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Live Big: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Passion, Practicality, and Purpose

Live Big: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Passion, Practicality, and Purpose

by Ajit Nawalkha


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You have the power to accomplish goals, create an impact, and live the life you want.

The key to achieving what you set out for—in business and in life—doesn’t lie in perfectly executed strategy. The greatest tool you have is your own mindset—it determines your ability to adapt and persevere. And, like any other tool, you can employ it to your advantage.

While most aspiring entrepreneurs think the next business strategy will manifest the life they desire, successful entrepreneurs know it’s the emotional and mental “shifts” that will bring you closer to your goals.

No one is better equipped to explore these shifts than Ajit Nawalkha, cofounder of Mindvalley and one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and business coaches. In Live Big: A Guide to Passion, Practicality, and Purpose, Nawalkha shares 25 shifts—changes in your mental, physical, emotional, or even spiritual state—that will propel you on your road to success.

Through Nawalkha’s expertise, discover how this book will:

  • Bring you out of any funk or stagnant revenue cycle

  • Give you the emotional, spiritual, and mental power to fight the ups and downs of business

  • Show you ways to deal with everyday challenges, find comfort in them, and get past them in 20 minutes or less

  • Help you cope with ‘entrepreneurial anxiety’ and find purpose, passion, and bliss in your business

Live Big is the go-to guide for business owners and entrepreneurs who want to be in a state of flow and creativity, to ensure your passion is backed by purpose and practicality. With principles and foundational thinking habits that allow you to move from a place of defeat and anxiety to one of joy and contribution to humanity, this book will serve as a compass that you can pick up and find direction to keep moving forward in today’s world of entrepreneurship.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946885425
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 12/11/2018
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ajit Nawalkha builds businesses. After failing a startup, struggling through failed partnerships, and going from the ranks of an intern to a co-founder, he found business is lot more about emotional, spiritual, physical and mental resilience—and not as much about strategy. His passion is to help make world a better place. He insists entrepreneurs are going to do that. His endeavor is to empower you so you can be the change world needs.

Read an Excerpt


The Passion Conundrum

I would rather die of passion than of boredom.

— Vincent van Gogh

Follow your passion.

Do what feels good and you'll succeed.

Let your dreams be your guide and you'll find your purpose.

You've heard it all before and it feels like great advice. What's not to love? Living a life that reflects your passion and then turning that passion into profits — that's perfect, right?

Except that it's not. It's bad advice. At the very least, it's incomplete, especially for an entrepreneur. There are many reasons why and here's the biggest one: passions come and go; they never stay the same.

You travel to a new country and you're excited about the cuisine. You think to yourself, "I should open a restaurant that serves this food back home." You get home, do a little research, ask around, and realize there's a lot more to opening a restaurant than you thought. Suddenly, you're not excited about your restaurant idea anymore.

So, you let it go.

A couple of weeks later you happen to read an article about online selling. You get fired up again and you feel that adrenaline rush again. You tell your friends you're going to sell online in a big way. You start thinking about what you'd like to offer your soon-to-be customers. You might even make a list of ideas — but then, you can't make up your mind.

So, you let it go.

Now, you're at the point where you start to wonder, "What's going on?"

Here's the truth: passion is unpredictable. Passion is erratic, random, fickle.

You get caught up in it, in the moment, and it lights up your whole life. But often, over time, that fire fades. And then you get caught up in a new passion. Rinse and repeat. This isn't a bad thing if you know what's going on: your passion will not stand still. Your passion will grow and then diminish and grow again. Sometimes it will disappear. Feeling passionate about many different things, concepts, and ideas as you move through your life and business — that's not a curse; it's a gift. I learned this through personal experience.

I remember lying in bed staring at the ceiling for the fifth night in a row. I had just one thought and it repeated in my mind, over and over again. Why the heck did I want to let go of the best thing that ever happened to me? At the time, I was the CEO of a multimillion dollar company. It was a company driven by passion. It was rated as one of the best, most democratic places to work on the planet. I'd been dreaming about getting that job in that company for more than four years before I finally got my foot in the door. Now, I was heading the entire operation. I was at the top. This was supposed to be it. This was the thing that I would do for the rest of my life. It was what the boy from a gritty neighborhood in Jaipur, India, was meant to do with his life.

It made my parents proud. It made my friends proud. Heck, some of them even said I was the success story from our neighborhood. The one who'd "made it" out in the real world. This job was supposed to give me everything I wanted. It was supposed to be my deepest passion — except that it wasn't.

