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Having multi-dimensional goals can lead to holistic success, says award-winning entrepreneur

Author and mentor Vivek Mansingh offers tips on how to become a better version of oneself

Author, entrepreneur and mentor Vivek Mansingh
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One of the first questions I am keen to ask Vivek Mansingh is about the title of his book which has intrigued me- Achieving Meaningful Success. Isn’t all success meaningful? I ask the author, as we sit down for an interview at the Taj hotel in Dubai recently where the entrepreneur and mentor was presenting a talk as chairman of the advisory board of iAccel Gulf Business Incubator.

The award-wining author and advisor, who has worked with such stalwarts as Steve Jobs, David Packard, Bill Hewlett and Michael Dell, smiles. ‘I was expecting that question,’ he says.

Several studies have been done with people who are seemingly successful. In one study done in the US, a clutch of retired S&P 500 CEOs were interviewed and asked if they consider themselves successful. Close to 70 per cent of them answered in the negative saying they wouldn’t consider themselves successful in a holistic way. ‘That’s the reason I use the term meaningful success,’ says Vivek. ‘Meaningful success is about achieving what is meaningful to you.’

For those who are yet to pick up the bestselling book that has been praised by such successful people as Ratan Tata, Narayan Murthy, Kiran Majumdar-Shaw and Sachin Tendulkar, among others, a little about the author.


A Stanford alumnus, Vivek is a venture capitalist, technology visionary and innovator, and the author of numerous technical papers and holder of six US patents. He was also on the team that Steve Jobs entrusted to develop the iMac without a fan– a task he is proud to have accomplished successfully. A poster of an iMac with a handwritten note from Jobs thanking Vivek and the team for making it happen, is a cherished possession of his.


Vivek has had stints at Cisco, where he was President of the Collaboration & Communications Group, and at Dell where he was Head of R&D. Listed in the National Who’s Who of the US in 2000, the Chanakya Innovative Leadership Award winner was named IT man of the Year in 2016 by Enterprise Connect, USA.

Clearly, he has tasted success. So, what is meaningful success? I ask him.

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‘It is when you achieve multi-dimensional goals in life,’ he says. Money and professional success are important, but they alone do not determine success, he makes it clear.

‘There are other dimensions to life. Relationships, health, recognition, giving back to society… Ultimately, you need to decide what those parameters are. It is only when you have multi-dimensional success goals and achieve them can you actually be satisfied and happy. That’s what I call meaningful success.’


Vivek’s definition of success itself is a departure from most regular definitions, and revolves quite literally around a wheel. ‘I call it a wheel of success because there are several spokes in the wheel each representing different goals,’ he says. ‘In my wheel of success there are 8 spokes including those representing financial, professional, recognition, relationship, spirituality, and giving back. To achieve meaningful success, I should find success in all of these areas.’

He admits that these goals can change over the course of one’s life. ‘But it’s important to have multi-dimensional goals to have holistic success.’

As part of giving back (a spoke of his success wheel), one of Vivek’s missions is to mentor people; over the years he has mentored thousands– from barely-educated carpenters to high school and college students, mid-career professionals and even CEOs. ‘My dream is to mentor one million people,’ he says. ‘But I realized that it would be a huge task to physically achieve that number. So I wrote this book which acts as a mentor of sorts.’

Those who have questions or desire to be mentored by him personally can contact him on his various social media platforms and can be assured of a reply from him or his team. For the record, all profits from the book go to an eye hospital at Chitrakoot in India where hundreds of eye surgeries are performed free of cost for those unable to afford it.


‘I believe everyone needs a mentor,’ says the self-admitted successful author, who at 67 years of age, still has mentors.


Everyone can do bigger and better things with the help of a mentor who could be your relative, neighbor, teacher, boss or even a well-known individual, like say, Narayan Murthy of Infosys, or Sachin Tendulkar, he believes. ‘And you can have different mentors in different areas of your life.’

Put simply, the role of a mentor is to define who you aspire to be. ‘The job of the mentor is help a mentee aspire big, capture those aspirations as goals, and make the mentee worthy of those aspirations.’

He recalls how his mother, his first mentor, used to encourage him to pursue science and earn a PhD. ‘I studied at a very small Hindi-medium school but she raised my aspirations to dream big and achieve my dreams,’ he says.

But can that not, on occasions, put severe pressure on youngsters?

