Vijay Eswaran has been known throughout his career to bring philosophy and philanthropy to every business venture. He may be the first to tell other entrepreneurs that it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate ones nature personally from that of a professional ilk. All of these factors work together to create the personage that takes command at a company, that spearheads new ideas, and that affects change in the world around them.
To this end, Eswaran has implemented a number of stress relieving and refocusing techniques in his own life, which he recently shared in depth in an interview with Authority Magazine. His hope is that others can benefit from his own experiences and apparent wisdom in handling what life and business send our way.
Vijay Eswaran on the Power of Silence
For Eswaran, the calm and direction he finds in his personal and professional life come from what he has coined as a Sphere of Silence. This space he has created for himself every morning serves as a guiding time of focus and refocus, helping him navigate the rest of what comes to him throughout the course of his day. His recommendation is that other business leaders and entrepreneurs follow this or a similar practice that can help them recenter themselves in times of high stress.
By teaching yourself how to hold space for silence and reflection, the practice acts to activate that part of the brain akin to a muscle, helping build up a propensity to endure and react appropriately. The process only takes Eswaran one hour each day but is vital to establishing the tempo for what follows. The Sphere of Silence is split into three parts: Duty, Knowledge, and Devotion. For Duty, Eswaran spends half an hour outlining his goals for the day and reflecting on the prior day’s objective. Exploring what was accomplished and what was not can help frame the needs of the day ahead and teach one lessons about what they need to do to improve. “One cannot structure today without knowing why or how yesterday happened,” explained Eswaran. “Hence, understanding yesterday is the key to tomorrow.”
With this framework in place, Eswaran recommends spending 20 minutes dedicated to acquiring new knowledge by spending time with nonfiction texts and books that are personally edifying. As part of this practice, reading and then journaling takeaways helps underscore lessons learned to make them a more lasting part of one’s self. Finally, Eswaran spends 10 minutes in devotion or reflection of a higher power. Whatever this looks like for an individual, Eswaran recommends spending the time in silent reflection and communion with the self.
Influences and Inspiration for Vijay Eswaran
Within his quiet time, Eswaran finds his own source of energy and inspiration to tackle each day. He recently began to couple this with time spent eating healthier and practicing yoga, acknowledging the importance of the mind-body connection. He also takes inspiration from a number of role models who he holds in high esteem. He quotes Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in saying “Watch your thoughts, they become your words” and explains that “any new habit begins with a thought, which becomes the words you speak and manifest into your actions. This essentially means habits start with the mindset. Hence, to develop good habits, you need to start by creating the right attitude.”
Creating habits can be a daunting task, especially if one is rewriting over prior or less desired habits. But Eswaran is optimistic and points to how every new habit must start by taking the first step: “That very first step is the most important one. That step then needs to be repeated every single day. When that step becomes a daily practice, it becomes a habit.” He went on to explain, “Habits have no formula to them. It is as simple as daily repetition. We become the master of whatever we are willing to do every day.”
No matter what you aspire to in personal or professional development, that first step can make all of the difference. And Eswaran takes more inspiration from a group of influential leaders who he dubbed the Four Ms: Mahatma Gandhi, Marin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. Eswaran shared, “I’m in awe of their ability to inspire a global movement for change. Now, more than ever, the world needs a hero who can bring people together.” This sense of need for change can be seen in Eswaran’s own philanthropic efforts through his corporate nonprofit, the RYTHM Foundation. There, funding and programs are put together to help the disenfranchised peoples of third-world countries throughout Asia gain access to much needed education, technology, and other empowerment resources.
Entering a Flow State and How to Achieve Your Goals
Many professionals have heard of the ever-coveted flow state, wherein everything currently being worked on comes into narrow focus and individuals are able to create and thrive with their projects in the moment. Yet many struggle to achieve or attain this state due to any number of struggles, distractions, and limitations on their time.
Eswaran shared in his interview with Authority Magazine that he is familiar with the flow state and approaches it through a different angle, gaining inspiration from the Arthashastra. A text written in the third century BCE by an economist and philosopher that can be applied to business management and success even in modern times. To achieve a similar experience to a flow state, called self-realization, Eswaran shared that the text breaks the method into four steps that can be followed.
Within Viveka, the individual stops to consider the task at hand even before getting started. This is a moment of what Eswaran calls discernment: “You must learn to distinguish between right and wrong because once you step on the path, you must keep moving.” Once started, the individual enters Vichara, or research and analysis as Eswaran explains. This is when professionals must set aside the time, preferably distraction-free, to explore, research and understand the task at hand thoroughly.
Knowing one is on the right path and understanding the path undertaken, a state of Ne ti is entered. This is akin to the flow state that so many professionals endeavor to enter. Eswaran explains this state as “the stage where nothing else exists other than the goal. You are so focused on the goal that nothing can distract you.” And when all is working in sync – the path, the understanding, and the focus – professionals can experience a last step called Vairagya, which Eswaran describes as not just being in the flow but also becoming the flow itself.
Core to all of this is that rather than expecting or waiting for a flow state to occur, the professional must take steps to achieve it. Much of Eswaran’s own experiences and shared philosophy center on taking action and initiative to achieve goals. This starts with making time for silence to start the day, emphasizing positive influences, and asserting oneself in establishing time to dedicate to important tasks. These efforts can naturally mitigate stressors that would otherwise deter professionals or cause inefficiencies or ineffectiveness in their daily routines. Eswaran shares that by teaching himself how to create time for silence in his mornings, he is also able to carve out a moment of silence during his day so that he can be sure to respond with accuracy and wisdom rather than rash emotion.