Vishen Lakhiani on Breaking All the “Brules” | Impact Theory


Tom: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. You are here my friends because you believe,
like I do, that human potential is nearly limitless but you know that having potential
is not the same as actually doing something with it. Our goal with this show and company is to
introduce you to the people and ideas that are going to help you actually execute on
your dreams. Today’s guest is one of the most successful
and unconventional entrepreneurs I have ever met. With $700 and a beat up laptop he launched
what has become arguably the largest and most successful meditation and wellness media companies
on the planet. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur he’s lived
in Malaysia, Michigan, New York, the Bay Area, and at the time of this recording he’s house
shopping in Estonia, not kidding. He and his family also uproot themselves for
an entire month every year to spend time in a new and exciting location to ensure maximum
exposure to new ideas. This very unique perspective, the diversity
that it brings, is what has allowed him to question everything and crawl out from under
the horde of bullshit rules, what he calls “brules”, that he believes are holding us
all back. In the process he’s had a ridiculous string
of successes that sees him now leading a global empire of 200 employees from 40 countries. Along the way he’s founded Omvana, the highest
grossing health and fitness app on iTunes in over 30 countries; Dormio, which was recently
the second most downloaded health and fitness app in the US; Dealmates.com; and most importantly
his flagship company Mindvalley. He’s also a hyperactive philanthropist who’s
on the Innovation Board of the X PRIZE, was named to the Transformation Leadership Council,
and through his project renaissance he’s aiming to make his home of Kuala Lumpur one of the
top 20 cities in the world to launch a startup. Please help me in welcoming the CEO and founder
of the radical new Mindvalley Academy, a revolutionary educational platform with over 1.5 million
students and subscribers, the creator of A-Fest, and the best selling author of The Code of
the Extraordinary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani. Vishen: So honored to be on this show. Can I just give a shout out to my family? Tom: Please. Vishen: Christina, Hayden, Eve hi. Hayden, check out that t-shirt. Do you recognize that symbol? My son is a big Jedi fan. Tom: He’s the reason that I’m wearing it. Vishen: Nice. Got that Hayden? Tom: You had said in an interview, actually
it was a talk that you gave, you said, “We have to question all these brules. One of them is religion so my kids get to
pick their own religion,” and you said that you kind of hoped that he’d choose Jedi and
I was right there with you man. Vishen: You were?
Tom: Yeah. I love that notion. Tell us what are the brules? What’s the culturescape? Give us some of that which is pretty important. Vishen: Well I coined a word which I call
the “culturescape.” The culturescape is that tangled web of shared
subjective realities that all of us are immersed in. All of us are influenced by the culturescape
of our local group. I grew up as a kid in Kuala Lumpur and growing
up there my family was Hindu so I was influenced by the shared subjective reality of Hinduism,
the idea of reincarnation. I believed growing up that eating beef was
somehow bad, I might go to Hell. Well, Hindus don’t believe in Hell but I might
not achieve oneness with the universe or I might be looked upon badly by God because
I chose to eat beef. That was my shared subjective reality. As I grew up I went to a British school and
then I came to America, I went to the University of Michigan, and as I got exposed to these
different elements of the culturescape, because of this diversity I was part of, I start realizing
that not all shared subjective reality is true. I realized that my belief that eating beef
is bad was just that, it’s a belief. It’s neither true nor false. What I write about in my book is how to study
the culturescape, the shared subjective realities we are living in, and identify what rules
help you and what rules are really brules, or bullshit rules. Brules that hold you back from truly living
your most extraordinary life. Let me give you an example of a bullshit rule. Growing up in an Indian family there’s a lot
of pressure to be successful. If you have Indian friends they’ll probably
say this as well, especially Indians who are immigrants like me who live outside India,
that your family pushes you to be a lawyer, a doctor, or an engineer and if you’re not
any of that you’re a family embarrassment. Indian kids grow up to be lawyers, doctors,
engineers or family failures. In my case I loved art. I wanted to study art. I loved performing art, I loved getting on
stage and acting, I loved photography, but when I went to school I viewed the idea of
me being an artist as disappointing my family, as the opposite of success, so I signed up
for computer engineering classes. I studied hard, went through all of these
boring as hell classes that I had no interest in at the University of Michigan so that five
years later I can get a job at Microsoft. Now boom, I was it. I was working for Bill Gates. I was at Microsoft. My family saved up over 100 grand for this
college education and now I was a software guy at Microsoft. Eleven weeks into Microsoft I realized I was
miserable and I quit cold turkey. I basically got myself fired. I had no motivation for work. When I was supposed to be in the office, and
I confess and I’m so apologetic to my boss, I would just hole myself up and play Age of
Empires because I was so bored with programing. My boss caught me and he fired me and I wanted
that to happen. I realized that for five years I was pursuing
something that I had no interest in because the rules of the culturescape, of being a
