Interviews Vijay Eswaran

Published on March 23rd, 2018 | by Chad T.


Vijay Eswaran – Author & Founder, QI Group

Vijay Eswaran is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. Vijay is the founder and Executive Chairman of the QI Group, an Asian conglomerate with a global footprint. Vijay has written several best-selling books and is also regularly invited to speak at international forums on business, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Committed to his personal values, Vijay also dedicates up to 10% of his company’s profits towards philanthropy and has established a company wide vegetarian ethical policy.

What is the one practice you follow every single day that helps you be more effective?

For more than 25 years now, I have been practicing an hour of silence each day. It’s not meditation. It is an hour that I call it the Sphere of Silence. I find that practicing the Sphere of Silence is the ultimate weapon against the assault on our senses and the insanity that prevails around us today.

I divide the hour into several parts dedicated to taking proactive action on various aspects of your life such as goal setting, self-reflection and analysis, reading, and even a time to commune with a higher power if you believe in one. All of this in complete silence.  The way I see it, you give yourself an hour of silence each day to take back control of the remaining 23.

What is your favorite type of food?

As a lifelong vegetarian who travels extensively, I enjoy trying out vegetarian dishes from different countries and cultures.  You will be surprised at some uniquely delicious vegetarian dishes I have discovered in places filled with meat eaters.  As long as the food is vegetarian, sourced ethically and made well, I enjoy it.

What is a typical day for you like?

In my life, there is no such thing as a typical day. Our business is global with offices all over the world. In addition to that, I am often attending events and forums to which I have been invited. Wherever I am, I make sure to practice my hour of silence, usually at the start of the day. I spend a lot of time meeting and talking to people, either on the phone or in person. While I try my best not to actively get involved in the day to day decision making process, I do provide guidance and mentoring where needed to my leadership team. People reach out to me from all over the world via text or WhatsApp messaging, or social media like Twitter and I strive to respond to all of them.

Depending on which day it is and which country we are in, my wife and I have Yoga practice led by an experienced practitioner. One standard ritual I have maintained for years is my reading habit. Before I go to bed each night, I need to read a book even if it is for just a few minutes. It allows me to decompress.

Can you describe your work process and thinking behind it?

I use the 3 Ps formula — Plan, Prepare, Project.

Planning is a mental process and I use my time in the Sphere of Silence for it. I begin the process of determining what I need and don’t need and zone in on the actual goal.

Preparation is exactly what it suggests. Information is power. I make sure I do my research, get all the background information and data points I need and arm myself with everything that could be helpful to the work I am doing. This preparation process is critical because it is the bedrock of the actual work you do, and is essential for any CEO.

Projection is the stage just before I begin the actual implementation. This is when I lock into deliverables, deadlines, the resources and costs involved. This is also where I prepare myself for the worst-case scenarios, should there be any.

What are the books that have influenced or shaped your thinking?

Two books that I model my business philosophies on are Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Chanakya’s Arthashastra. The first is an ancient Chinese military treatise written by a military strategist, and the second is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy written in the 4th century BC by a diplomat-scholar.

Both these tomes may be centuries old, but the lessons in them are relevant even today and widely studied by business students. One taught me how to embrace the enemy and keep them close, and the other taught me that even an enemy is a friend. Both lessons have served me well through the years!

Vijay Eswaran



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