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What It Means To Be A Soulful Leader with Gaurav Bhalla

In this show, I'm going to introduce you to somebody that is quite fascinating. Someone to educate us in the areas of leadership and how to live a successful and richer life.

His name is Dr. Gaurav Bhalla. He's somebody that I've known from my past endeavors. He's the type of individual that marches to his own beat. In some situations, something's different. Something's unique about that person. This is a guy that I've stayed in contact with. He's got something special. He's talking to us about soulful leadership.

No matter where you come from, no matter what you do, maybe you're straight up investing. Maybe you are an entrepreneur. Maybe you're at home, getting that side-hustle going. We all need to understand how to be better leaders of ourselves. We have family members and we have a community. We will have people around us that we will need to lead, if not by direct command or in day-to-day things but by example. It all starts with yourself.

In this episode, we talk about what does it mean to be a soulful leader? How can you operate in any environment? He has a fancy term for it called cognitive diversity, which essentially says how do you thrive in an environment that may be a little bit tricky to be open. To be forward, that may not be receptive to your new ways of thinking.


In addition, we talk about boundaries. We talk about it in the sense of kids, but this is something that applies to us all. Especially for my friends out there who are working with clients or my friends who are trying to get their business off the ground. Oftentimes, we sacrifice those boundaries and that's doing us a big disservice. If you're looking to up your game, then you're going to want to pay extra close attention to our guest.

Dustin
It's the 2007-2008 timeframe. The financial world is in a state of turmoil. Your Florida investments are hitting the fan. You're a C-Suite executive whois stuck in limbo because of a hostile or aggressive takeover and you decide to go out on your own. As you say it, you were on the wrong side of 50. Gaurav, how did you get yourself out of this crazy situation?
Gaurav
I didn't get myself out of it, I just continued to stay in it and kept walking. There's a beautiful saying by the great German poet, "It's not the light at the end of the tunnel, it's the dark corridor in between." If you keep walking somehow, you'd get to that light and you pull yourself up. I refuse to go into any dejection, depression or feel disheartened. I continue to do what I was doing teaching, writing, speaking and I kept walking and I'm still walking.
Dustin
You're a C-Suite executive. This is what everyone in the corporate world or the working world attains to, that goes that path. You're at the top of the game and you decide to go out on your own. Why not go get another high-paying gig? Why did you decide in this crazy chaotic time that you were in, you decided, "I'm going to go out on my own?"
Gaurav
I was on my own before I got acquired by this Anglo-French conglomerate. At the time when all of this recession and the world was going upside down, I had a choice to make. I was on the wrong side of 50. I would be a threat to anyone coming into a C-Suite position. I had to look at myself in the mirror and ask myself, "Am I willing to spend my time trying to play this very interesting game of assuring people that I am good, I can do what I can and I'm not a threat? Do I do something for my inner-self who wants to do like write a book or consult and other things without having to spend my time telling people that I'm good or reminding them of my past achievements?” That's what made me decide to go back out on my own, which was where I was in 2003 when I got acquired.
Dustin
You have an amazing background, 40 years of not just working with corps and working with people in the United States, but all around the world. You've been on five different continents and 30-plus countries working with organizations and helping them get to the next level. Was this your lab for what would become a SoulfulLeadership? Did you get to test a lot of these ideas and see things firsthand?
Gaurav
To say test the ideas would be an over-claim, but definitely. That's where the seeds of Soulful Leadership were sown. When you work on five different continents, when you work with executives in organizations in 30 different countries. I was global long before it became fashionable to talk about being global. You see a lot of things. You hear a lot of things. If you are as sensitive an individual as I am and as observant and as aware of your surroundings, you can't help but keep learning. I am dedicated to being a lifelong learner. I kept documenting all my experiences until I was ready to then work those into a book and talk about Soulful Leadership as a way of re-imagining and re-purposing the leadership journey.
Dustin
Why did you feel that need to distill this information into a book or share this message? What was missing in the marketplace?
