May 12, 2022
[00:01:55] Podcast Sponsors
[00:03:44] Guest Introduction
[00:06:28] More about Naveen's children
[00:13:40] Why Naveen Jain brought his children on business trips when they were young
[00:22:20] Integrating real-world lessons into a child's education
[00:26:47] Podcast Sponsors
[00:31:02] Rites of passage and progressing into adulthood
[00:38:36] Reconciling differences of opinion with the other parent
[00:40:08] Naveen's view on spending one-on-one time with the children
[00:45:52] How Naveen engaged in self-care while raising a family and building several successful businesses
[00:48:59] The importance of waking up with a purpose in your life
[00:52:05] What Naveen would do differently as a parent if he could do it again
[00:53:58] How Naveen Jain would like to be remembered by his children and his wife as a parent
[00:55:37] Naveen's advice for parents
[00:58:26] What parenting message Naveen would put on a billboard
[01:00:28] Upcoming Events
[01:03:06] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Naveen: It's not about taking your children to the water and making them drink, it is about creating a thirst so they will find their water and they will drink. And, the thirst comes from creating that intellectual curiosity.
I always told them that their success will never be measured by how much money they have in the bank, but their success will always be measured by how many lives they improved.
Every moment we found, we didn't teach them about life, and that's where the education comes from.
Ben: Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
So, the podcast that you're about to hear was recorded as a part of my upcoming “Boundless Parenting” book, which you can find by the way at BoundlessParenting.com. BoundlessParenting.com is where the book resides. And, my guest on today's show is Naveen Jain. I'm interviewing a host of amazing parents for this book. And, what this dude has done with his children who are already world-changing children in their own right is absolutely amazing. So, Naveen's been on the show before, but we haven't taken a deep dive into the special insider techniques that he used with his kids to really create extremely purposeful and impactful children. So, I really think you're going to dig this one new side of Naveen that you may not have seen before. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NaveenJain, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/N-A-V-E-E-N-J-A-I-N. That's where all the show notes are.
And, you can also check out the new book or at least get signed up to know when the new book is about to come out if you go to BoundlessParentingBook.com.
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Alright, folks. Well, I'm excited because not only am I on a beautiful walk in my backyard here in Spokane, but I'm talking to a dear friend of mine who I've known for quite some time who's actually been on the podcast before. Well, I imagine you've probably heard me talk with this individual about health, and biohacking, and the microbiome, and all the fantastic philanthropy, and entrepreneurial work that he's committed his life to. Today, what we really want to talk about for you was family and parenting. See, I'm working on a new book about parenting and I'm looking at all these individuals who I know who have produced amazing and impactful children who preferably have not yet wound up in prison and people who seem to really be good present parents who are impactful for their children but impactful for the world simultaneously.
And, as a part of this book project, I've got some questions that I'm asking these individuals, these amazing parents. And, my guest on today's podcast is one of those people. His name is Naveen Jain. Naveen is an entrepreneur. He's a philanthropist. He has been a guy who has helped to found a variety of companies from Viome to Moon Express, the World Innovation Institute, TalentWise, Intellius, Infospace. He's just this intensely curious entrepreneur with a real love for life and a real passion, very well-spoken with just an amazing audacious vision, and important and relevant to this podcast today. His entire family is an entrepreneurial family. He and his wife, Anu, have the Naveen and Anu Jain Family Foundation to empower girls and wisdom and focus on health and wellness, and educating youth, and promoting entrepreneurship. And, they, of course, also have these amazing children who Naveen, I'm sure, is going to be able to tell you about on today's show.
All the shownotes for everything that you hear, Naveen and I talk about today, you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NaveenJain, N-A-V-E-E-N-J-A-I-N, and at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NaveenJain. I'll also link to previous podcasts I've done with Naveen about Viome and the Microbiome and some of his other work.
So, Naveen, welcome back to the show, man.
Naveen: It's so good to hear your voice. And, I think you are a role model for so many of us out there. And, I know, I salute you for what all the great work you do.
Ben: Oh, geez. Well, thanks, man. The feeling is mutual.
And, I would love to just give you an opportunity a little humble brag moment to fill us in on your family, on your kids. You've told me some stories about your kids and what they do and how even when they were young you used to bring them to conferences with you and make them a part of your business. But now, I want to hear from you. Tell me about your kids.