good Indian kid, said, “Be a software programmer,” so I quit. I quit, I went and joined a non-profit and
that’s really when my life began. I dabbled in different things from traveling
around the world to meditation to art. It was through following these passions and
it was through ignoring the bullshit rules of the culturescape, identifying what really
drove me, what made me passionate, that I was able to build the life I have today. That’s really why I’m so adamant about teaching
people through my work, through my books, to question everything. To question your religion, to question your
societal rules, to question the idea of a college degree. I have a method for that which we can talk
about later, it’s called the Three Most Important Questions. That’s how I feel all of us should be living
life, by questioning everything. I don’t mean being skeptical of everything,
there’s a difference. I mean healthy skepticism. Ultimately questioning the rules of the culturescape
so we can stay true to our own inner identity. Tom: That’s really interesting. Full disclosure to anybody watching, Vishen
and I know each other, we’re both on the board of the X PRIZE. I didn’t know that you had a performance bug
in you. I think anybody watching will get that you’re
very at ease talking, you’re great on stage, your presentations are amazing, and they have
a lot of fucking views dude. How do you let that stuff drive you? Do the Three Most Important Questions do they
address that? Like tapping into …
Vishen: Well let’s talk about that. I think the idea of goal setting in the western
world is rubbish because here’s what happens: when you ask people to set goals, even if
you teach them methodologies like S-M-A-R-T, SMART goal setting, you are basically encouraging
people to set goals based on that same culturescape with its restricting rules. People, especially in the United States, set
goals along the lines of this: we need to get good grades so I can graduate high school,
so I can get into a good college, need to study hard to get a good GPA so maybe I can
go to graduate school, so maybe I can do well in my LSAT, that becomes the next goal, get
into law school, the next goal, graduate from law school, get into a partnership, become
a lawyer. That’s how teenagers often think about their
life. This series of ticks that they have to go
through but here’s what happens. Let’s actually look at that. Let’s look at lawyers. 50% of lawyers in America are clinically depressed. It’s not just the US, I think Australia did
a similar study. Why are kids going into these professions
where they end up in a job that they thought was a good goal at one point only to find
themselves absolutely miserable? I say that with some confidence because I,
at a certain point, was working in a legal industry, I was selling technology to law
firms. I would speak to lawyers on the phone and
diagnose what was going on in their law firms and it was shocking how many of them actually
hated their jobs and wanted to quit. Why is it that teenagers go into these roles? Now it’s not just lawyers. We set our goals to have two cars, and a house
of a certain size, to be in a marriage. It’s because these goals aren’t coming from
inside us, they’re coming from the culturescape. The culturescape is basically a safety net
mechanism. For the longest time in human history we had
to watch out for each other. There were wars, there were disease. Go back a thousand years there were wild animals
that might kill you. You had to follow certain rules of the culturescape
to stay safe. Among these were get a good education so you’re
not stuck in a factory job, so that you can have a blue collar job. It was get married, so if you’re a woman you
have a man to provide for you. It was have five kids because if you go back
50 years ago infant mortality was so much higher, you had five kids two were going to
probably pass away. The problem is people continue with these
same rules in today’s world when everything has changed. The thing is I don’t believe in goal setting
because when you teach traditional goal setting people are locked into the rules of the culturescape. Here’s what I suggest. I suggest we ask ourselves three questions,
and I call these the Three Most Important Questions. The first question is this: it’s what experiences
do I want to have? I’ll tell you why that’s important. You see there’s two types of goals, there
are means goals and there are end goals. People tend to chase means goals not realizing
these are very different from end goals. A means goal is do well in my LSAT, graduate
from college, get that particular job, save up for retirement, but if you ask these people
why do you want that there’s always a so. “Well I want to qualify for college so I can
do this.” Tom: Right. Vishen: “I want to become a lawyer so I can
do this.” Well the “so” leads you to the end goal. Now what are end goals? End goals are these things that really lead
to the beauty of being human. It’s waking up next to someone you madly love,
it’s holding your first child in your arms, it’s having a puppy, it’s seeing your business
open for the first time, it’s getting that first customer, it’s completing your first
book, it’s creating a work of art and having people admire it and fall in love with it. These are end goals. What I advocate is, and the Three Most Important
Questions, is forget the means goals. Means goals are goals designed by the culturescape. Instead go straight to the end goals. The first question you ask yourself to identify
your end goals is what experiences do I want to have in life? This is where you start writing down your
experiences. When I do this exercise I ask people to take
out a piece of paper, draw three columns … If you’re watching do that right now. Take out a piece of paper, three columns,
