The Art of Living with Rajesh Setty

by | Jan 5, 2020 | INSPIRED EVOLUTION PODCAST | 0 comments

Our guest for this week is Rajesh Setty, entrepreneur, author, and teacher, based in Silicon Valley.

About Rajesh

Rajesh loves to bring ideas to life, whether it’s building startups, writing books or sharing his ideas on stage. He is the co-founder of multiple startups in both the United States and in India. For years, he’s been doing amazing work as a business coach and mentor while also being an award-winning teacher at The Founder Institute.

One of his latest projects is called ThinkBook, a series of books created to help people cultivate the habit of possibility thinking. The company was founded in 2019 and its unique design contains thinking, networking and gratitude lists. You can learn more about the product here!

Rajesh is also a renowned and incredibly productive author. He has written and published fifteen books so far with his first book being published when he was only 13 years old. Another testament to his love of writing is his blog which has nearly 2000 blog posts! His articles have been published in places such as Huffington Post and VentureBeat, to name a few.

One of Rajesh’s passion projects is called Napkinsights and we’ve also discussed in our conversation. It’s a collection of wonderful insights that can fit on the back of a paper napkin. He’s published over 2000 Napkinsights and you can check some of them out here!

Connect with Rajesh:


In This Episode We Canvas


  • When Is Failure Useful for Personal Growth?

There is a lot of talk about how failure is good for us. Numerous quotes and stories from celebrities and top-level athletes are a testament to the fact that in order to succeed we have to fail first so that we would learn how not to. But Rajesh adds to the conversation by making a key distinction between the type of failure that is useful to us and the other one which is only hurting us. In order for failure to truly be beneficial for personal growth, it needs to come with the dedication and not from lack of concentration or diminished motivation. We really have to be willing to give it a go.

“As long as you’re growing… failure is good. But if your failure is because you don’t want to try hard enough… it won’t help. The failure has to be on the edges of your comfort zone. Only then, it is growth.” – Rajesh Setty

  • The Greatest Competitive Advantage a Person Can Have

This section is one of the most profound dissections of how to build a successful life. With this next quote, all the while explaining each and every component meticulously, Rajesh provides us with a perspective that will guide our professional development and give exponential boosts to our growth. 

“It is your ability to give meaningful gifts, at scale, at a very low incremental cost to you.” – Rajesh Setty

  • How Helping Others Can Increase Your Art of Succeeding

Building on his previous statement, Rajesh continues to explain why his suggestion of the essential competitive advantage actually works. Once again the power of collaboration and teamwork comes to our attention, this time in the context of career development.

“When you truly give a meaningful gift, the giver feels like reciprocating back. Now, if you’re doing this at scale… that means they all want to reciprocate back to you. What does that mean? You will have an oversupply of good help. That is how you increase the Art of Succeeding.” – Rajesh Setty

  • Building Contextual Expertise for Conceptual Knowledge

Rajesh shares his thoughts on why it’s important to practice your skills in different situations. His viewpoint is that this is the best way to take your expertise to the next level, by learning to apply conceptual knowledge in all kinds of contexts quickly and effectively.

“As you build your contextual expertise for conceptual knowledge that you have, you become extremely powerful. Why? Because you become a ninja on patterns.” – Rajesh Setty

  • What Are ‘Napkinsights’ and How They Came to Be?

We briefly touch on one of Rajesh’s personal projects and he was kind enough to share a little bit about the behind-the-scenes stuff. He talks about how it all started, his goals and the feedback he got.

“Any insight that can fit in a paper napkin is called a Napkin Insight… I try to put an ‘A-ha’ moment or something that will give an ‘A-ha’ moment in a random place.” – Rajesh Setty  

  • How to Persevere When Developing a Skill

When learning a new skill whichever it may be, perseverance is essential because it is a process that requires periodical involvement, effort, and sacrifice. Giving up is always an option, one that we struggle with on our journey to train and improve ourselves. We usually give up because we lose motivation or we can’t deal with frustration but Rajesh proposes that there’s a mindset that can be attributed to lots of these scenarios. A mindset created from the fact we forgot how to be beginners. 

“Before you become a pro, you have to go through your phase as an amateur. If you don’t remember that – you’ll give up.” – Rajesh Setty

  • Attaining the Optionality Mindset

Using examples from the ancient game of Go, Rajesh encourages us to attain the optionality mindset. It is an approach to life that tends to reduce opportunities for anger, disappointment, and anxiety we feel when something doesn’t go the way it was planned. This next quote about the optionality of water is yet another gem from Rajesh’s teachings.

“Water is a good example of optionality… Once you create a mindset of optionality like water, you are never perturbed. Because when one door closes… If you keep focusing on the closed door, there’s no path forward. But if you say, ‘Ah, that door is closed, let me see what else is there… No doors are open, what about the window? What about the roof? What about the chimney?’” – Rajesh Setty

  • The Value of Being Vulnerable Towards the Outcome

From optionality, we dive deeper into the psychological aspect of the method. This is the emotional part of the equation that we need to learn in order to be able to understand there is always a path we can take.

“Only when you can be vulnerable and say, ‘I don’t know if it will work, but I will try it!’, you’ll be comfortable with success and failure. And automatically things happen and you learn by experience, rather than the hunt.” – Rajesh Setty

Rajesh’s Message of Inspired Evolution

What an amazing experience. I’m in awe of Rajesh’s wisdom and this has been such a blessing –  I could’ve talked to him for days! I hope this conversation inspires you as much as it inspired me. Rajesh shared some amazing stuff regarding personal and business growth, but it can all be best described by insightful snippets on the art of living. It would be impossible to sum up almost two hours of his wisdom in one sentence which is why we’ll leave you with this gem that came from the final sections of our episode:

“Be conscious of who is renting your mental space.” – Rajesh Setty