Vishen Lakhiani is a Malaysian entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker of Indian descent. He is the founder and CEO of Mindvalley and the author of two books: The Code of the Extraordinary Mind and The Buddha and the Badass. He is revolutionizing the personal transformation sector with a focus on helping everyone reach their full potential.
Lakhiani was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, although he has his roots back in India. He described himself as “an awkward kid with poor eyesight, bad skin and Aspergers.”
His schooling experience was below average and has played an instrumental role in shaping one of his most extensive missions to date: to evolve the education system and create a new system that enables people to become their best version. Lakhiani said, “in the Malaysian schooling system there was no space for creativity or thinking outside the box.”
Lakhiani then moved to the US to study Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan. After graduation, he was offered an internship by Microsoft, which he readily accepted but soon realized that he dreaded his job. He tried his luck working different roles, including working at a non-profit but to no avail.
Lakhiani recalled, “At 24, broke from working for a non-profit, I decided to move to Silicon Valley and try my hand at being an entrepreneur. My timing, in a word, sucked. The dot-com bubble burst soon after, and I lost everything. I was renting a couch from a college kid for $100 a month and driving a car with faulty brakes. Finally, due to some luck, I got a job. It was a sink-or-swim job with no basic pay; I had to earn commissions if I would eat, pay my bills, and survive.”
He was barely keeping his head above water. One night, feeling like a failure and loathing himself, he got on Google and searched for hope and chanced upon a meditation class.
As he started spending more time meditating, he unlocked a unique potential of his mind. He became the top performer at his work, and his sales figures skyrocketed. He even got promoted three times in four months, eventually becoming Director of Sales.
While dumbstruck at his success, he decided to teach his newfound wisdom and become a meditation instructor. He said, “This decision would ultimately change everything for me – and even led to me creating my form of meditation, known as the 6 Phase Meditation (which I made accessible to the world).”
In 2004, Lakhiani registered a little website to sell meditation CDs called Mindvalley. However, the company was barely successful – just a small company building websites for various authors in personal transformation. He worked on several other startups with more promise than a small meditation site in his spare time. But he never gained any fulfilment from this.
The calling of personal growth kept tugging at him, but he would not budge. “You can’t change the world teaching personal growth, I told myself,” Lakhiani said.
Between 2010 and 2013, everything he was working on started collapsing, except his transformation ventures. In 2010, he began A-Fest, a transformational festival. He recalled, “An investor called it ‘The stupidest idea I’ve ever heard”.
Simultaneously he started a tech company that secured a $2M investment from Intel Capital Ventures. Two years down the road, the tech venture was failing while A-Fest, the ‘stupid idea’ was blooming. Soon he found his ventures collapsing like pieces of dominos. But the only thing that succeeded was personal transformation ventures. So he decided to make that his focus.
From 2011 he focused his attention solely on Mindvalley and merged A-Fest with the company to organize live events. After a lot of hard work and struggle, by May 2016, he started seeing things take a turn for the best. He published his first book that instantly became a best-seller.
By July 2018, 200,000 students had enrolled for Mindvalley’s online courses. The company started gaining traction, and people were passionate about receiving messages every day about new classes and testimonies of lives that they had previously touched.
In a period of just two years, the company transformed and grew beyond expectation. Mindvalley became one of the leading brands in human transformation. Today, the company is aiming to create the world’s most influential education movement on the planet. And in the process, make the significant rise in consciousness our species has ever experienced.
Lakhiani’s favourite aspect about the company, he says, “has got to be the real-world events: where all of Mindvalley’s best people and wisdom come together to push ourselves and humanity forward. That, and I love costume parties.” he added with a playful smile.
In conclusion, he said, “I intend to do my part in bringing humanity together in this way. This is why I speak up against divisive ideas and policies in the public sphere. I make diversity an integral part of Mindvalley’s employment policy.” The company is truly transforming lives beyond belief, and we have Vishen Lakhiani to thank for all of it.