I am a Leader of Tomorrow as per the Swiss Symposium. I have an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University. I did my undergraduate at the University of Western Ontario at the Richard Ivey School of Business. I’ve worked at Bell Canada, Top Hat, UPS Canada. I’ve advised Acerta Analytics, Textbooks for Change, Upbeet Foods, and many more Canadian companies. Currently, I advise at a leading business incubator in Canada for tech startups. I also volunteer in Outreach for NutritionFacts.org. I founded (now defunct) The Travelling Monk, a subscription box chronicling world cultures for families to explore with kids. Volunteer for 10+ years at BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
My vision is to empower 0.1% of humanity (7 million people) to live their best lives. There is tremendous technological, economical, environmental changes coming our way. I believe strongly that much like with healthcare, the proper way to deal with these challenges begins with the inner work of changing our beliefs, our actions, our attitudes, our minds, and our hearts.
This is why I write. This is why I speak. This is why I consult. My goal on this site is to share the best ideas I can gather to make this possible. I do not want these to just be intellectual ideas that don’t create change. I want to live them, and then write about it.
Won’t you be part of that vision?
For the long version…
It took a lifetime to understand what matters in my life, but the heart of it came to me in an instant in the dusty heat of an ashram in India, after I had flunked out of my first big job. A 90-year-old monk brought me home to myself, and here to you.
My life changed on 26 January 2001. A 7.7 Mw earthquake shook my hometown of Ahmedabad, India. In 2 minutes, over 13,000 lives became dust. Within a month, my parents got the opportunity to start afresh in Canada. Overnight, my father went from being a media professional to working in call centers and mall kiosks. My mother worked double shifts as a cashier. I remember she once walked home in -4 F or -20 C to save $2.50 on the bus ride. She almost got frostbite on her toes!
I was 11 and I was homesick in this new land which was so cold. Pushing aside these overwhelming feelings aside of guilt, loneliness, and inadequecy, I started working hard. I forced myself to enter debating competitions, and act in dramas to beat my “wallflower” reputation. I attended the University of Western Ontario, one of the oldest in the country. Political Sciences fascinated me, but I refocused on studying business. I eventually got into the renowned Richard Ivey School of Business, one of the best business schools in the country. I was in a rush to succeed, and I believed I could quickly conquer the corporate world. Alexander had conquered the world by his 20s. Why not me?
Climbing the Ladder
Foolishly, I was out of my depth. My classmates were groomed in prep schools their entire lives and their parents had buildings named after them across the world. I, on the other hand, was ashamed to keep cycling through the same three shirts in class. My view of the world was starkly different than theirs, and I was constantly reminded of how different I was. Instead of embracing my uniqueness, I started questioning it. I graduated with distinction, but lost myself in the chase.
Upon graduation, I started at Bell, a top three telecom in Canada, in their new graduate program. My performance reviews exceeded expectations. I was quickly noticed by senior executives, and on track to being a Director in just 2-3 years. I had finally made it, despite the road-bumps! But, why did it leave me so empty inside? My delusions of grandeur hadn’t amounted to anything. 10 years of struggle to prove my worth, but I was no closer to finding it.
I was caught in a whirlwind of confusion. So, I did the only sensible thing possible: I left my job and went to live in an ashram in India in 2012.
The Ladder Breaks!
“In the joy of others lies our own” was the head monk Pramukh Swamiji’s motto. His work had touched millions of lives through hospitals, schools, relief work, and personal guidance he had given to the simplest villager and the likes of President Abdul Kalam and Bill Clinton. Yet, he did not claim credit for this work, which mystified me.
Over many months, he taught me. Through service and meditation, I glimpsed my true self as being sat-chit-ᾶnand: filled with consciousness, truth, and bliss—an eternal being here to grow, learn, and contribute. My life’s work was meant to be a gift and of service to others. Somehow, in the process of trying to “prove myself” to the world, I had forgotten that. No wonder I felt so disconnected. He reminded me of this truth. I had to bring this to my life, and make my life about serving others.