top of the first column you’re going to write down experiences. Ask yourself what experiences do I want to
have? Who do I want to wake up with? What type of house do I want to live in? What countries do I want to visit? Where do I want to travel to? What adventures do I want to have? Whether it’s climbing Mount Kinabalu, or hiking
the Andes. What type of family life do I want? What dog do I want? The beautiful thing about experiences is often
they don’t require that much money. It’s crazy, we associate money with happiness
but often the most beautiful experiences in life require no money. Almost any human being today can fall in love,
can make a baby. These are some of the most profound experiences
I’ve had. The first thing is you make a list of your
experiences. The second thing is you ask yourself this
question: for me to be the man or woman who has all of these experiences how do I have
to grow? Here we come to the second list. I believe we are souls having a human experience
here on planet earth but these souls are not just here to explore all of these wonderful
things about being human, I believe as souls, as human beings, we crave growth. Human beings are growth driven machines. You make that second list and that second
list is how do I want to grow? How can I learn to be a better father? A better spouse, a better lover? What languages do you want to learn? Do you want to learn a musical instrument? Do you want to learn to write? Do you want to learn to play a particular
sport? Or learn a particular skill? What many people don’t realize about the world
is that growth is a goal in itself. It’s one of the key things that drive us forward
as human beings but very few people write down growth as goals. It’s because the education system which tries
to teach us to grow through forced learning makes many people dread learning. Growth becomes that second list. Now you have two lists, your experiences and
your growth. Now you ask yourself the third question and
the third question is this: to be that man or woman, how has all of these experiences,
to be that man or woman who has grown in such a way, how can I give back to the world? There’s a very important reason for that question. The Dalai Lama said, “If you want to be happy,
make other people happy.” I believe that when you do these three most
important questions that third category is what truly leads to fulfillment. It’s when you can take your growth, you can
take your experiences, and contribute to fellow souls, contribute to the human race. You’ve learned entrepreneurship? Great. Mentor someone. Mentor a kid who wants to get there. You have the ability to sing? Figure out how to use it to deliver beautiful
music to inspire people. Your list of contributions becomes your steps
for you to give back to the world because that takes you beyond pure happiness into
fulfillment. When you have this list, experiences, growth,
and contribution, this becomes your goal list. Everything else is just a means goal. When I started creating this I found that
it allowed me to rewire my brain to shortcut and bypass so many bullshit rules to go straight
to these final items. To go straight to ways I could contribute,
ways I could grow, ways I could have these beautiful experiences. Often these were unconventional parts. When I started my company I didn’t work with
any investors or VCs, I decided to start my own university, which is happening in Barcelona,
but it all came because when you have done the Three Most Important Questions you get
to short circuit the brules of the culturescape and figure out short paths towards true human
fulfillment. Tom: That’s amazing and has a high degree
of consistency. Now what I want to know is growing up as your
kid, do you think that your kids will still struggle with this? Is the culturescape the kind of thing that
worms its way in and how do you walk them through not ending up in that? Vishen: That’s a beautiful question and I
love parenting. One of the key things in my growth list is
be as great a parent as I can be because I think that’s one of the biggest responsibilities
that being human, the whole act of being human, gives us. To raise another baby you and not fuck that
kid up. Tom: Too much. Vishen: Too much. Right. One of the key things … I remember talking
to a parental psychologist called Shelly [Rafko 00:16:02] and I asked her once, “Shelly, what
is the greatest gift a parent could give a child?” And Shelly said this, she said, “The greatest
thing you can do for your children is to be acutely aware that they form their beliefs
because of you so make sure that you are taking absolute care to give them the right beliefs.” This is so, so, so important. Kids are little meaning making machines. It’s how the human brain has evolved to work. We create meaning about the world. Now if you think about American parenting,
let’s say Billy, your kid, is sitting at a table and he drops his fork and you go, “Billy,
don’t drop that fork.” Two minutes later Billy drops his spoon and
now you’re like, “Billy, I told you not to drop that fork. Now you drop a spoon? Go stand in that corner.” You take Billy off the chair, you go put him
in a corner, and if you’re parents, I’ve done that, I know you guys have done that as well. Now I thought that was fine. I’m not slapping the kid, I’m just making
him stand in the corner so he learns to hold his freaking cutlery. Shelly said the problem with that is this:
we’re not paying attention to Billy’s meaning making machine. It’s that machine in the child’s head that’s
creating meaning. What if this is what is going on in Billy’s
head. He accidentally dropped his fork and he was
surprised that his mom questioned him. He’s a kid, he’s still learning to use his
hands, so he wanted to find out was his mom really angry with him? Is mom really angry? What if I drop my spoon? I just want to see what happens. That’s how kids understand the world, they