Gaurav
Too much emphasis on who the leader is. The personality and trade aspects of leadership. I'm a very outspoken fellow. I was sick and tired of hearing jargon. The same old jargon, authenticity, empowerment, etc. and it was not getting us anywhere. There was all this talk about almost the noble aspects of leadership. Then you look at leadership, it's all about what the leader does. There wasn't a whole lot that was talking about how do you craft leadership journeys that create well-being and prosperity for the greatest many and not just the privileged and powerful few? It was that sentiment that who's looking after the customers, the employees and those that don't have the power that motivated me to write that book.
Dustin
You'd mentioned that it's the leader in their actions and what they do that is reflective. What happens in the scenario where you have somebody that's maybe strong as a leader and they're able to motivate the team, but they're personally all messed up. Maybe they're into drugs or financially they're a mess or they're a workaholic. How is it that one is able to still have success and still have that going on in their life?
Gaurav
That's why I was a part of a company with conventional wisdom. In my book, that kind of person would not qualify to be a soulful leader. If they are doing that, then the fundamental, the litmus test of leadership is every leader has to take action. You cannot be a leader and not take action. Every time you act, you sacrifice somebody or something. Whether they are resources or somebody else's interests and you create well-being and prosperity. The question is who are you creating well-being and prosperity for and who are you taking it away from? If you are into dysfunctional behaviors, you are destroying well-being and prosperity. In my book, that leader would not be called successful or be considered a soulful leader.
Dustin
Let's define what does it mean to be a soulful leader?
Gaurav
What it means is that you are a highly aware individual. You're very conscious of what you need to do as a leader. As Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage." Leadership is a stage. We have our entrances and we have our exits. Leaders enter the stage and they are there only for a certain amount of time. There is no such thing as a leader forever. Even in the most despotic regimes in Africa, people have a finite tenure. The fact of the matter is there is no such thing as leadership forever. The real thing is that between the time a leader gets on the stage and between the time that they get off the stage, their job is to take the organization from point A to Point B.
At the end of that journey, someone's going to ask that leader, "How did we do?" If all that the skipper can say is, "I have a $1 million house. I have my boats and yachts. I don't know about you. How far have we come from the Stone Age?”“Not too far." That's what's soulful leadership is. That when a leader is crafting and implementing that leadership journey, they are very aware. They're very conscious of who they are sacrificing and who they are creating well-being and prosperity for. If it's the powerful, if it's those that are privileged and have access to resources, that's very primitive as far as I'm concerned.
Dustin
I want to be mindful of the folks at WealthFit Nation. We've got folks who are investors, who are money-minded folks and into personal finance. We've got real estate people here and crypto. We also have a great deal of entrepreneurs. If I'm not in the entrepreneurial world or I'm not leading an organization or a team and I don't consider myself a leader, why is this conversation relevant to me?
Gaurav
In my book, everybody is a leader. That's why we have the expression,“Leading one's life.” As long as there's even one person whose well-being and prosperity we are able to influence by the way we allocate, our time effort and resources, which includes us, we are a leader. Parents are leaders. Teachers are leaders. Community organizers are leaders and individuals are leaders. They have the ability to either lead purposeful, awake lives which create greater peace and happiness for themselves, or they can engage in behaviors that can erode peace and happiness. With all due respect, everybody who is reading this, entrepreneur, investor or someone who's pursuing wealth on their own, they're all leaders.
Dustin
What’s something in our everyday life, something tactical that anyone can do to have a more soulful and more enriching life and at the same time be an example to others? To lead those folks around us who are observing.
Gaurav
I have a very simple answer to that. The surest way to push the world away is to think of ourselves as being the center of the universe. The big I, little you and that's what Adler, Jung and Freud and all these people call the ego. The ego is not just a descriptor. We have an exaggerated sense of I. One of the ways in which we can bring soulful leadership into our lives not only benefit ourselves but others also. It is to make sure that we don't think of ourselves as the center of the universe but as centered in the universe. That we are building connections, we are building bridges and not erecting walls and pushing people and life away from us.
