Humans of New Work

Vishen Lakhiani

Founder & CEO, Mindvalley

Tuesday December 5th, 2017
Monika Jiang

What does work mean to you?
I don’t believe in the idea of work.What I do believe in is having the passion for doing something and earning money for it. That’s possible for anyone.

One thing you like or dislike about your current job?
What I like is Mindvalley’s close-knit family and the experiences we share. The thing I don’t like is the number of emails I receive.  At the moment I’m experimenting with not-checking them and just using my phone, Skype, Slack or WhatsApp voice messages. It has been the best decision so far.

How is the human placed in the center of your current work?
The entire company is engineered to be human.

One thing you’d like to change about the system of work?
The idea of perks, free food, a beautiful office and increased vacation times is nice, but it’s not very different than paying people a bit more. What I’d like to see are companies that are truly engaged in their employee’s future. This means actually investing in helping your employees grow as human beings.

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder and CEO of Mindvalley, a learning experience company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. What he started as a small e-commerce shop selling self-help programs and courses back in 2003 in New York is now a business of global reputation known for being a leading edu-tech organization with online academies and digital platforms for personal growth education in the areas of well-being, mindfulness, relationships, fitness, and entrepreneurship. After a series of jobs that left him dreading work, he promised himself that someday he’d create a safer, more conscious workplace. During this time he discovered the benefits of mindfulness and meditation that helped him cope with his daily stresses. Evolved out of personal struggle and an inner love for teaching, Mindvalley was born.
“I always loved being a teacher but wasn’t ready yet to lead my own business at that time. So instead of quitting my job and starting my own company, I chose the less risky path and calculated my MLI or Minimal Liveable Income. The amount of money on which my wife and I could survive on a monthly basis turned out to be 4000 USD. With $700 and a beat-up laptop in Starbucks, I started selling meditation CDs, and after 18 months I broke even and hit our MLI. I quit my job, followed my heart, moved back to Kuala Lumpur and that’s how Mindvalley got started.”
Today, Vishen has built Mindvalley to a team of 300 people from 46 nations where walls between contractors, partners or employees don’t exist. Not only did he fulfill his promise to himself but he now reinforces the effectiveness of transformational education in a way that challenges the status quo.
“What we practice daily is the one-brain concept. These are rapid interactions and information flows that normally starts with ‘I’m thinking this… What are your thoughts?’ Whether on WhatsApp or in person, we touch base for one or two minutes to innovate fast across departments. We also live completely transparently and candidly. There’s no written feedback; it’s always public, face-to-face and delivered in a respectful and compassionate way. Also, we have ‘cultural days’ where we celebrate rituals, food, and activities of different nationalities. That’s how we engage in the future of our employee’s personal development.”
Following his company’s culture and DNA, Vishen believes in a new form of learning as traditional education doesn’t serve the needs of the rapidly changing world impacted by new technologies such as AI. What he believes is that transformational education can genuinely lead to an extraordinary life that is beneficial to the human race in the long-term.
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