Naveen: So, first of all, I mean, any one of us, you look at our life and we see what is the biggest accomplishment we have in our life. And, whenever I reflect on my life, I always look back and think my biggest source of happiness actually comes from our children. And, there is no bigger source of happiness that I get watching them really becoming a productive citizen of the society, really doing things not only what they enjoy, but really contributing back to the humanity. And, a lot of the times I think about and say, every one of us always sometimes focuses on leaving the better world for our children. And, we all want to do that, but I really think that's not sufficient. I really think we also need to focus on leaving the better children for our world because they are the one who are going to be stewards of the thing that we leave behind.
So, I think from that perspective, we have three children and my oldest is Ankur, he's third unicorn right now. But, before we focus on the money part, let me just give you. So, he is actually focused on affordability. And, his whole theme is around how does the middle class that is becoming larger and larger in our country, how are they going to be able to afford to live a good life like we did as parents? So, he's focused on providing an affordable apartment, affordable housing to be able to do things that middle class never imagined they could do.
Our daughter whether he went to Wharton School of Business undergrad, and I just said this is the third company that he started. Our daughter went to Stanford and she's a Stanford STEM fellow, Stanford Mayfield Fellow. And, the first company she worked was on removing the gender bias from hiring using machine learning and AI. And, she recently about a year ago started a women's health company. And, again, focusing on women's health because she felt that is 50% of her population is actually not being addressed until recently the women weren't even allowed to participate in the clinical research because all the people were doing the clinical research thought women have made too many things that change about them, their hormones and stuff, they're just not a good subject. And–
Ben: Oh, yeah, yeah. And, by the way, I've mentioned that fact before on shows that I've done about we hear, “Oh, fast for 12 to 16 hours a day, or take x grams of protein, or certain types of medicines and supplements,” and then you look at the research and some people think that it's relevant to all humankind when in fact the research is mostly done on males, male humans, if you're lucky, male rodents sometimes, but rarely females.
Naveen: And so, she decided that that's what she's going to dedicate her life to. And, she started this company called Evvy, E-V-V-Y. And, the whole idea is really looking at the vaginal microbiome, understanding the female body, and actually be able to come up with the recommendations that matter to them, not just general population. Because so far, the women have been considered a small man. And, you and I both know they are not a small man, they are, hate to say it.
Naveen: In some extent, a completely different species [00:10:16] _____.
Ben: No, no, no, no, you're wrong. You're wrong. Haven't you seen the pregnant man emoji, Naveen? We're all the same.
Naveen: Yeah. And then, we have a youngest son who actually also went to Stanford and he became a Schwarzman scholar. As a Schwarzman scholar, he focuses now primarily on, again, the middle-class people, who own our home, how do they make their lives simpler as they started to look at their mortgage payments and things like that? So, again, every one of them is focused on solving a problem that can improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people, if not billions of people around the world. And, to me that is fundamentally how we need to define our success and I think as you and I have talked in the past, when our kids were young, I always told them that their success will never be measured by how much money they have in the bank but their success will always be measured by how many lives they improved. If that is the kind of measure we use for our children, I think we all can actually look at our children and see how successful they have become irrespective of what they are doing. Are they contributing for the betterment of the society or not? How many lives are they able to improve?
And, I think, Ben, again, not to make you blush, but I have seen you as one of our greatest parents. The people outside look at you this fitness geek who does everything, but you are a family man. At the end of the day, you are a family man, you involve your family into everything. You do the workout with your kids. And, I, in fact, recorded a video with you playing for your children before night. You were singing the song, you're playing–
Naveen: And, to me, that is a great part of your kids feeling that their dad actually is human being that matters. And, I think as we go along, I will give you more examples I think that you and I share about. I've always taught our children about that our love for you is unconditional, but our approval is not. And, what I mean by that is really simple, they never have to ever question, “Do we love them?” There is not a time we will not love them and we'll do anything for them. But, I'm not going to tell them I'm proud of them until they do things that make us proud. And, that is really the very interesting part is even though your children when they're young and you tell them what makes you proud of them, they may say, “Whatever dad,” “Whatever mom,” but guess what, every child lives their life to make their parents proud. And, all we have to do is let them know what makes us proud of them and they will actually deliver that. And, all we said was, “I'll be very proud of you if you live your life that will improve the life of everyone around you in the community, in the society, in the world.” That means do the things that are for the betterment of humanity. And, that's what they did.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
And, in addition to that unique aspect of training them up to have this mentality of success not being about money but about the lives touched, I know that there are other things that you did that were kind of unique as a part of your parenting approach. One, that I should get out of the way right off the bat because I remember you telling me about this and I wanted to bring it back up was you talked about how you traveled with your kids, specifically you brought them to conferences with you to kind of see dad in action. Tell me about that.
