The founder of Qualified Learning Systems USA, an author, educator, business consultant and a successful entrepreneur, Shiv Khera inspires and encourages individuals to realise their true potential. He has taken his dynamic personal messages to opposite sides of the globe, from the U.S. to Singapore.
His 30 years of research & understanding has put organisations on a path of growth and fulfilment. Puja Banerjee in an exclusive interview talks with Khera about his journey.
Being the first Indian author to be a bestseller in the self–help and motivational segment, you are truly in a league of your own. How was the journey and how challenging has it been?
My journey as an author started somewhere in the year 1978 when I set a goal of writing an international bestseller. it was quite haphazard till 1992 when I started dictating my book the old fashioned way to my secretary in the US. Nearing completion, somewhere around 1995, I started searching for publishers.
After receiving close to a hundred rejections, finally, the world’s largest publisher Prentice Hall Singapore decided to publish my book around 1997. After the book got published, I never saw my book at any bookstore. Neither were they aware of my book nor anybody wanted to keep a book from an unknown author. I asked my publishers, “How can an unknown author become a known author without availability and publicity of his book?”
I was told they had no budget for advertising. I requested them to at least send my book for reviews, which they started doing till there was a write up in one of the newspapers in Malaysia saying ‘Don’t buy this book.’ And finally, they closed with, ‘Save your money.’
Interestingly, I came to know of this write up only two years later. By that time, my book had already become the international bestseller. That incident taught me one lesson that you do good, you will be criticised; you do bad, you will be criticised. Just keep doing good, don’t worry about criticism. The journey was a bumpy ride. I learnt the hard way that authors sell, publishers don’t.
You are one of the most successful motivational speakers in the World. What, according to you can young people drive motivation from? And what do you think should be amongst their biggest learning and values today?
People are motivated either internally or externally. External motivation is temporary. Internal motivation is more lasting. It does not get derailed with obstacles. There is a difference between preferences and convictions in life. Preferences are negotiable, convictions are not. Under pressure, preference always becomes weak whereas conviction becomes strong. The biggest learning I would share is, that all decisions should be value–based with a long–term perspective. One cardinal rule to success would be, we should always give more than what we get – to our family, organisation, customers and society.
Which is your favourite book written by you and why? What is your inspiration?
My favourite book is You Can Win. It is so because it touches both the head and heart together. Whenever I feel low and demotivated in my life, I read You Can Win and it picks me up. My inspiration is to take my learning forward to the future generations through my writings.
Your first book, ‘You can Win,’ addressed individuals; by the third, ‘Freedom is not Free,’ you address societal concerns. Is it a natural extension of your own thought–processes?
‘Freedom is not Free’ took birth out of pain looking at the malaise in the Indian society. It is addressing the concerns of corruption and injustice which has touched new heights and made life miserable for Indian citizens. It is a natural extension of my thought process because of individual and society both reflects and feed on each other. Individuals collectively form a society and collectively individual values form societal values. It would be appropriate to say that the social environment literally moulds the attitude and values of an individual. The underlined theme of ‘Freedom is not Free’ is that if we are not part of the solution, then we are the problem.
How difficult is being a good motivator? Between hard work and smart work, what do you endorse?
When you walk your talk, it is not difficult to be a good motivator, because people believe in what they see, not in what you say. To succeed in life, one needs to work both hard and smart, but there is no substitute for hard work. Athletes practice fifteen years for fifteen seconds of performance.
Why are there only a few women leaders? Is there something, which men have and they don’t? Do you see this ratio changing in the future?
Intellectually man and woman are no different. But certainly, they are different biologically, and the difference is created by God or nature. Till a few decades ago, the man was the primary bread winner and the woman was home maker ensuring the well being of the family. This scenario is changing globally, but not without bringing new sets of problems, i.e. neglects of children, break down of families etc.
Any other thoughts you want to share with our readers?
• A person with a positive attitude cannot be stopped; a person with a negative attitude cannot be helped.
• In life, behaviours don’t change. People who are honest at home are honest at work and those who are dishonest at home are dishonest at work.
• To succeed, be positive.