experiment. He drops his spoon, now mom sends him to a
corner. He doesn’t get to finish his meal which he
was enjoying. “Now think about,” Shelly says, “What’s going
on in Billy’s head?” The meaning making machine is turning. He’s going, “Mom doesn’t trust me. Mom is angry at me. Mom sends me to a corner because she doesn’t
respect me. Mom doesn’t love me. Does she love me? Why am I in a corner? Why can’t I speak now? My voice is not important.” These things become part of our identity and
these things when they repeat is what creates adults that can be so broken. All of us grow up with these holes within
ourselves. We feel not loved enough, we feel not important
enough, we feel that we don’t matter. All of us grow up. I had these issues as a teenager and it’s
because our style of parenting doesn’t take care of the meaning making machine in a child’s
brain. How do you do that? Well you be acutely aware of a child’s brain
works. With my son, let me give you an example of
the opposite. I was driving my car with my son two weeks
ago and he asked me a question. I can’t remember what it was but it was something
about science, he’s a science junky. As he asked me the question the phone rang
and I checked it and it was my CFO and I knew it was an important call so I took the call. Two minutes into the call I realized I’d ignored
my son. Now what does that tell him? It occurred to me that his meaning making
machine might go off and go, “Oh, dad’s work is more important than me. I’m not important. Dad’s CFO is more important.” I paused the call and I said, “Hayden, I am
so, so, so sorry. Your question is so important to me. You’re the most important person in my life. I just need to finish this call because it’s
only going to be two minutes and I’m guessing it’s something urgent and then I’m going to
give you full attention.” Those simple statements tweak his meaning
making machine and gives him a sense of importance, gives him a sense of understanding that he
is truly important. As parents you want to be careful of that. Now if you do that your kid is growing up
with healthy beliefs, beliefs which are empowering, beliefs of confidence, beliefs that say I
matter. When children have that they are less immune
to the brules of the culturescape. They are less immune to a religious leader
who might say, “You’re a sinner because you ate the wrong type of meat,” or because you
didn’t follow some arbitrary bullshit rule written 2,000 years ago. They are able to use their own … They get
a positive meaning making machine and they are better able to use that sense of power
and confidence to navigate the world without falling for other people’s bullshit. Tom: Yeah. How do you deal with discipline and not wanting
to trigger a negative meaning making machine but knowing that at … Or maybe hey you tell
me, do you need to coral them? Are there certain rules that they should follow? What happens when Billy punches somebody in
the face? Vishen: That’s happened to my kid. I think there are two fundamental things we
can have as human beings that define how we function in the world. The first belief is that human beings are
fundamentally good. The second belief is that human beings are
fundamentally evil. I have a major issue with religion. I think religion has gone past its time of
usefulness in human society and it’s about time that we start questioning religion. We should cut the cord and stop indoctrinating
our children in our religion, whether it’s Islam, or Christianity, or Hinduism, or any
other type of religion. One of the things is many religions are created
by men and women and enforced by men and women who believe human beings are fundamentally
evil. That’s where you get dumb ideas such as sin,
bad karma, and things like that. I believe human beings are fundamentally good. I rarely have discipline issues with my son. Yes, there was a time many years ago, four
or five years ago, when I know my kid punched another kid because he lost his temper so
I sat down with Hayden and we spoke about it. We spoke about the value of compassion and
we spoke about Ken Wilber and his theories of levels of awareness. How one can move from ethnocentrism to worldcentrism
to cosmocentrism, how all of us can be connected in life. I never disciplined him. I educated him. Tom: How old was he at this point? Vishen: He was maybe five years old. Tom: And do you think he got that? Vishen: He did. Tom: Ethnocentrism is pretty intense …
Vishen: You’d be surprised at how smart kids really are. Hayden is aware of philosophers like Ken Wilber
and understands many of these concepts. Here’s why this is important. Charles Darwin, we all know Charles Darwin,
theory of evolution. In 1872 Darwin wrote a really interesting
book, I forgot the name but it had the word “sexual” in the title. I guess in 1872 you wanted to sell a book
you would put the word, “Anatomy of Reproduction and Sexual Something,” in the title. Tom: I think that works today too. Vishen: It works today. Probably. I wish I could remember the name of the book
but anyway you guys can Google it. It was written in 1872 or 1873 and in that
book Charles Darwin spoke about this incredible idea called diffusion of sympathy. When I read that paragraph I felt my hair
stand on end because it was like listening to the Dalai Lama, remembering that this was
a guy who lived 150 years ago. He said when human beings start understanding
that they can be sympathetic to the community around them very soon they start understanding
that they have a natural advantage by being sympathetic to the entire nation. Then very soon they realize that they have
a further advantage by being sympathetic to people of other nations and one by one this
diffusion of sympathy will extend until someday the entire human race will be sympathetic
to each other. He predicted worldcentrism. He predicted that more and more of us are
