Interview with Vasant Agarwal
Director at Discover My Mind (Lifeskills Platform)
Emotional Intelligence Author, Speaker, Mind Trainer
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Q1. Please share your inspirational journey with us?
I am a Director at Discover My Mind, a Lifeskills platform, and the author of several books including “The Complete Guide to Emotional Intelligence”, “Parenting with Emotional Intelligence”, and “The Accidental Addict and The Power of Positive Thinking”, and a speaker at International conferences across India, a Director in the Indian School Counselor Association and a Senior Advisor to the International Training Federation. Presently on a mission to help people utilize emotional intelligence as a means for academic success and mental health.
I have a Masters Degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and an I.S.C Diploma from Cambridge University, England.
My work experience includes many years as a Senior Management Consultant with EY in Los Angeles a long time ago, and business ventures in solar energy and electric vehicles.
Please visit www.discovermymind.com
The best part of my journey was to have the opportunity to study in some of the best universities in the world and subsequently to work with some of the best companies, like EY. Being a serial entrepreneur, my search for knowledge soon made me set up the most modern solar facility in the U.S. in 1980, and later into technology used to drive electric vehicles. This was forty years ago and my family thought I was crazy to look so far ahead in time. But instinct and intuition told me this was the future. Lo and behold, it has come true. The richest man in the world, Elon Musk is, guess what, putting solar on every rooftop in America, and selling electric cars in unimaginable numbers. I am blessed with a beautiful family and am an avid skier, traveler and reader, and have returned to India to give back to my country..
Q2. Please share brief about Emotional Intelligence?
- EI has an escape velocity faster and quicker than the speed of light.
- It is very hard to practice.
- EI is an excellent way of Self learning.
- When you finally know what and why, EI tells you how.
- Machine learning, AI, computers, mobile phones is all inhuman. EI is the differentiator.
- Emotional Intelligence teaches you to manage success and failure, not just your emotions.
- EI is all about understanding yourself.
- EI forms your psychological safety network.
- EI affects and effects your competency.
- EI is a powerful way of upskilling your faculties.
- EI makes us inclusive to our environment.
- EI helps uncomplicated our thoughts, feelings and actions.
- EI leads to self identification and forms our personality and character.
- EI is about extrospection, is about empathy and the well being of others.
- EI is influenced by our environment, customs and social values.
- EI leads directly to self esteem and self worth, essential components to our success in life.
- EI will be a huge disruptor to customary education as we know it.
- EI is best enhanced by experiential learning as opposed to the current textual approach.
- EI dramatically improves our level of incompetence.
- EI strengthens and develops the empathy neurons in our mind and releases related chemicals to heighten awareness of our emotions.
- EI is the foundation of all human behavior.
- IQ vs EQ! There is no comparison.
- EI transforms lives, relationships and beliefs and values.
- EQ evaluation and assessment is essential for behavior management whether in education, psychotherapy or HR.
- EI must be made a vital part of all curriculum’s.
- EI is essential for parents in managing depression and related illness in their children.
- EI must be understood and used by adults to manage their emotions, relationships and behavior.
Q3. You are a Director at Discover My Mind, a Lifeskills platform. What is the importance of Lifeskills in any person? Does it help in personal and professional growth?
It is indeed unfortunate that the value of Lifeskills, including emotional intelligence, is so underestimated and understood in our country. The parent, teacher or school is unaware that a student cannot be academically successful unless he or she is emotionally healthy. Or that the IQ remains constant and it is the EQ that grows exponentially from childhood through adulthood or the importance of EI profiling and assessment. Thus, the main task ahead of us is education and awareness in the value proposition. Today, psychotherapists are reluctantly embracing emotional learning as the preferred choice over prescription medication.
Q4. What is your main motto/goal behind writing multiple books as an Author?
To my surprise, I could not find books on EI in India written within our context, that were non-clinical, soft skill, user friendly and catering to the totally uninitiated. I do not have a Ph.D in Psychiatry, but do have one in Common Sense awarded by my mother. So I have attempted to apply basic principles to basic human issues and the reviews and testimonials so far are proof of concept.
Q5. Tell us about one of the moments which changed your perspective towards life?
If you are referring to an aha! moment, there have been several. The one that stands out most is when I submitted my first book to the Editor at Penguin Random House, one of the world’s premier publishers. A few weeks later, she called me from New York and asked, “Is this your first book Mr. Agarwal?”. I said “Yes, it is”. She replied, “In that case sir, you write very well”. OMG!
I am grateful to the many other eminent authors and experts who have congratulated me on my work.
Q6. You had studied and worked in western countries. What are the main differences between India and western countries in terms of education and business model according to you?
I will be asking for trouble if I answer this question honestly. There is no comparison in the work ethic of the people and values in our two countries. Unfortunately, many things here are an outcome of who you know and not what you know. Our priorities in life are different as are the resources available to reach our maximum potential. Everything in the U.S. is performance based whereas there is little incentive here to perform above and beyond what is minimally required. Stock options, the engine of growth that has made America the biggest economic power in just 100 years, are still not the norm. And certainly not in the Government sector which controls 65% of our economy. Such a shame!
Q7. What kind of problems had you faced in your life and how did you remove it?
I have faced many trials and tribulations in life, made millions and lost millions, but always ensuring there was ample food on the table for me and my family. To me, success and failure are like the two sides of a coin. There are many war stories and much more I would like to share with you and your audience. If there was a mistake to be made, I made it! If there was an opportunity to avail, I took it! I am proud of what I have achieved in life, and I wish the same for all those reading or listening to my story.
Q8. You had management, marketing, writing and coaching experience in your long span of career. Which one do you like most and why?
Frankly, none of the above. My true calling I think is in conceptualizing and transforming an idea whose time has come or will in the future. There is nothing more satisfying than taking a new concept, however impossible it may sound at the time, and bringing it to reality with promise and benefits for all. And you do not have to be a genius to do that. That is the hallmark of all great inventors, thinkers, artists and knowledge seekers of our time.
Q9. Which one skill do you like most about yourself?
I think I covered this question mostly in my prior answer, but I do wish to add one more thought. Please tell me if there is anything I can do to uplift and enhance the life of another human being. No thanks, just that one knowing smile. That is what life is all about.
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