Despite being a hopelessly young, clueless soul at that time, I knew there was something else I needed to do. There was something I could sense in myself that was bigger than being CEO of an amazing company. This "something" felt fulfilling and faintly familiar. It hinted at who I could become. The passion that I once had to be part of this company — and by the way, I still think it's one of the best places to work in this world — had dramatically shifted. And that shift was incredibly annoying. I was about to piss away one of the best opportunities of my life and I knew there was no way around it.

Soon after I became CEO, I'd realized something that scared me. I'd found a new passion, and it was about contribution and innovation. This new passion started as a tiny flame that I'd managed to ignore, but it soon became a roaring fire. It drove me so far over the edge, I was starting to hurt the company I had sworn to protect and grow.

The force was strong. It overpowered me.

So, I quit the job. I let go of being CEO. I leaped into the unknown. This took some courage and it also took a certain amount of stupidity. I was so naïve then. I didn't fully understand what I was doing, but in the years to come, I would discover the truth — and it was the truth about passion. The sooner you know this truth, and the sooner you accept it, the easier it will be for you to sail smoothly through life.

The thing is, passion is like your daily meal plan. In the beginning, if you add all your favorite foods in the plan, you will love your meal. But as you have the same meal for the fourth day, the fifth day, and so on, you will start to get bored. The fact is, your meal plan needs to evolve, and so does your passion.

A new spice, a new flavor is needed that will make your meal a hearty one.

Understand this: the object of your passion will not stand still. It will change. Heck, if it doesn't, you'll end up bored and you don't want to be bored. You want to enjoy your life while living your passion, don't you? Your passion is the voice of your soul; it's in the way you express yourself. Embrace it in the light of how it shows up at any given moment.

Follow your passion but don't allow it to imprison you with fear. Don't get caught up in what your life will look like next week or even tomorrow. Don't worry if your feelings about your passion will change, because guess what? Those changes will happen. I guarantee it. So, what should you do instead?

Play with your passion.

Allow it to shift, grow, and contract.

See how it feels when you mess around with it.

Ignore it and see if it stays.

If it does, give it some extra love and watch how it grows.

Chase your passion. Just don't tie yourself to it.

Also, know that you are allowed to have more than one passion at a time and not all passions are made equal. My passion for cooking allows me to be creative. It's my way of meditating. It has nothing to do with my business. I have no intention of starting the world's best restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter. But my passion for writing — now that's different. I love writing. It gives me purpose. It satisfies my soul. It inspires me to create practical applications around it.

Know that your passion will sometimes knock you out.

It might bring you to your knees.

You might share it with the world and then realize nobody gives a shit.

But do it anyway.


The Utopian Purpose

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a place on the floor. It's to enjoy every step along the way.

— Wayne Dyer

What's our purpose? Why are we here? These would be tough questions to answer if we were trying to find a purpose for all of humanity. For example, if we were trying to answer existential questions such as, "Why do humans exist?"

But on a smaller scale, on an individual level — for me, for you — finding our purpose isn't just possible, it's imperative.

Let's take a journey together.

I want you to imagine paradise. A utopia. A perfect place. You can have everything here. Go ahead and picture it in your mind and feel it in your heart. Don't be afraid to imagine the details. What would this place be like? Who are the people who live there? What are their values and beliefs? What are the choices they make?

How about you? What would you be like in your utopia? How would you like to show up there? Don't try to rationalize. Don't use your head but instead use your heart. Feel your way into your utopia; see it in your mind.

When you do, you'll start to realize how much you love this place and how much you love your life in this place. Your utopia probably has no racial bias and no sexism. Everyone in your utopia is equal, everyone is loved. You might find yourself living fully, fearlessly. You might find yourself loving bravely. You might find yourself creating value for others.

Got that picture in your mind? Feel that in your heart? Guess what? That right there — that's your purpose. Your purpose is to create that utopia, the world you want to live in. Your purpose is to live your way into the truest, most alive version of yourself.

Now that I've said that, how does that feel for you? Does the idea of having this purpose to create your utopia liberate you? Does it motivate you?

Or does it make you feel anxious?

If it makes you feel anxious, you probably created your utopia from your head and not your heart. You created what you think is right. What is the right thing to say? What would people think about my purpose?

What will people think if I quit my high-profile job to write poetry?

What will my college friends think if I choose coaching executives over working on Wall Street?

What will my parents think if I don't join our family business but vlog my travels instead?

What will my partner think if I teach meditation to construction workers instead of working my soul-crushing job as an architect?

That's the kind of thinking that will kill your purpose.

