari. I eventually got one (and it was a big deal at the time!), though getting in and out of it was more of a bother than it was worth! Comfort became a lot more important than speed.
Throughout my 20s, 30s, and 40s, my dreams have dramatically changed in essence, direction and depth. Earlier, my goals were materialistic in nature; today, I am focused more on spirituality and self-actualization.
I’ve come a long way in my life’s journey, and what I have achieved over the years is not as significant, when I look towards my dreams of today. At one point, making a billion dollars seemed an impossible goal. Not so much anymore. And with age and experience I have come to realize that there is only so much one can spend! What I now know is, whatever money you make in this lifetime it is never truly yours. You are merely a custodian of it before it moves on to someone else after you.
That’s why, today I dream of touching a billion hearts. Making a difference in the lives of a billion people and empowering them to live their life as they should. To its fullest potential.
E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?
I am a firm believer that education should focus only on helping an individual develop a vocation, rather than find an occupation. I spent years earning a college degree and training to be an economist and ended up working for others for a decade instead of following my heart to become an entrepreneur.
My education became somewhat of an anchor preventing me from leaving the security of the harbour. A part of me resisted the pull because I felt like I was abandoning all those years of hard work and investment I put into earning my educational qualification. I felt I had sacrificed so much to earn that degree and was obligated to put it to good use.
Today, I am still undecided as to whether my education served me in good stead or not. When I look at the top 10 richest men in the world and realize that most of them droped out of college, I am not so sure if my degree was of great use to me, or a great impediment.
However, it is the gap year – I call it the year of ‘debunking school’ – that I found most educational. I spent a year travelling around Europe, which taught me how to live and adapt to different cultures and countries, it taught me empathy, and opened up the world to me and me to the world. It taught me three values that I carry with me until today – Adapt, Adjust, Accommodate.
R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?
I am a non-conformist by nature and therefore I have an instinctive need to think out of the box. I cannot walk into a room and simply agree with everything I hear. Many a time when I find my team is discussing and agreeing to go in a particular direction, in my mind I am already looking for another, usually opposite direction. This is not to cause chaos, but to provide a different perspective and ensure that a given situation or problem is being examined from all angles.
I prefer to think of myself as a contrarian, and a disruptor by nature. Many have called me a maverick. My life has been one of lifelong rebellion. Accepting the norm has just never worked for me.
R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?
I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. I was 35 when I made the decision to give up full-time employment and dive head first into building my company. In my case it was not so much about being ready, but about making that decision.
And that is what I tell anyone who asks me for advice on preparing for entrepreneurship. You start by making a decision. And from there on it becomes a process of making a series of decisions that lead you to where you are meant to be. You rarely make right decisions at the start, but that’s part of the process. I prefer to work on making those decisions right.
If you wait for the right moment to do something, wait for the stars to align, for Venus and Jupiter to cross paths in the sky, you will keep waiting. I don’t think there is such a thing as being ready to begin something. I don’t think any of today’s successful leaders or entrepreneurs were ready to be where they are today. They made a decision and dove right into it.
I is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?
There have been so many individuals who have guided me to where I am today, those who I consider my mentors.
My parents have been my greatest mentors. They have molded and guided me to think the way I do. My father instilled in me an important lesson when I was growing up: Service above self. I live my life by that credo.
There have been many others who appeared at various stages in my life who guided me through many ups and downs. Some of your finest mentors in life will come from the more unexpected places. Be open to them all. I have received wisdom from janitors and taxi drivers.
Know that you don’t always need to meet or know a person in order to learn from them or be influenced by them. Among the many great historical figures whose lives and lessons shaped my thoughts and my world, are Nelson Mandela whose life was his most powerful sermon to the world; Martin Luther King who filled me with so much passion and an abundance of fervour as to the equality of man; John F Kennedy who till today continues to inspire me with his brand of optimism and a flair for touching the hearts of those he spoke to, and Mother Teresa, whose abundance of love left a resounding wake in her path.
C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?
Every challenge I ever faced felt enormous at the time and left me the better for it afterwards. The ones that I have beaten have taught me what I know, and the ones that have beaten me have taught me what I do not know. Either way, I live for every challenge, for without them it is hardly worthwhile to do what I am doing now.
I have encountered far too many challenges to count. When I first started out as an entrepreneur it seemed as if nothing was going my way. I didn’t have anyone to guide me; no one in my family had any experience with entrepreneurship. I had no powerful connections, or external funding. No one believed I could achieve what I set out to do. But I know I wasn’t meant to waste my life making money for other people. I’m so grateful I found like-minded partners, and the support of my wife. We’ve faced many setbacks over the years and continue to do so till today but I believe that if I don’t face them head on, I’m no longer progressing in my life.
I see challenges as opportunity for growth and progress. In the eventuality there are no more challenges in the offing, then I find myself duty bound to create one— be it for myself or those who follow me!
K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?
If only there existed a secret key to success, someone would have found it by now. The real secret is that each person must find his own key. I think an important aspect that many young people obsessed with winning at all times don’t realize is that it is dangerous to be successful the very first time. If you have never failed, you will never understand the value of success. It’s better to fail before one succeeds because that is the best way to learn. The worst failure is to allow yourself to be trapped in success.
Success does not teach. The longer you stay in its clutches, the more you regress.
Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to inspire others with?
You life is your greatest gift. Live life well by embracing everything it has to offer. Welcome challenges with patience, and enthusiasm.
Success does not respond to wishes. It responds only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence, perseverance and patience. Success, like life responds in equal measure to your ability to respond to it. Respond infinitely, respond limitlessly.
Visit http://www.vijayeswaran.com/ for more information about Vijay Eswaran and if you are an entrepreneur, expert or celebrity and you are looking for a way to promote you and the things you do then contact us for a DERRICK Interview.
Derrick Hayes is also known to the world as the “enTIEtainer” as he tells stories through neck ties to empower others to greatness. Book the “enTIEtainer” now by visiting www.derrickhayes.com, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (706) 615-1662