Gurbaksh Chahal is a man of remarkable fate. One of the youngest millionaires in the digital industry, over the years he founded four companies, each of them more successful than its predecessor. However, it was not a path strewn with rose petals, and he learned some very important lessons along the way.
These days Gurbaksh also enjoys a career of motivational speaker, and he’s willing to share his experience with younger entrepreneurs who look up to him as their role model.
“A few years ago one of my students asked me what I’d have done differently if I could turn back the time. Well, they say hindsight is 20/20. There are many lessons I have learned – such is the purpose of life lived, right? We live, so we can learn and do it better next time”, says Gurbaksh Chahal.
Looking back, there are two things Gurbaksh says that he probably would have handled differently.
Gurbaksh remembers being a young 16 year old entrepreneur, who was naïve and trusted people.
“When I was starting, my mentality was similar to other growing teenagers, who have been taught to trust. There is nothing quite as disappointing as when you make mistakes and trust the wrong people in your professional or personal life. I wish I had known that there are people who take advantage of your success”, says Gurbaksh Chahal.
What he would have done different?
“Well, I would have been more guarded about whom I allowed in my inner circle. Many business people and people of experience with life will tell you that greed brings the worst out of people. I wish I had known that much earlier in life. Experience is a valuable teacher they say. I have learned to be careful whom I chose as my friends.”
Now, his inner circle has his back, and he has theirs.
At the same time, while his earlier experience of learning whom to trust was bitter, he has not lost his willingness to take a chance in finding good in the world.
Handling spotlight was the second thing Gurbaksh regrets not having learned in time.
“I had no experience at the age of 16 how to be an entrepreneur’, he explains. Yet, he became a very successful one.
“This led me into the public spotlight for many years. When you are in the media limelight, everyone wants a piece of you. I have learned there are people in this world who are generally envious of other’s success. I’ve also discovered that the more successful you are, the more you have to watch your back. I think I even saw a T-shirt that suits the analogy well, ‘for every back, there is a knife.’”
At the end of the day, what matters most is how we value ourselves to be able to hold our head high and live the life in a way that makes our family the most proud, says Gurbaksh Chahal.
“When I see the proud look in the eyes of mom and dad, honestly, there is no better feeling than that”.
The career of Gurbaksh remains an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs of our time. With digital industry evolving, we see many young people reaching success in their early 20s or even earlier. It is a controversial age that combines great hopes and promise, but sometimes lacks experience that is crucial to avoid mistakes.
Don’t put your trust in the wrong people, warns Gurbaksh. and don’t turn off good people – know the difference between being proud of your achievement and being conceited. Life is a long journey, and you should be careful in choosing the people that will walk it with you.
Self-assurance is an invaluable trait for an entrepreneur, but so is a reasonable degree of doubt. Find your balance and don’t be afraid to dare. Invent, explore, try new waters and open doors. Be yourself, and the world will be your oyster.
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Read more blogs by Gurbaksh Chahal.
Watch Gurbaksh Chahal Interview with Oprah Winfrey.