going to go up to areas of worldcentrism. Charles Darwin didn’t just talk about how
we evolved he talked about how we are going to evolve. The natural state of evolution of human beings,
according to Charles Darwin, is that sympathies, and sympathies is basically 1872 language
for compassion, is going to extend and extend and extend until the human race is one. I guess today you can call that unity. Back to why it’s important for a kid to know
this. When you see … I’m not trying to get political. I’m trying to get logical. Tom: Sure. Vishen: When you see a man like Trump get
on television and blame Mexicans and blame Muslims, you can tell that his ideas are counter
to the natural forward evolution of the human race, which is diffusion of sympathy to people
of all colors and all creeds. In other words he’s holding us back. If you decide that the goal of a political
leader is to help human beings evolve you would not vote for Trump, assuming you understood
Darwin, you understood Ken Wilber’s philosophy. My child, at seven, can watch Trump on television
and go, “This guy is kind of bad.” I believe that is the most important thing
we can teach our people because if people learn that there would be no racism, there
would be no wars, there would be no discrimination against people of different colors or religions,
there would be no discrimination against gays. The thing is if you are a religious person
and you learn that, they way you embrace your religion changes. Religion goes away from being a suffocating,
poisonous brule to something that can open you up to new experiences. Tom: Do you consider yourself a philosopher
or an entrepreneur more? I imagine there’s a bit of both. Vishen: Interesting question. I realize I just went on on philosophy for
a really long time. Tom: Which is amazing but I’m very curious
to know where your self definition would fall. Vishen: I used to think I was an entrepreneur,
but again entrepreneur is a means goal. Tom: Okay. Vishen: I don’t like that label, entrepreneur. There are entrepreneurs who are freelancers
on freelancer.com right now who will design a logo for you. They’re an entrepreneur. Entrepreneur simply means you’re earning your
own income. There are entrepreneurs like you who have
built billion dollar companies. The gap is too wide to put everybody into
one label. I define myself not by the label entrepreneur
but by what I stand for. I believe it’s not our labels that matter,
it’s your stand. One guy I know, Patrick Gentempo, has a quote,
“Your stand is your brand.” I believe what makes us truly unique as an
individual is what we stand for. I fundamentally stand for one thing and it’s
reflected in everything I do and that one thing is unity. It’s my number one value. I’m an activist for unity, more so than I
am an entrepreneur. If I lost my business- and you know that happens
right? Small chance but it happens- I wouldn’t lose
my identity. If I stopped standing up for unity I wouldn’t
be Vishen. Everything I do in Mindvalley is about taking
Darwin’s prediction of sympathetic diffusion and getting it out to more people. There’s this big desire in me for unity. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe it
was the raising and my experience as a child. Often the biggest childhood pains we experience
are simply the things that define our future values but that’s what makes me me. I’m a fighter and an activist for human unity. That’s my number one definition of myself. Tom: Wow man. That’s intense and I love that. I love that you’ve thought enough about it
to really know what your real end goal is. That’s phenomenal. Vishen: Right. Tom: The reason that I asked is I think a
lot about what is the ultimate power of being an entrepreneur? What is the end game, to put it in your terms. For me I definitely consider myself an entrepreneur
but the reason that I consider myself an entrepreneur, and the reason that I think that’s so powerful,
and the reason that I get so excited doing things like the adventure trip that we did
for the X PRIZE is you get to be around other entrepreneurs and they sound like fucking
philosophers. Vishen: Right. Tom: They sound like you sound and I know
anybody watching this is thinking, “This guy runs companies?” You know what I mean? They’re thinking of you as a philosopher. What I want them to see in that is that commerce
becomes this very powerful vehicle for you to build a platform to launch what you’re
trying to do with unity in a way that’s sustainable, in way that touches a lot of people. Tell them about Awesomeness Fest, now known
as A-Fest, and that you give away the profits but you’re only able to do that because you’re
such an effective entrepreneur. Vishen: Well let me first back track a bit. I want to give you guys a model that might
help explain this. In my book I have a quote, I think it’s the
single most quoted line in my book, and it is, “Business people do it for the dollars,
but entrepreneurs do it to push the human race forward.” Tom: I love that. Vishen: That’s the difference. People lump everyone together but no, there
are business people who will start businesses that basically are designed just for shareholder
value, just to make a buck. Entrepreneurs are people like you. You started Quest Nutrition because you wanted
to make a dent on obesity in America. You wanted to help people live a healthy lifestyle. Entrepreneurs I found, true entrepreneurs,
do it because there’s this deep calling in them to push the human race forward. As a result business people and entrepreneurs
build very different types of companies and if you understand this division you understand
that there are two different types of companies you can join. If you are applying for a job or working for
a company, this is so important, you can be in a humanity minus company or you can be
in a humanity plus company like Quest Nutrition or Mindvalley. Humanity plus companies are designed not just