‘Healthy pressure is important,’ he says, quickly agreeing that too much is bad. ‘Having basic capability but unreasonably high aspirations can be a problem.’


According to Vivek, a mentor can– and should be able to– assess your capability and help you aspire more than what you can ‘but not too much that you feel depressed’ in case you do not make it.

Teachers can be good mentors, he feels, because they know their students well.

For those struggling to find mentors, Vivek’s book offers several templates to choose from. Through them all, he makes it clear that a point of mentoring is to hone the mentee into becoming a better version of themselves.

And how does one become a better version of oneself? I ask Vivek, hinting that I’m querying for a friend.

‘Number one is passion. You have to be really obsessed with your goals and aspirations.’


The second is to cultivate the ability to think out of the box. ‘You can call it creativity, or innovation.’

Third is to develop excellence. The world rewards excellence. ‘Think of some of the more successful people in your family or neighbourhood or nationally and internationally. They are successful because they have achieved a certain level of excellence.’ He lists names such as Amitabh Bachchan and Virat Kohli. ‘We all have that ability but we don’t push ourselves. Of course, not everyone will become a Virat Kohli, but you can become the best version of yourself; that’s possible.’

Fourth is leadership. ‘Leadership is not just about leading a group of people. It’s also about leading yourself. So develop leadership abilities.’

I’m sure Vivek will be able to offer a few pointers on how to hone leadership abilities, so I ask him.

The award-winning leader does not disappoint: ‘In a nutshell, leaders have big vision. They think big and work towards realizing it.


‘Leaders recognisse areas or subjects that they lack knowledge in, and work hard to improve themselves in those areas. It could be certain skills or abilities, or information related to certain subjects.

‘Leaders also communicate well. Leaders win trust [of the people] and then through collaboration, produce results.’

I circle back to what qualities one should look for in a mentor.

According to Vivek, a mentor should be someone who ideally has travelled the path that you want to travel.

He illustrates this with an example: ‘See, if you want to learn tennis, you go to a tennis coach, right? You don’t go to a cricket coach. So, if you are an entrepreneur, you need to choose an entrepreneur you respect and admire. If you are a doctor, go to a doctor; a lawyer to a lawyer…’

An important point to bear in mind when choosing a mentor is to ensure they will be able to commit to you a certain amount of time and their effort. Also, they need to have the ability to connect with you and should be a person you can trust. This last one is important because many a time the advice the mentor gives you can be contradictory to what you think is right, and unless you trust that person, you might hesitate to follow the advice.

Vivek with some of the members of the iAccel Gulf Business Incubator
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What is iAccel Gulf Business Incubator
Dr. Vivek Mansingh was recently appointed Chairman of the Advisory Board of iAccel Gulf Business Incubator (iAccel GBI) in Dubai. Founded in UAE in 2023 under the Hamdan Incubation Program, iAccel Gulf Business Incubator offers a plethora of opportunities for startups from across the world. The company has a network of close to 300 angel investors, with five venture capital firms and 12 HNIs and family offices working with them.
iAccel GBI collaborates extensively with academia to foster an entrepreneurial and innovative culture among students in leading UAE universities, according to a release. Dedicated to fostering gender diversity in entrepreneurship, iAccel GBI will be introducing iThrive, a platform to offer 360-degree solutions to women-led startups.


Can plans and goals work in personal relationships, too? I ask. For instance, should one set goals in a marital relationship?

Yes, says the mentoring guru, then seeing me nonplussed explains.

‘For instance, I have set a goal to spend the weekend with my wife, or with my children or with my parents. Also, I have planned that I will spend at least half an hour on the phone with my mother every evening. What is the problem with that?’ he asks.

Vivek makes it clear that he has goals in every relationship. ‘When my dad was alive, I set a goal that I would be with him for a few days every month.’

Similarly, he has set goals to be with his children and grandchildren for a certain number of days every year. ‘We plan a get together in different places. One year it was South Africa, then Kenya, then Rajasthan… One needs to plan for this.’

At the start of every year, he creates goals for the entire year. ‘They could be fun goals, fitness goals, diet goals… Unless you set these goals and work towards them, they will not happen.’

He suggests goals any family can set, such as not eating before the television but with all members seated at the dinner table; a family picnic every month…

With the new year just starting off, this is perhaps just the time to set such small goals that could go a long way in bringing about a major change to our life.