My mother's favorite line is, "Log kya kahenge," which is Hindi for, "What will people think?" But you are not here in this world to design your life according to random thoughts and opinions of others. Your life is yours and this means it's about how you think and how you feel.

Here's the thing about purpose no one talks about:

You don't have to go big with it. You don't have to impress anyone with it. Your purpose doesn't have to be about saving the world or changing lives.

It's your purpose. You get to choose.

Your purpose. Your choice.

I once worked with a client at a one-day intensive coaching course. She's in the photography business. Part of the intensive was about getting clear about her purpose. When it came time to share, I asked, "What's your purpose? Why do you do what you do?" Her answer: my purpose is to create positive transformations in the world.

I'll admit, when I first heard that, it sounded great. It was clear that this client was operating from the heart. She cared about her customers and wanted to make a difference with her work, but something didn't feel right to me. We went a little deeper and it soon became clear. Her true purpose? To help her customers use a camera to capture beautiful moments in their lives.

That was it. And that was enough.

When you start thinking about your purpose in this life, it's tempting to come up with something epic. World-changing. All-encompassing.

You don't have to end world hunger. Or cure cancer. Or save endangered animals.

Your true purpose can be simple.

It could be about taking great pictures. It could be about living a life that is your own idea of freedom. It could be about enjoying all the luxury the world has to offer. It could be about living in a house by the beach and spending the rest of your days there with the one you love.

I have no grand purpose. My purpose is to Live Big, and to me, that means living as my true self, living with joy, creativity, inspiration, and contributing to a positive society. I want to love fully and serve passionately. I don't see problems in the world. I see only opportunities. Transformations. I don't see a world that needs fixing. I see a world that needs us living as our true selves.

We arrive on this planet as a blank canvas. Our true self at birth is beautiful, curious, selfless, loving. If we can just keep those qualities throughout our lives, we can indeed Live Big.

There's no grander purpose than that.

Purpose isn't about how big you go; it's about how real it feels. It's about being aligned. It's about what's true for you. And always know that it's not your job to save us all. Please, don't try to save us all.

Don't suck the joy out of living your purpose. If saving the world gives joy to you, go for it. More power to you. But don't do it just for us. First, do it for yourself.

Aspire to a purpose that is exciting. A little challenging. Very inspiring. You need something that makes you smile when you think about it, that lights you up. Know that you may never get to your purpose and know that getting to your purpose is never the point. Going for your purpose, pursuing your calling, showing up every day as the honest, true, full version of yourself. That's what we are aiming for.

More of that, and you're golden.

So, the only questions you need to ask when it comes to identifying your purpose are "What's true for me? What's the thing that's going to get me to leap out of bed every morning?" If you don't know the answer right now, that's okay.

Give yourself the space to find your purpose:

Live your purpose.

Create a meaningful life.

Take time to find what living big means to you. Whatever that is, it is perfectly perfect (except if it is illegal, or creates a mess for everyone else — then check if it's truly you because you probably just made up that shit).

I hope you can find your purpose. I know you will find your purpose — that beautiful, powerful light in you.

Your uniqueness. Your truth. That's what we need.

And that's enough.


The Matrix of Practicality

If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.

— W. Edwards Deming

Passion is your fuel.

Purpose is your destination.

Practicality is the map of the road.

When most entrepreneurs talk about their business, practicality rarely enters the conversation. This is a problem and it's a big one. Passion and purpose are important but practicality is the element that creates profits and prosperity.

Practicality allows you to support people.

Practicality builds systems and processes.

Practicality organizes and sparks growth.

When you create practicality in your business and when you adopt a practical mind-set, you'll clearly see the actions you need to take to hit your goals. Without practicality, no amount of passion is enough to carry you through to success as an entrepreneur. Without practicality, your purpose will remain out of reach because you will be unable to create what you are meant to create.

In an ideal world, all entrepreneurs would value practicality as much as passion and purpose, but that's not how it often goes down. Most businesses start with a ton of passion and purpose. It's pure grit. Hustle. Drive. Intention. Personal power. It's the nitro boost you see in those Fast and Furious movies. It gives you a big push. That big thrust that you need to get started.

Then it starts to wear off and there's nothing to fall back on.

When there is no practicality, you have nowhere to go but down. Your business will start to feel like a drag. You'll feel like you're doing the same thing again and again and again, and it's going to take a toll. You'll start to lose your steam. You'll start to wonder, "Why am I doing this? Why am I running this business?"

And you give up. Or you keep shifting your business's focus and in the process you lose time, money, and motivation.

I don't want you to end up like this.