Dustin
What is something that can help us be mindful to be at the center of our universe versus thinking that we control everything or everything should revolve around us? What's something that we can do to keep that in mind every day?
Gaurav
There is a very interesting expression in investing called contrarian investor. A contrarian investor is somebody who looks at the world differently than most other people do. Let's say you and I are discussing a potential investment. You have one point of view. I have another point view. We disagree. How do we handle that disagreement? That goes a long way in determining whether we are acting from an egotistical perspective or whether we are admitting another point of view without giving up our own convictions. We don't have to give up our own convictions. As Kipling said, "If you can trust yourself when all others are doubting you and losing their head and blaming it on you, but make allowance for their doubting too." If I can accommodate your point of view and at the same time use that as a way of examining my own beliefs and convictions, that's so much better than saying, "Dustin doesn't know what he's talking about."
Dustin
You're advocating inclusion and looking to get consensus or at least input from those around you so that you can create a solution versus imposing your will or your way on someone.
Gaurav
I would not use the word consensus, but I'm definitely talking about admitting alternate points of view and not feeling threatened by them. Admitting them enough to consider them. You may not adopt them. You may not embrace them, but at least you have considered them and that is very important. If you don't adapt and embrace them, I presume you will have a very good reason for saying, "No, I trust my hunch," which is fine. You are perfectly entitled to trust your hunches or your own intuition. None of us are entitled to dismiss alternate points of view just because we don't agree with them without even hearing them out.
Dustin
You're saying take them in and listen to them give. Honor that person by giving them the opportunity to share their point of view and be open to the idea that there may be a solution greater than what we may be considering at the start.
Gaurav
Have you seen the CNN's fifth anniversary documentary on the raid on Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden was killed? Have you seen that documentary?
Dustin
No, I haven't seen that.
Gaurav
If you get a chance, you must see it because that is a classic example of the US President being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. With all due respect, if let's say there was an ad in the paper, which said needed a person to lead the raid on Abbottabad and President Barack Obama had applied for the job, he wouldn’t even be able to get in because he had no credentials. Except for the fact that he had the title. He had the good sense to know that even though he's the Commander-In-Chief, there were people in the room who knew ten times more than he did. It's a very interesting documentary because it shows the inner workings of those ten or fifteen people who planned the campaign. How they listened to each other and how they admitted disagreements. How they admitted doubts and that they didn't know. In this complex world, no matter how smart you are what does it mean to say, "I know." Dustin knows how to drive a car. Now that I put Dustin in a self-driving car, what does Dustin know? I know he has severe limitations. In this day and age, a better approach is, "I know this because I know a slice of the truth. I'm listening. Help me learn more." That's much better because I have a greater perspective and I can make even smarter decisions.
Dustin
For those who are in a situation, what you're sharing with us is allowing people to sit at the table essentially. I’ve got to imagine there are some people that are saying, "That sounds great but I'm in this environment or I'm in this business world." What advice do you have for someone who maybe doesn't have that soulful leader above them essentially? In the environment where they maybe hostile or maybe every person's in it for themselves environment. How does one adopt what you're saying and traverse that world without being suppressed or stepped on?
Gaurav
You must have read my mind. I do programs on cognitive diversity. Basically saying that people think differently. People talk differently. People behave differently. How do you accommodate that so you build a smarter and wiser organization? The phrase that I use is what's the shape of your decision-making table? I take people back to the medieval ages to King Arthur and his roundtable. I talk about as to whether the shape of your decision-making table is round or rectangular. Definitely, that expression that you use, giving people a seat at the table. Giving differing voices a seat at the table or at least give them a chance to be heard. You may not agree with them. You have put me in a very difficult situation because you bought a variable of hostility and where there is a win-lose situation, where people are sacrificing other people for their own benefit. There would be a limit to saying that, "I have all the time in the world to listen to all points of view because you may not have that luxury.” Soulful leadership is not about a prescription for all, every day of every week or every minute of every hour. It is a way of saying that if you'll allow yourself to be sacrificed by someone, then there is no leadership. Survival is as much a part of soulful leadership. If you can survive without killing other people, that will be soulful leadership.