“In the Joy of Others Lies Our Own”- Pramukh Swamiji
I also met many others at this ashram. They were engineers, doctors, and lawyers. They were Harvard and Oxford grads. And yet, so many of these outwardly successful people had given it all up to take up the monastic order. Their stories helped me appreciate the meaning of a well-lived life. They became monks to be of service to a higher spiritual order and it became clear that I would not find satisfaction either unless I centered my career on serving others.
There and Back Again
Many others felt disconnected from their work and lives back home. I wanted them to experience this different story. I spent the rest of 2012 and most of 2013 working on a 200-page play. We took this story to young people worldwide. Our last show happened in August 2013 in Atlanta where we performed in front of an international audience of over 3,300. I was the lead actor.
The story deeply affected the thousands who saw it. Many resolved to change their lives and careers to be of greater service to others. I learned that a powerful story can change lives.
In 2014, I started at UPS. I made logistics accessible to my clients—large enterprises and start-ups—and brought in millions, exceeding my sales plan in the process. When a medical device company needed to safely deliver medical equipment to a woman’s clinic in Afghanistan threatened by the Taliban, I was brought in to make it happen. My insecurity and fear had left me as I worked with CEOs in the boardroom and warehouse workers. I learned to build global teams, solve complex global supply chain problems, but mostly importantly, I learned to serve others in business by getting out of my own way. This is when I started advising start-ups such as Acerta Analytics, which brings deep analytics expertise to the automotive industry, helping sell its technology to a major automotive company. I taught engineers how to reach global markets.
Finding A Purpose
Fate struck when my grandfather suffered a severe heart attack. He had dragged me out during the 2001 earthquake. Searching for answers, I pored over hundreds of medical journals. I learned that most of our chronic diseases are progressions of poor lifestyles. Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center, wrote passionately that we could eliminate more than half of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancer cases through our feet (exercise), forks (nutrition), and fingers (not smoking). Sure enough, from talking with researchers and reading journals, I learned he was right.
But with only 25% of American medical schools providing instruction in this topic, amounting to less than 20 hours, I knew I had to use my gifts to affect change. Doctors weren’t going to make a difference. Nutritionists fare no better. Their certifying body is heavily sponsored by big food industries. I learned that General Mills and Coca Cola actually goes in and teaches nutritionists about what they should preach to their clients. This is sickening!
The latest State of US Health report shows that more Americans are dying and disabled than ever before. Yet, the vast majority of the risk factors for chronic diseases can be reduced through simple lifestyle changes. In my work with New York Times bestselling author on evidence-based medicine, Dr. Michael Greger, I’ve learned that 90% of the risk for the deadliest chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and diabetes are related to what we eat and how we move. Most just don’t know any better.
For millions, the story of health is sponsored by the big food and pharmaceutical industries. Most people believe that we are helpless victims to the claws of chronic disease. Media personalities tout fad diets and magical supplements as the secret to health. Our media has fractured our identities and our health with such mixed messages. People have become passive towards preventative care for chronic disease at massive cost.
In 2016, I found an outlet for this work with Dr. Michael Greger’s team at NutritionFacts.org, a non-profit making medical insights accessible to citizens. I created my own role in the organization, and have began leading a team to bring evidence-based insights to help people reclaim their health. Our work reaches over 1 million people monthly.
Since then, my purpose has changed. My vision is to empower 0.1% of humanity (7 million people) to live their best lives. There is tremendous technological, economical, environmental changes coming our way. I believe strongly that much like with healthcare, the proper way to deal with these challenges begins with the inner work of changing our beliefs, our actions, our attitudes, our minds, and our hearts.
This is why I write. This is why I speak. You can learn more my speaking services here. My goal on this site is to share the best ideas I can gather to make this possible. I do not want these to just be intellectual ideas that don’t create change. I want to live them, and then write about it.
Won’t you be part of that vision?
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