Vishen is the founder of Mindvalley, a “life transformation platform” that has 20 million followers across 190 countries. He sat down with Jessica Abo to talk about why he started Mindvalley, his new book, The 6 Phase Meditation Method, and the one thing you can start doing today to live a better life.
Jessica Abo: Vishen, before we get into your company and before we start talking about your new book, let’s go back in time. What were you doing before you started Mindvalley?
I was a stressed-out executive in Silicon Valley, and I stumbled upon a class on meditation that completely changed my life. It not only changed my life, it gave me peace of mind, it caused me to accelerate in my job. I got promotion, after promotion, after promotion, I realized that this tool was so powerful, but hardly anyone was talking about it. Now, this was 20 years ago.
So I decided that I was done with Silicon Valley. I was done with technology sales. I decided to quit my job and become a meditation teacher. And I went broke for five years. And then five years later, because I have a background in computer engineering, I happened to build a platform for meditation, that platform that I built exploded, and that became the basis for what is today Mindvalley.
What is Mindvalley? How does it work? Who is it for? Break it all down for us.
Our goal is to provide everyone better education than the Ivy League universities of the world. And to do it for one, 100, the price. Now, how do we do this? Well, the way human education works is absolute bonkers. Education teaches us to be successful in a career. It’s an industrial age model that no longer works.
Today if you truly want to be human, your career is one of 12 different dimensions of you. The other dimensions are your emotional states, your relationships, your parenting, your body, your spirituality, your rate of learning. Your character. Mindvalley produces the leading program in the world in each of these categories and makes them available on an education platform. But we go one step bigger.
All great universities create community. Mindvalley is creating a global campus all around the world where our members come together to connect, to meet. Our members are typically people who have graduated from college. People who understand that learning doesn’t stop when you hit 23. It goes on every day of your life. As long as you have a pulse, as long as you want to change the world, you got to keep growing and learning.
I know you’re on a quest to make education better. Why is this so important to you?
I grew up in Malaysia, a developing country, but one of the worst education systems in the world, and my mother was a government school teacher. And I saw how hard my mom worked. My mom was the number one English teacher in the country. And I aspired to be like my mother, to be a teacher, because I could see that teachers were changing lives. It wasn’t their fault that the system was broken. But I knew that simply being a teacher alone would be really limiting. So I wanted to build a platform where hundreds of the best teachers could teach millions of people because as good as my mother was, even in her best years, she could mostly teach only up to the 80 students in her classroom.
Let’s talk about the teachers within Mindvalley. You call them authors. Tell us what they cover.
So our authors include people like Maye Musk, who is the mother of Tosca, Elon, and Kimbal Musk. And her program is for women over 40 and how to get back into the workforce and take charge of your career. We just signed Tal Ben-Shahar of Harvard University, who teaches a course on happiness. We have Srikumar Rao, who lectures at Columbia and Kellogg and London Business School. He’s one of the foremost MBA teachers in the world. And he brings in ancient wisdom into American business. We’ve signed people like Donna Eden, who produce programs on energy healing.
Other authors include Shefali Tsabary, who teaches conscious parenting. Katherine Woodward Thomas who teaches you love as well as what to do when love comes to an end. So our authors cover the entire spectrum of what it means to be human.
What’s the typical length of a class?
Our classes are organized in a really unique way. We call them quests because they’re inspired by computer games. A quest can be seven, 14, 21, or 28 days. Every day, you only are obligated to spend 20 minutes on the Mindvalley platform, but these 20 minutes stack up, and every day as you stack on these 20 minutes, you build new behaviors, new beliefs, new ideas, you shift as a human being.
In addition to everything we’ve discussed, you also have a book coming out. Tell us about your book and what people will learn.
The book is called The 6 Phase Meditation Method. And what I do is to bring together a six-step protocol that you do in the morning that sign says creates the most amazing results in how you show up in the day. It moves you towards your goals, and it only takes 15 to 20 minutes. It is a hyper -optimized mental protocol, so you live your best life.
From your vantage point, why do you think all of this is so important for entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs are like athletes. You are constantly in a race. Now, if you are an athlete, you don’t just train your body. You got to train your mind. You need to be an absolute master of yourself. Entrepreneurs forget that.
We hire hundreds of people to run our business, but we don’t have the right people looking at our lives. We don’t have the trainers, the wisdom to make sure our mental faculties are subconscious. Our beliefs about ourselves. Our health is optimized. So we have maximum energy, maximum confidence, and maximum cognitive ability. Entrepreneurs forget that. But when they embrace it, your ability to grow your business expands. Your business will only grow to the extent you grow.
Before we wrap up Vishen, what is one thing that we all can be doing right now to make our lives better?
One single thing that you can do is to develop a meditative practice, the ability to sit and go within. That one practice creates the biggest shifts in your life.