Never push your kids, always encourage them, says Prakash Iyer
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Never push your kids, always encourage them, says Prakash Iyer

HT spoke to him ahead of his talk at the interactive session organised by BDB Book Club sceduled for August 19.

pune Updated: Aug 18, 2017 10:01 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Prakash Iyer,Interview
Prakash Iyer also said that his biggest learning was the discovery of what makes the entrepreneurial mindset special.(HT PHOTO)

BDB Book Club has organised an interactive session with Prakash Iyer, the well-known, city-based speaker, author, coach and former corporate executive on his book You Too Can : Inspiration, Wisdom and Advice from Entrepreneurs. The event will be held on August 19. from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm at Sumant Moolgaokar Auditorium,MCCIA Trade Tower, ground floor, A wing, Senapati Bapat Road. Anjali Shetty spoke to him ahead of his talk. Excerpts from the interview.

‘You Too Can’ is filled with stories that celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit. What did you take back from these survival stories?

I found several lessons we could all take away from the lives of these entrepreneurs. Simple, powerful lessons that could help us in whatever we do. Lesson one, you need to be passionate about whatever you do. Not just passionate, but madly passionate. Next you need to believe in yourself, you’ve got to back yourself to get it right. Third, stay curious, keep learning. Fourth, entrepreneurship may seem lonely, but you are never really alone. Find a partner, a mentor or even colleagues. Take care of other people - and they’ll take care of you. My biggest learning though was the discovery of what makes the entrepreneurial mindset special. I call it the Vuja de spirit. The opposite of deja vu, if you will. Most of us quickly get into the sense of deja vu - that feeling that we’ve seen it before even when we see something new. Entrepreneurs are just the opposite. They see the same old things and yet exclaim: “wow, never seen it before!’ And that mindset - the vuja de mindset - sets them on a journey of discovery, a journey of challenging the status quo and making a difference. They see the same things - but they see them differently. I think these lessons are relevant for all of us - whether we want to be entrepreneurs or not!

When is the right age to push/encourage an individual to believe in themselves and pursue their passion?

Never push. And always encourage. I think our mindset, our self-confidence gets formed very early in life. It’s extremely important to help young kids believe in themselves, and in their strengths. We tend to focus too often and too much on what kids are not good at - rather than what they are bloody good at. Making it safe for them to fail, and not trying to force them to fulfill our unmet dreams, and not force-fitting our measures of success can help them - and empower them - to chase their passions. The only watchout? Chasing passion isn’t a walk in the park. We need to teach them the value of grit.

What would you identify as your three most successful habits?

I am just an ordinary guy! I make my share of mistakes - but I try and learn. I am curious. So I tend to observe just a bit more, and try and make connections that don’t always seem apparent. I am an incurable optimist - so I tend to look at the brighter side - of people, situations and life itself. I believe the world is out to help you succeed. And it’s never too late to become the person you might have been.

What is the Best Advice you have ever received?

Prakash Iyer: Leadership is about them - not me.

Did you have a mentor (do you still)?

There are several terrific people who have been mentors - starting with my father, to some of my early bosses. But if there’s one man who has truly been a lifelong mentor - it’s Suman Sinha - the former CEO of PepsiCo. he was my boss at Unilever, and then at Pepsi. He’s had a huge impact on moulding my leadership values and I must confess I am proud to call myself an alumnus of the Suman School of Management.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 10:00 IST