for profit. They can be highly profitable, like Quest,
like Zumba, but they are pushing the human race forward. Humanity minus companies create money but
they don’t really serve to push the human race forward. In many cases they keep the human race stuck
in old practices. If you think about oil and gas companies right
now which are influencing the EPA to cut so many environmental regulations. If you think about companies that sell junk
food. These are humanity minus companies. Big tobacco, junk food, companies that are
willing to sacrifice quality and manipulate people to eat stuff that actually make you
sick because it leads to their bottom line, humanity minus. I wish millenials today could understand this
so you guys stop sending your resumes to bullshit companies that are messing up the planet. No one’s asking you to save the world. All I’m saying is don’t fuck it up for the
next generation. Tom: That’s a fair ask. What I want to know is do you think, going
back to what you were saying about the food companies, the humanity minus, do you think
that we legislate our way out of that? Do we stop food companies from doing things? Or do we as consumers make demands that they
be better? Vishen: That’s a very important question. I am not for extreme legislation but the fact
of the matter is legislation is necessary. Because especially in a country like the US
there is this danger that America become a corporatocracy if it isn’t already and certain
legislation is necessary. Let me give you an example. In [Talin 00:31:21], which is this beautiful
medieval town, my wife is from there, we’re buying a house there, I love Talin, I’m so
happy that there’s legislation that doesn’t allow Starbucks in Talin. I used to live in New York and I remember
in 1998 and 1999 walking through the streets of New York and being able to visit and have
dates in all of these beautiful little romantic coffee shops and then Starbucks came and all
of these coffee shops just died out. It’s just a Starbucks everywhere. Some of these Starbucks don’t even have places
where you can sit, it’s coffee on the go. Right now I love Starbucks, I started Mindvalley
in a Starbucks, but I can see how, without legislation, certain historical places like
Talin, one of my favorite cities, might lose their native touch. Talin has shops, stores which are over 500
years old. These might die out if these companies come
in so sometimes legislation is necessary. Especially when it comes to food I think it’s
so vitally important. According to the CDC, the Center for Disease
Control, one in three Americans are now officially obese. Tom: Right. Vishen: Until we create a world where, and
hopefully the millennial generation will figure this out, we create a world where companies
are all humanity plus … The fact is a large number of companies exist straight up as an
algorithm for generating profit and these algorithms … I’m not saying these guys behind
them are bad or wrong, I’m just saying the algorithm of the company is to generate profit
at all cost. These might be counter to where we want to
take the human species. Tom: That’s a fascinating argument that I
won’t derail us entirely and then keep going down that rabbit hole but it is something
that I think a lot about. What was that study that you read about belief? I think you refer to it as Bob, Billy, and
Sally and their teacher … It’s the one where the teacher gets told these three are special. Vishen: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s called the expectancy effect. There was this one study done in a school
where they took a teacher and they played a trick on her. They told her that certain people in her class
had tested and were proven to be exceptionally gifted but the teacher, to be fair to everyone,
was not allowed to tell these kids how they had done in this presumed IQ test. She just had to do her regular job and be
quiet about it. What they found is that after one year, even
though they had randomly picked the kids whom they told the teacher was gifted, those kids
started scoring better in exams. That’s the expectancy effect. People do good when you expect them to do
good. It’s a really interesting study that shows
that often what we expect to be true about the world, whether it’s because it changes
our behavior or it influences the world in some way, ends up being true. They did that same study with managers. They told managers certain employees just
had the potential to be star employees. Again these employees were picked at random
and sure enough those employees ended up being star employees. Tom: That is so fascinating to me. When you think about the power of mind. Vishen: Right. Tom: Because what’s happening is … Did you
read Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers? Vishen: Yes. I did. Tom: He talks about hockey players in Canada
are all born between January and March because they end up being bigger and because they
have early wins, because they’re just more coordinated, they’re bigger, they’re stronger. Then that gives them the confidence, they
go on to do better, simply because they have the confidence and believe that they must
be better and so they actually separate themselves from the pack. That just the teacher, because these kids
don’t even know the study’s happening, just the teacher believing … Even though they’re
trying not to let anything on, that they think these kids are special, the kids actually
end up doing better. That is so surreal and makes me absolutely
terrified to have children. Because you realize … I want it to be Plato,
I think it’s Plato that said, “The only impossible job is raising children.” When you think about how many … I literally
as you were talking about brules I had this vision of your kids and vines representing
the brules winding their way over and your job as a parent is one by one to fight those