Dustin
Survival is one thing I see it as. If you're able to survive in that world, what would be the next steps? If you're able to navigate and make your way around, do you owe it to those around you? Do you owe it to yourself if you believe it to step up and maybe to lead by example or to set a new direction for those who are around you?
Gaurav
I'm sure that you have heard stories where there were prisoners of war who behaved in ways that allowed them to make friends with their captors. They changed their captor's hearts and minds. That would qualify exactly. They survived without totally compromising their own beliefs and points of view. In the process, we're able to make other people see different realities or an alternate point of view. I have a book sitting on my table called the Tempered RadicalsA radical is someone who likes to blow up everything. Tempered radicals are those who get into the system and slowly keep nibbling away and bring about a change in a much more gradual manner. The best analogy I can give is people who are more constrained than a prisoner of war. They work in that system. They don't give up on their beliefs. They stand fast, some are tortured. They still somehow find a way to survive. In the process, they also change the hearts and minds of their captors and bring about new realities and new relationships.
Dustin
When we first met, I was blown away by you because you have this quiet presence to you that's very powerful. When you speak, it's very powerful. When we met in the room where you had this quiet peaceful presence to you, I knew something was different about you. In line with being different in this world is that you wrote a book about leadership, Awakening a Leader's SoulYou did it in a different way. Can you explain why you decided to write the book in the way that you did?
Gaurav
That was the contrarian in me or the maverick in me. Anyone of us can go and read a Hollywood case study or a Wharton case study or a Stanford case study and say, "This is what leadership should be." That has severe limitations and they only appeal to a person's mind, a leader's mind or we judge leaders by their intellect. My thesis going in was that at this time it’s very complicated, we call it a VUCA world:volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. In a VUCA world, very often we're dealing with ambiguities, quandaries, dilemma and paradoxes. The truth doesn't lie at either extremes. It's not a question of Dustin's way or Gaurav's way. Very often we have to find the third way. In order to find the third way, in order to wade into this murky middle where there are no clear-cut answers, the most important asset of a leader is not their executive brilliance, it's their humanity. Who are they? What do they stand for? What are they willing to fight for? What are they willing to walk away from? That's why I wrote this book because I placed the humanity of the leader front and center. I say that those people who have a better understanding of themselves are more likely to be better leaders in the 21st century.
Dustin
The angle that I want you to include as well was your desire to use poetry. Was this a personal challenge to you? You mentioned it briefly about speaking differently to a leader. Poetry is not the easiest thing, in my opinion, to write on. Poetry conveys business lessons that challenge the reader to think, are they leading the way that it should be? Can we get your insight there?
Gaurav
My book is not a sermon. It's not a homily. It's not about right versus wrong. It is a simple way of holding up a mirror and asking a very simple question. What leader would you like to be? Ezra Pound, the great poet said, "Poetry is news that stays news." There's even a better one. He says,"Poetry is what heals us when reality wounds." Then Percy Bysshe Shelley said it the best, "We cannot see ourselves unless we are reflected onto something.” I can't think of a better mirror of that than poetry. I use poetry as a way of holding it up to leaders. Whether I'm talking about risk-taking, self-reliance, confidence, knowledge or doubt,I always bring up poems and poetry as a way of holding up that mirror and asking the leader, "Where do you stand when it comes to this particular trait or behavior?"
Imagine it's World War II. Britain's getting hammered, they are starving. What does Churchill say to them? He doesn't give them a sermon as to how they have to be courageous and this and that. I don't see eye-to-eye with Churchill in a lot of things but what does he do? He resorts to their hearts. He appeals to their hearts and says, "If you are going through hell, keep going.” That's what they did. Britain kept going. They were going to hell and they kept going. He appealed to their hearts, not to their minds. There are times in life when you have to appeal to people's hearts because intellect has its limitations. The heart can overcome a lot more and can achieve a lot more but the mind can't.
