Sonam Wangchuk at Isha Insight 2022

To learn, you don’t need school and teachers. Sonam Wangchuk, Director, Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL), said what you need is what you get in nature while talking about the meaning of true entrepreneurship in an energizing session on day 2 of Isha Insight 2022.

The third day of the 11th edition of the Isha Leadership Academy’s flagship program – ‘Isha Insight: The DNA of Success’ – saw Wangchuk fly down from Afghanistan for the event at the Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore.

“Nature is the best software and it comes pre-loaded with a hardware and we call it curiosity,” said Wangchuk.

He also pointed out that ‘curiosity, empathy and initiative’ are the cornerstones of his rather unconventional education.

“More often than not, teachers delete this learning software or parents delete the joy of using this software and then spend time on why my child is not interested in learning and reading,” said Wangchuk , emphasizes laying the solid foundations of learning and education. since childhood.

Empathy is the second pillar that he swears by, even in his business. “Empathy is not only about being a good person, but what you do to help others and not harm others,” said the social entrepreneur, as he likes to call himself.

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Speaking of entrepreneurship, Wangchuk said, “Businesses come from a true drive to solve people’s problems. Then you don’t need to advertise because you are solving real problems. If your business is based on empathy, these are the businesses that would continue for generations without much artificial play.”

“Empathy alone will not do much without initiative. Initiative is what ultimately changes the world – go out and do what you feel in empathy and curiosity,” said Wangchuk, adding that these three pillars of life are never taught in our schools. Give an example from his life , Wangchuk said that if it was a broken doorknob or an unfair system in society, his father would go and stick his neck out.

While highlighting the holes in the current education system, Wangchuk said, “Only 5% of the population has their children in schools that are perhaps better than those in America. But 95% of our children study in schools worse than those in sub-Saharan African schools.

Wangchuk, who has worked for the last 30 years to bring about reforms in government schools in Ladakh, said, “Higher education in India is not the best. Be it in the cold mountain deserts of Ladakh in the hot deserts of Rajasthan, every student is studying the same curriculum as a ritual. We need deep reforms in higher education that allow them to solve environmental problems.”

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He said that establishing important alternative universities to build a strong generation of problem solvers.

Wangchuk believes that one needs to be a little “off” to become a good entrepreneur and not just make money by solving problems. Citing Gautama Buddha as an example of becoming an “entrepreneur with heart,” Wangchuk said, “It is a greater achievement to conquer one desire than to fulfill 1,000 desires. Modern economics explains the laws of diminishing returns when you buy your first pair of shoes and it feels great because your feet have bled before. Then you buy your second, third, fourth, 20th and 44th, but it doesn’t even touch you. So there is no public service”.

He says that modern economics ends here. “I add my twist to this law and tell entrepreneurs please earn money and also buy the 45th pair of shoes, but not for yourself. Buy it for someone who doesn’t have the first pair of shoes and you’ll be lucky in the modern economy”.

Sharing his philosophy on failure, the director of HIAL said, “We have built a school of failure, where the admission criteria, to begin with, is failure. Those who have scored too many marks may be on a waiting list, but failure will definitely be get the red carpet. And guess what, after a few years in this school, a student who failed five times in class 10 has done everything he has done and become the Minister of Education for the Ladakh Hill Council!”

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Day 2 of Isha Insight also saw speakers who grew businesses from scratch – Kunal Bahl, Co-founder, AceVector Group (Snapdeal, Unicommerce and Stellaro); Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, MD, CEO – Bandhan Bank and Gautam Saraogi, Founder, CEO – Go Colors.

Day 1 saw a scintillating session with Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) CEO Thampy Koshy and Sadhguru, Founder, Isha Foundation. The vision behind Isha Insight from Sadhguru: “Asking businesses to move to the next step without the necessary tools and knowledge is not fair. As part of providing them with these tools, we thought we would bring their minds the best in the field to offer practical knowledge on scaling. The Isha Insight program is essentially to help these businesses scale.”

Over the past decade, ‘Isha Insight: The DNA of Success’ has become one of the most sought-after business leadership programs in the world. Earlier, the program participants were mentored veterans like Ratan Tata, NR Narayana Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, GM Rao, KV Kamath, Ajay Piramal, Harsh Mariwala, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Bhavish Aggarwal, Pawan Goenka, among many others.

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