I want you to think of your business as a whole new being. Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that you think of your business as your baby. Some entrepreneurial and success books suggest this. I think it's total BS. Thinking of your business as your baby will ultimately destroy you. There's way too much attachment involved. Your business is not your baby. It's your masterpiece. Your creation. And like many other great creations in the world, it outlives the creator.

In this context, think of a van Gogh painting, Jay Z's music, or Walt Disney's empire.

If you're ready to create your own masterpiece — and I know you are because you're reading this book — then you need to introduce practicality in your business. You need a pragmatic approach. You need to find a way to bring your ideas and your inspiration into the real world. You need systems and processes so your business can keep running with or without you.

Getting practical about your business involves three things: product, people, and processes. I call it the Matrix of Practicality:

1. People want your product. There is a need for your product in the market.

2. You can find and keep people that will serve your business best.

3. You can build processes and scale your business.

If you have all three, then there is practicality at play, which means that not only do you get to live with passion and purpose but you get to have a business that actually makes money and supports you and your family.

First, let's talk about product.

One of the keys to finding practicality in business is to find a unique market, or submarket, that has a strong need or want. If you don't have ideas for a practical product, look at the market you want to play in. Your market space can give you these ideas if you dig deep.

Here's a great example. When Dollar Shave Club came to the market with their razors, many people thought their subscription box model was a silly concept. As their name suggests, Dollar Shave Club offered low-cost monthly plans for razors, blades, and related grooming products like shave butter, moisturizers, and beard oils. They were going into competition with the likes of Gillette, which had advanced technology and was investing millions in creating a better razor. Moreover, Gillette for one was investing millions in marketing.


Excerpted from "Live Big"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Ajit Nawalkha.
Excerpted by permission of BenBella Books, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


How to Read This Book
Part 1: Meaning
1. The Passion Conundrum
2. The Utopian Purpose
3. The Matrix of Practicality
Part 2: Mojo
4. Happy First
5. This Is How You Die
6. Know Thyself
7. Flow, You Must
8. This Is Freedom
9. Death by Desire
10. ZFG
11. Don’t Burn Your Bridges
12. No
13. How to Become an Overnight Success
14. Intuitive Intelligence
Part 3: Magic
15. Home Team
16. . . . But Let Them Go
17. The Culture of Happiness
18. Leader of None
19. Balance the Force
20. People and their Problems
21. The Time Challenge
22. The Discipline of Progress
23. Value. Value. Value. Value. Value
24. Different
25. $
An Argument for Love
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“With Ajit Nawalkha’s expert guidance, you’ll tap into the magic ingredient that can help your organization sink or swim: your own outlook. Do not make the fatal flaw of thinking this sounds too simple to matter to you—it’s absolutely crucial. Ajit’s advising guidance has more than transformed my business; it’s transformed my mind-set. I am forever grateful.”

—Lisa Nichols, New York Times bestselling author and CEO of Motivating the Masses

Live Big is a beautiful manifesto to entrepreneurs, change makers, and professionals. Beautifully written, a powerful wake-up call for anybody who wants to take their life to the next level.”

—Vishen Lakhiani, founder and CEO of Mindvalley

“An unconventional approach for entrepreneurs to create a life on their terms. It’s packed with insights, reframes, and perspectives. A fresh approach, Ajit trusts the entrepreneur to know the ‘how-to’ and ‘tactical’ stuff. Live Big focuses on the key to business success: the person actually running the business.”

—Christine Hassler, master coach, international speaker, and bestselling author

“The more successful you become the greater the challenges you often face. Ajit is a secret guide to that paradox. He’s an entrepreneur who has built multimillion-dollar businesses and helped others to do the same. But he does it from the inside out. You see, if strategy and tactics were all that worked, you’d just read Richard Branson’s biography and become a billionaire. Instead, you need to go deeper—much deeper. If you want to Live Big , I highly recommend that you let Ajit be one of your guides.”

Rich Litvin, master coach and coauthor of The Prosperous Coach

“I have just started the book. I love it. I have this feeling that you are talking to me, but I would have never thought I was your audience. I feel excited and grateful . . . knowing that there is something that is just for me within these pages that I never thought to ask. I love the tone and am excited for the journey.”

Tiffany Persons, founder of Tiffany Casting Company and Shine on Sierra Leone

“Finally, a book that considers the entrepreneur and their personal emotional states. Live Big is a perspective and insightful guide, which in just few passages shifts the way you approach your business and life more powerfully.”

—Rajesh Setty, cofounder of Audvisor and author of Smart, but Stuck: When Being Brilliant is Not Good Enough

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