How I Went From Losing Everything To High-Powered Entrepreneur

Shiv Khera went from managing 1,000 people to washing cars in a bid to realise his dream.

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Shiv Khera went from managing 1,000 people to washing cars in a bid to realise his dream.


How I Went From Losing Everything To High-Powered Entrepreneur

Shiv Khera went from managing 1,000 people to washing cars in a bid to realise his dream.

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When the Government of India nationalised our family business, we literally lost everything and ended up on the street. I left India and went to Toronto.

From managing close to 1,000 people, I started life again by washing cars and then worked as a door-to-door salesman selling vacuum cleaners - until I got into selling life insurance, totally accidentally. I was failing miserably and was about to be fired.

One day I attended a program by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. There I realized that I was my own biggest problem. I also realized that problems are a sign of life. So long as we are alive, we shall have problems.

Nothing changed outside but something changed inside me (my attitude and the direction of my life changed). This realization was one of the turning points of my life.

Thereafter, I got into 3 businesses. I bought out a company in California. In 1984, I started the New Jersey operations with no clients and later sold my company with close to 500 clients.

When I saw how my own life changed personally, professionally and financially I realized that somebody had given direction to my life. It was my turn to give back to society. Hence, I started volunteering my time in Maximum Security Jails in the US.

Since then I have written several books to share everything I’ve learnt about the principles of success with others. The principles I outline below and in my book You Can Achieve More helped me to transform from failure to business success. They are simple, but not easy to implement. The best idea will not work unless we work the idea.

A winning attitude

A person with a positive attitude cannot be stopped. A person with a negative attitude cannot be helped. Life is an obstacle course and many a time we become our own biggest obstacles.

To Change Reality, One Needs to Change Mentality

During illness we seek an exceptional doctor, during construction we seek an exceptional engineer and during war we seek an exceptional general… What makes them exceptional? It is their attitude.

Attitude is more powerful than skills, academic qualifications, good looks, place of birth, connections and everything else put together. Whenever we speak well about a man, do we refer to his looks, clothes, face or academic qualifications? No. We refer to his attitude.

Imagine that you have four glasses. The first one is plastic, the second ceramic, the third steel and the fourth silver. If you fill apple juice in each one of them, would it taste different because of the containers? The answer is no. It is not the container that decides the taste, but what is inside each one of them.

Attitude is a habitual way of thinking and feeling. It is a viewpoint, a frame of mind, a thinking process and a way of looking at things. It is our standpoint, our approach to things or our reaction to situations in life.

The time is now

If we keep doing what we have been doing all our lives, we will keep getting the same results that we have been getting. If we want different results in life, we need to either do different things or do things differently.

Are you afraid of winning?

Winners are not afraid of losing, but losers are afraid of winning. Losers consciously want to win, but subconsciously they don’t believe they can. Since they don’t believe they can win, they start half-heartedly and end up losing anyway.

Then they justify it by saying, ‘I knew I couldn’t do it, but I gave it a shot’, converting their belief into a self-fulfilling prophecy. They sabotage their own success, because they are afraid of winning.


Education is what makes us do things differently. The objective of education is to bring transformation, not just awareness. When we are exposed to any information for the first time, it brings awareness. Awareness is knowledge—knowledge of ‘now I know’.

When we internalise the information to bring about a behavioural change, it results in transformation. Till then it is only information. Knowledge is information, understanding is comprehension, and wisdom is putting them into action.


Winners have will power; losers have won’t power. How come under the same set of circumstances some people break records, while others break themselves? The difference lies in our attitude. Success does not depend on our position, but on our disposition, which is our attitude. Success depends 10 per cent on what happens to us and 90 per cent on how we respond.


Success does not depend only upon special skills, formal education or superior intelligence. Success is neither a miracle nor a mystery. It is the natural outcome of consistently applying certain principles on an ongoing basis. The difference between success and failure lies in the degree of our commitment to seek and apply these principles.

Attitude is a Choice

A positive attitude does not mean that a person is blind to facts, nor does it mean that he has to agree with or accept everything in this world. It only means that he is a solution-focused person. It is the ability to see an opportunity in every problem. It is about persistence and determination, not discouragement and depression.

Become Solution-Focused, Not Problem-Focused

Many times in life, we discover new scenery, not because the landscape has changed, but because we are seeing it from a different perspective, and the difference is in our attitude. Attitude makes all the difference.

It’s good to fail

When people fail, it does not necessarily make them failures. This is because failing can often be treated as a detour, but never as a dead end. We might have failed, but that does not mean that we are failures. Therefore, the probability of failure should not stop us from striving for the possibility of success.

Shiv Khera is the author of You Can Achieve More, which is available now in paperback and ebook, priced at £12.99 and published by Bloomsbury. 

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How I Went From Losing Everything To High-Powered Entrepreneur

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