off because they come for you. Vishen: They do. Tom: It’s not like they just get passed on
by you. To navigate the world we have to make assumptions
about it and to have a consistent human experience you have to make assumptions. You have to have things you believe. Things can get in man that are sneaky and
it is so hard to shuck that all off and do something exceptional. All right, I don’t want to run out of time. I want to hear about your university because
I think your university addresses a lot of this stuff. Vishen: Right. Tom: What exactly is Mindvalley Academy and
how’s it different? Why is it important? Vishen: Perfect. Mindvalley Academy is a company I started. Mindvalley is an education company, Mindvalley
Academy is this really successful online school we started to teach people the things that
school should have taught you but forgot. I often hear from people who say education
failed me. The reason for that is because if you really
look at what creates happy, successful life it is not the stuff that schools are teaching
us. All of us today walk around with the equivalent
of a freaking super computer in our pockets right? On this computer you can pretty much pull
up most information yet what do schools teach? They teach you geography, history, math, and
all of that is accessible in our portable brain but what they don’t teach us is how
to truly lead exceptional lives. How do you be a great parent and not fuck
up your kids? How do you be a great lover so you don’t end
up one of those divorce statistics which afflict 50% of marriages? How do you lead a life of adventure so you
don’t wake up at 40 wondering what the hell am I doing? How do you stay physically fit? How do you extend your longevity? How do you know what foods to eat and what
to toss into the garbage can? How do you treat people? How do you get onstage and share an idea? How do you write a business plan? How do you become an entrepreneur? How do you learn how to create residual streams
of income, passive income? School doesn’t teach that to you. In fact school doesn’t teach you much of what
one truly needs to be successful. What we do is we go out there, we find the
greatest teachers in the world. The greatest guy for fitness, the greatest
man or woman for healthy eating, the greatest people for mindfulness and meditation, the
greatest people for self esteem, the greatest people for goal setting. We take those great teachers and we combine
them with a great curriculum. Often they have their own curriculum but we
teach them particular psychology and stuff to create phenomenal courses. We combine this with great technology. Great teach, great curriculum, great technology. Wrapped around all of it is art and design
and beautiful film making and we produce the world’s best courses in these subject matters. These courses are on an app. We have two apps, the Mindvalley App, which
is for traditional courses, and a new app we’re launching soon called Mindvalley Quest. Basically students join a cohort, a group,
3,000 students at the same time going through an incredible program. One of our top programs is Wild Fit which
is a weight loss program. It’s the most amazing thing for reshaping
your body all based on using NLP to change your approach to food. You have 3,000 people go through it and here’s
the crazy thing, the completion rate is almost 500% better than traditional courses. Tom: Wow. Vishen: What happens is it’s based on micro-learning
so you take a 10 minute lesson everyday. It’s not eight hours of content. People go through and then there’s communities
so people are supporting each other and at the end of 30, 60, or 90 days people now have
a healthy eating habit, or they’ve figured out how to put on muscle and be physically
fit, or they now have high endurance, or they now can practice mindfulness, or they’ve now
learned to tap into their intuition. We are roping in many of the world’s greatest
teachers. Neale Donald Walsch, Ken Wilber … Putting
them- Tom: Wim Hof. Vishen: Wim Hof. Yeah Wim Hoff is teaching in our university,
I’ll come to that in a moment. And putting them on Mindvalley Academy through
our apps. Now at the same time there are certain things
where you learn best as a group and that’s what Mindvalley U is about. We’re actually creating our own university
to compete with four year colleges which I think are not relevant anymore. Alan Watts, who’s one of our teachers, his
work is coming to Mindvalley Quest, phenomenal philosopher. Alan Watts said, “No literate, inquisitive
young man needs to go to college unless they are training to be a doctor or a teacher or
anything that requires certification.” He wrote that in 1972. It’s even more true right now. Think about college. You take a group of 19, 20, and 21 year olds
and put them in a bubble for four years and when they come out of that bubble the world
has changed. Peter Diamandis said between 2016 and 2022
we will see more change in the world than between 1900 and 2000. What happens when you emerge from this bubble? Your knowledge is often no longer useless. Your degree doesn’t matter. 15% of people at Google, according Laszlo
Bock, the head of hiring, no longer have a college degree. Same at Mindvalley, 15% of our hires? No college degree. People are coming out with these bullshit
degrees, they’ve spent four years on campus, and they’re hanging out with other 19 year
olds. What can you learn from a 19 year old? We want to change college so the first thing
is get rid of the four years. Mindvalley U is one month a year. You go for one month onto our campus and then
you go back into the real world for 11 months. You come back a month later, go back into
the real world for 11 months. It is one month a year stretched out for 48
years. The second thing we just got rid of? Graduation. It’s pointless. Why would you ever want to graduate from learning? You come back every year. The third thing we do is it’s not just for