Dustin
It's not every day that you meet an author, especially a business author that incorporates poetry into their work especially their business work. Maybe it's something that they do on the side. Can you read us a little of the work? Give us a little taste of something that communicates the essence of your message?
Gaurav
Let me read you a very short one. It's a one-liner. You have an audience of investors and an audience of entrepreneurs. If I asked you a simple question, is it possible to be an investor or a real estate investor or entrepreneur without taking risks? What do you say, yes or no? You have to take risks.
Dustin
My gut was going to say no, but I was thinking maybe I inherited some money. I'm still taking a risk.
Gaurav
There's a beautiful little poem which says, "A ship is always safe when it's in port but that's not what a ship is made for. It's made to sail. Every time it sails, it takes a risk." That's your destiny. The whole notion of not taking a risk is meaningless. We are born to take risks. The real issue is taking intelligent risks. It’s just a little line. A ship is always safe when it’s in port, but is that what we build ships for? Not really. The ability to explore, to find new lands, to discover new opportunities just like an investor does, just like an entrepreneur does, which is why we have the saying, "You have to leave home in order to find new opportunities." You can't find new opportunities by sticking close to your knitting. You have said it yourself and I have seen you on stage that sometimes the greatest gains occur when you step a few feet away from your comfort zone. That's sailing away from the port, leaving home so to speak.
Dustin
You said without taking intelligent risks. Aside from including everyone at the table and getting information as much as they can with the time and resources they have. What's another way that we can take these intelligent risks so that we can grow ourselves? What do you look for when you take a risk?
Gaurav
I'm still learning. That's one area where I would give myself a not very good grade. My track record has not been very good over there. I'm still learning how to take intelligent risks. I can tell you one thing that it's not inviting people at the table. I'm sure that in your social circle, you know at least one person who's cocksure. They're so sure, there's so certain about everything that they shut out the world and then think that they have the best perspective on a subject. We all know people like that. I have to tell you that any time you feel like that in your own life. Where you feel that you're getting so bloody certain, that you think you have the best grip on whatever you are confronting, that's danger zone. That's the red signal. That's the flashing light. You need to slow down, stop and say, "It's better to be doubtful than to be 100% certain." Voltaire said it beautifully, "Uncertainty and doubt are not comfortable situations but to be absolutely certain, that’s a ridiculous situation." You are eliminating alternatives. The ultimate in my opinion and the ultimate in arrogance is the TINA syndrome,“There is no other alternative.” There are always alternatives. That's how you become an intelligent risk-taker by thinking of alternatives, by admitting alternatives and by considering alternatives.
Dustin
You've worked all around the world and you've worked with a lot of different companies. Is there a nation or a country or an organization that embraces this soulful leadership more than others? In the East, is there something that's baked into the culture so they're more conscious of this? Is it something that all of us need to work out to get to that next level?
Gaurav
This is a very delicate question because one can easily sound jingoistic or chauvinistic. None of us have a monopoly on truth. We all have a slice of it, but none of us have a monopoly. We don't have all the truth, which is why we need to collaborate. Every country shows aspects of soulful leadership in certain areas and they may fail in other areas. I have not yet come across any country that is 100% there or any culture that's 100% there. Every culture has its plus points when it comes to soulful leadership. Every culture also sacrifices people unjustly and inequitable. Countries like Japan, Singapore, Holland and some of the Central European countries, even take a country like my own country, India. We have tons of imperfections, but we also have a very interesting aspect of soulful leadership.
