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BW Businessworld

I Want To Live In The Moment, Legacy Is All About Ego: Robin Sharma

In this exclusive dialogue with Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld, Sharma spoke about a host of subjects including his journey as a world-class author, his perspective on becoming the best through mindset shift as well as about his new book, The 5AM Club

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Internationally acclaimed leadership expert Robin Sharma and a bestselling author was in New Delhi recently to be the chief guest at the BW Businessworld Dialogue Series, a platform which from time to time holds a dialogue with achievers, celebrities and eminent personalities about leadership, entrepreneurship and life. The guests are usually people who have made it big in their respective fields with their leadership qualities, talent and way of life.

Sharma’s work is embraced by royalty, billionaires and celebrity CEOs alike. For nearly 20 years, marquee organisations and institutions including the likes of Nike, GE, Microsoft, FedEx, PwC, HP, Oracle, NASA, Yale University and YPO have had Sharma to preside over their most important events. His fans and endorsers include Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu, rock star Jon Bon Jovi, the British royal family and heads of state from around the world.

In this exclusive dialogue with Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld, Sharma spoke about a host of subjects including his journey as a world-class author, his perspective on becoming the best through mindset shift as well as about his new book, The 5AM Club. 


People at large describe you as a bestselling author and legendary leadership expert. How would you describe yourself? What does Robin Sharma think of Robin Sharma?

About two and a half years ago, I was very blessed to stand in Nelson Mandela’s prison and that experience changed my life.

I asked the guy in the prison if he had seen Nelson Mandela and what was he like. He said, “That man was a humble servant.”  Nelson Mandela actually invited the jailer who had tortured him to his inauguration ceremony as the President of South Africa.

So as much as possible, I like to see myself as a humble servant. The world right now is an interesting place, a lot of people are addicted to their phones and they are busy being busy, but they have lost the sense of who they truly are.

Tell us about your journey as an author. How did it all begin, what motivated you to write the first book?
I come from very humble beginnings. My father is from Jammu & Kashmir and he has been a titan in my life in terms of influence, and my mother as well.

I became a lawyer because the world around me said that if I became a lawyer, I will be successful. But actually, real success is contemplating what real success is for you, and having the courage to live it, and what is the value of success if you have betrayed yourself on the way.
I grew up in a family where we had stacks of books and I started reading Gandhi’s biography, I started reading philosophy, psychology, and I started calibrating a system, I started meditation, acupuncture, etc., and I changed the way I was living.

So I realised that if a man like me could make these changes then I should write about it. So I decided to write a book called The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, and I self-published it and that started the journey.

You talk about pain, pleasure, positivity, winning and failure. How do you relate to most of them?
I would say I have learned more from bad examples than good examples. Right now if you look at great leaders, they make other people feel bigger, and I think that takes a lot of inner work. I pay attention to how people behave and I try to learn from them. Secondly, I have learned more from tragedy than time in the sunshine.

What made The 5AM Club possible are the difficult times. I think when you are down on your knees and life has hit you really hard, your ego cracks open and that teaches you noble virtues. Noble virtues like sincerity, punctuality, loyalty, when you do work make it poetry, the noble virtues of building relationships and understanding that money will take care of itself, those might sound old school, but those are the things leadership is made of.

In your new book you talk about four sets—the mindset, the soul set, the heart set and the health set. Can you tell us more about it, especially for people who haven’t read your book?
Mindset is only 25 per cent of the personal mastery equation, mindset is your psychology, you can have great psychology and great beliefs, but if you have a toxic heart set, you are going to sabotage yourself.

Your mindset is your psychology but your heart set is your emotionality. So you have a strong psychology, but if you are full of sadness, pain, anger, you haven’t forgiven people, so you are not going to be creative, productive and world-class. And finally, soul set is fundamentally important because it is connecting you to your higher nature.

Where do you see Robin Sharma five years or ten years from now?
I do spend a lot of time future planning because I think, if you set up a blueprint for your future you can walk into that future.

Emerging science says that we are not controlled by genetics, we can actually up regulate or down regulate genes by the way we think.  I want to live in the moment because sometimes I think legacy is all about ego. I want to do great work now, I want to help people right now, I want to make a difference right now.

Who do you look up to for inspiration?
Mahatma Gandhi has been a big influence for me as a leader and Nelson Mandela for the way he conducted his life. We complain about traffic or bad meal, but Nelson Mandela was in custody for 27 years and in every picture he is smiling.

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