teenagers. You have parents coming, husband, wife, 10
year olds, teens, five year olds, it’s for people of all ages. You could be in a class with a 13 year old
and 70 year olds. Because of this everybody learns from each
other. An interesting statistic shows that 85% of
jobs are found through personal connections, not resumes. The resumes help but it’s that personal connection. Everybody knows resumes are BS. By putting entrepreneurs and teenagers all
on the same campus together your kids make incredible connections. The next thing we hack is the campus itself. Rather than have a confined campus our campus
is in spectacular cities around the world like Barcelona. Next year it’s going to be Berlin or Talin. The campus moves every year so every year
for one month you’re living in a new city, you’re discovering a new culture, you’re on
this campus with this incredible community of people of all around the ages, and now
we bring in the magic ingredient, teachers. Our subject matter and our teachers are the
subjects that truly change your life. Our teachers are legendary. Colleges do not have the best teachers. They have the best researchers. They’re incentivized to employ the best researchers
but the best teachers, these are the people you have on the show. These are people on Ted Talks. These are people writing best selling books. We get these people into our campus. It’s such a rich community. It all started because my family and I wanted
to question a brule. Christine and I were wondering how cool would
it be if we could live one month a year in a foreign city with our kids? If we had community around this and we had
opportunity to do what we love, which is learn, and this new university idea was born. We launched it, it’s been ridiculous. Hundreds of applications. We’re going through them right now. We’ll probably fill our first quota, our first
beta test is 400 people, but I’m going to scale this to 10,000 people and yes absolutely,
we are taking on four year colleges. Tom: Wow man. That’s incredible. That’s a big vision. Vishen: Thank you. Tom: All right. You’re doing a lot. Where can these guys find you online? Vishen: Go to MindvalleyAcademy.com. MindvalleyAcademy.com is where you can learn
all about Mindvalley Academy, our courses, our teachers, and MindvalleyAcadamey/U is
where you can learn about our university project. Tom: Awesome man. All right, last question. What’s the impact that you want to have on
the world? Vishen: I already shared what I feel is the
number one thing I stand for and that is unity, but the second thing I stand for is human
transformation. The impact I want to have on the world is
to help take our human education systems from what we learn as adults to what colleges teach
and later we’re going to go down to K-1 to K-12 and early infant learning and upgrade
these to teach the skills that truly create happy, wonderful, kind, generous people who
are able to live beautiful, fulfilled lives, create humanity plus companies, and elevate
the human race as a worldcentric species. Now this means an overhaul of how our education
system works. It means teaching ideas like worldcentrism,
getting into the K-1 to K-12 system, into colleges, and teaching people to unleash that
power within. I know that line sounds corny but teaching
people to unleash their abilities within, to really craft and create the best lives
they can. That’s the legacy I want to leave. I want to reboot human education and create
something that’s more relevant for the generation, that future, that this human race is moving
into. Tom: I love it man. Vishen: Thanks. Tom: Thank you so much for coming on dude. It was awesome. Vishen: Thanks. Tom: Guys, listen when I say that yes, he
has a massive vision, but the thing you need to understand about him is he is an entrepreneur
to his core. While he does not define himself by that and
I get it, it’s all about unity, he actually knows how to execute and that’s why it’s important
to me that he has the skill set of an entrepreneur. Because he’s not an empty dreamer who’s pulling
all of this stuff out of the ether to sound good. He’s building all of this stuff based on real
world execution, knowing what it takes to actually take on a four year university, knowing
what it takes to look at a global problem like people being too ethnocentric or being
too egocentric and understanding how to build sustainable engines that take care of that
through being an entrepreneur, looking past the dollar and looking to the opportunity
and the way to build something to get people excited and rallied around an idea. Go online and look at their offices, look
at the way that he’s constructed it. One thing I was not going to forget to ask
him and I forgot is that he makes people swear on a Wonder Woman statue when they start in
the Hall of Awesomeness. These are all real things tied to his company. Go check it out. He questions everything. He is doing things in a new way and I know
I have learned a lot from him, I hope that you guys will as well. It is a weekly show my friends so if you haven’t
already be sure to subscribe. Until next time, be legendary my friends. Take care. Vishen: Thank you everyone. Tom: Vishen, thank you brother. Hey everybody, thanks so much for joining
us for another episode of Impact Theory. If this content is adding value to your life
our one ask is that you go to iTunes and Stitcher and rate and review. Not only does that help us build this community,
which at the end of the day is all we care about, but it also helps us get even more
amazing guests on here to share their knowledge all of us. Thank you guys so much for being a part of
this community and until next time, be legendary my friends. How did we do? If you rate this transcript 3 or below, this
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