I’ll give you a real person example. I'm helping my 86-year-old mother relocate from Mumbai to Delhi. I'm going back in December to help her sell the house. The buyer who is buying it, because of the age of my mother and that we have come to know the family and they have come to know us has gone out of his way to say, "Please, even after the transaction is done if you need a few more days to stay on, to wind up your affairs, please don't check into a hotel. You don't need to incur any additional expenses. It's not a big deal. You're like my own mother. Take your time."I'm saying to you that in different cultures, you find these islands of soulful leadership and no matter how the overall aspect of the country maybe. Take a look at the USA. There's a lot of tension. There's a lot of angst. There's a lot of anxiety and hatred, but does that mean that it's consumed all of society? Not at all. There are tons of pockets of where there is tolerance. There's acceptance. There are genuine love and affection for neighbors. I don't think any one country or culture has a monopoly. They all have islands that stand out.
Dustin
Your newest creation is called A Transformational Blueprint For Living A More Successful and Richer Life. I'd be remiss if we didn't get into some more detail there. At any level, no matter what we do or where we are in life, all of us subscribe to wanting to have more success in whatever area; health, relationships, family and finances. How can we do this? What are some real-world strategies that we can employ?
Gaurav
I call this the desire to live an and life. It means you want to be successful at work and you want to have meaningful relationships away from work. You want to engage in leisure activities. You want to do something for the world. I call it the desire to live a rich multi-dimensional and life. My biggest problem is that there are a lot of schlocks out there who talk about this as work-life balance and that's all BS to use the title of your book. The reason being that is it's all work. You just had a baby. Parenting is work. Work is work. Mountaineering is work. Hiking is work. Cooking is work. Love is work. Taking care of an old parent, caregiving is work. It's all work. The entire thesis of this program is that all of us have one life. That one life makes a variety of demands on us, how we integrate those many demands. The choices that we make in reconciling those demands is what determines whether we live whole lives, which are rich, fulfilling and successful or we live fractured lives all run by stress and frustration. That's the essential thesis.
I'll give you one example. I'm pretty sure that in your circle of friends you know at least one person who likes to say, "I'm a perfectionist." Let me tell you something, perfectionism is a time-guzzler. It has nothing to do with productivity. It has nothing to do with output. It has nothing to do with creativity. It makes lives lopsided because people obsessively focus on some aspect of their economic work. Perfectionism has everything to do with, "Let me show you how this is done because I can do it better than you." If you want to lead a richer, more integrated, successful, more satisfying and fulfilling life, one of the things we have to do is to look at perfectionism in the eye and probably send it on its way.
Dustin
Where do you think we have the greatest opportunity to have a more successful or richer life outside of perfectionism?
Gaurav
I was at a restaurant because I had a business meeting. It was lunch. I did not realize that it was the Veteran's Day so the restaurant was packed. Being an observant fellow, I was just looking around. I can't tell you the number of people who are sitting across from each other not talking to each other but totally mesmerized by those little devices in their hands, their smartphones. If I am going out to lunch with you and I'm looking at my phone and you're looking at your phone, are we having any meaningful conversation? Are we having any meaningful interaction? I don't think so. Shutting down and leaving it alone, there has to be a detox program for digital addiction. I am very fast coming up with a new business for that. We have Alcoholics Anonymous. We should have Digital Anonymous also.
Very often it's simple things. It's not a complicated thing. You have told me, "I'm sorry, Gaurav, I'm not available that day because that's a day that I devote to my family." That's your way of creating more peace, more happiness and more well-being for others in your life by de-marketing, by drawing a sandbox and by drawing boundaries. My wife happens to be a child psychologist and an early childhood education specialist. One of the things she always likes to say is, "Children love boundaries. The children that get into trouble are those that do not have a sense of boundaries." Parenting can teach a lot to adults. I believe that there should be boundaries where we are away from our work, where we are so focused on something else. Maybe you love painting. Maybe you love watching movies. Whatever it is but at that time, that is the center of your life, those four to six hours. That's how we create integrated lives so that they're not too lopsided, therefore we experience greater peace and happiness.
Dustin
I want to move us into WealthFit round. What's been your most worthwhile investment?
Gaurav
The one that's also been my worst, the real estate. I was able to use my business knowledge to anticipate the growth of certain areas. I went in ahead of the curve. That's why I regard it as an intelligent investment.
Dustin
What is your guilty pleasure to spend when life is good and you want to splurge?
Gaurav
There are two things. Luxury travel, I love to travel really well, whether it's a business class or first class and good hotels and buying antique books. I have a good collection of antique books. That's my guilty pleasure.
Dustin
What genre of books?
Gaurav
I have a leather-bound Shakespeare Collection first Edition that was printed in the 1700s, which even has the name of the individual who first bought those books. Someday I'm going to go to Britain and try and dig up his grave and see where he is buried so I can say, "I have your Shakespeare volume with me." That’s the interest I take in antique books.
Dustin
That's an adventure. That sounds exciting to go do that. In the last few years in speaking about boundaries, in speaking about living a more successful and richer life, what have you become better at saying no to?
Gaurav
I wrote a few books and screenplays in the last couple of years. I've become good at saying no to what I would call Pavlovian socializing. Where we get together because people are supposed to get together, I've become very good at saying no to that.
Dustin
Fear and self-doubt often stop people from achieving their goals. What do you do to overcome any feelings of fear or self-doubt in a new area?
Gaurav
I read something that you should not run away from acknowledging fears and doubts. Running away is like running away from a dog that's barking at you. The faster you run, the faster the dog will chase you. You can look at them but you don't have to act on them. I practiced that very hard. I have doubts. I have fears. I look at them. I stare at them. I live with them. I try very hard not to act on them. That's how I overcome them or at least I confront them meaningfully so that I can continue walking. My metaphor is are my feet moving? As long as my feet are moving, I'm fine. That means I'm not giving into the doubt or the fear.
Dustin
How do you get better? Who are your mentors?
Gaurav
I have to say that it’s everybody who I relate to. You are one of the few people that I’ve related to very well. I've learned a lot from people like you. Would that qualify as a mentor, definitely as wise inputs? I use a lot of my own experience and people like you and I read a lot. I draw my mentorship from watching other people. By watching their behaviors, reading their histories and their stories and trying to see what I can learn and what I can embrace and adopt for myself.
Dustin
Do you have any special routines or rituals that you do to get yourself ready for the day or to perform at the highest level?
Gaurav
I do but not the way that these self-help gurus talk about. All of them talk about it as if they were the first ones who invented it, "Get up in the morning. When your feet hit the ground, give thanks." I'm sorry I don't believe in all that. That's slogan mongering. I believe in solitude. I believe also in being quiet and still. A lot of my rituals are very personal and they're not performed at the start of the day. They go on throughout the day. It depends upon how the world is confronting me or how it's coming at me. Sometimes we have this feeling of being overwhelmed. That's a brilliant time to stop. Look at things the way they are. Take a fresh piece of paper. Write down all the things that absolutely have to be done because they can have damaging consequences. I don't believe in prioritizing. I do believe in re-ordering. I'm constantly reordering. You'll be surprised there are some things that go on my to-do list three years ago that are still on my to-do list. I haven't done them but my life has not come to an end, which means that they probably weren't that great or important.
Dustin
What's been your biggest defining moment? I'm talking about a moment where you were at the crossroads back then and you made a decision that forever changed the trajectory or the path of your life?
Gaurav
That was in 1981 when I gave up a very lucrative corporate career to pursue a PhD because my life changed dramatically after that.
Dustin
I appreciate you sharing your wisdom, your stories, your poetry that is first here at Get WealthFit. It was very profound. I want people to be able to continue their journey with you. What is the best way for folks to follow you?
Gaurav
The best way is my email, Gaurav@GauravBhalla.com or my website, www.GauravBhalla.com. I'm very easily found because fortunately, I've been doing a lot of writing for Forbes and my blogs. I'm very easily found on LinkedIn and on the web. Email or through my website, I'm very easily reachable.
Dustin
Gaurav, thank you big time for being on the show. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom and everything that you've shared. I encourage people to continue the conversation with you.
Gaurav
Dustin, I'm delighted to be part of this conversation. Thank you for including me on your show. I appreciate it.

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