Naveen: So, I think I'm going to get to this in a second. The second part in terms of parenting that I really feel that's really important that I want everyone to know, we need to create what I would say inherent curiosity in our children. And, that is the theme that you're going to hear from me a lot of the times that it's not about taking your children to the water and making them drink, it is about creating a thirst so they will find their water and they will drink, and the thirst comes from creating that intellectual curiosity. Because once you make the children curious, they never stop learning, they will always be finding things why not this way, what if this could be done, imagine if this is what we could do. Once you do that, they will constantly push their things forward, they'll constantly push the boundaries of what is possible forward. And, that is the big thing that we did. And, the way you create curiosity is every time they say it can't be done, you sit them down and say imagine what if this could be done, what would the world look like, and have them imagine that.
And, I still remember when they were young instead of reading them stories, and this is something I found that really fascinating, instead of reading them stories, we will create stories and I would give them things, I say, “I want you to tell me a story about a stone, an ocean, and a leaf, and a monkey.” And, because these things are completely disconnected but I wanted them to start creating a thing that connects everything that's out there. That means every dot, every dot can be connected if you think creatively. And, I wanted them to start thinking like that.
Ben: I love that.
Naveen: And, they will give me the toughest thing. “Okay, dad. Now, your turn. I want you to tell me a story about a glass, and a plastic, and this and that.”
Naveen: And, I'm like, “Oh, okay.” And, that was our bonding. But, creating that kind of thing that everything in the world is interconnected. So, you look at them as a completely separate disparate things but they all can be connected together in a coherent story.
Now, coming back to the point that you asked about in terms of taking our kids, to me, it was a really big deal, it's not about conferences. I took them to office when they were 10 years old. I would take them to the analyst meeting. I would take them to the dinners with the top CEOs. And, very rarely, I only remember once, there was one CEO tell me, “Oh, I thought we're going to have a professional meeting, didn't realize it was a social meeting.” And, I said, “I'm sorry, you must have misunderstood me, I'm having dinner with my son. And, if you seem to have a problem, you can have a dinner by yourself and we can have [00:17:00] _____.” And, interestingly what he learned through that was amazing because now he was able to see how adults interact, how dad gets frustrated when things are not going his way, how does he react to all that. And, guess what, by the time he turned 11 or 12, he was able to build a company called Anybody in the World and say, “I want to do this business deal and these are my terms” because he has seen me work like that.
So, my point was don't be afraid to bring your children into your professional life. Don't worry about what others are going to think of them. In fact, I challenge our people, my executive team, I said, “I don't see your kids here, what is the problem?”
Ben: Oh, wow.
Naveen: Aren't you proud of them? Aren't they proud of you? Or, aren't you proud of yourself that you want your kids to see what you're doing?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, I think that that's something that a lot of people think is odd especially a lot of parents think that they're going to be singled out, or they might lose their job, or they might have a child who's bugging other people at work. But, I tell you what, that idea of just unashamedly bringing a child to work with you and letting hem shadow you, I mean, I don't know what you think about this Naveen. I'd love to hear your take on this. But, prior to formal education, a lot of a child's relationship with their parent and relationship with their potential vocation was cemented by them actually accompanying usually the son with his father or the daughter with her mother to their work or where they were actually creating their career. And, it was a very experiential-based education in a career-based environment for a young person.
Naveen: I absolutely agree with you. I mean, other thing that I want people to be clear about that is even though you bring them to your profession, you want them to be exposed to everything else or else, they will actually end up just following what you do because they have not been exposed to anything else. And, that's the reason the kids of the lawyer become lawyer, and the kids of the doctor become doctor, and the kids of fitness person become fitness geek. But, what we did was very interesting, Ben, and this is a story actually I wrote in Inc. Magazine about a column. And, I'm going to give you the story about it.
And, the story title was “An Entrepreneur versus His Eye-Rolling Teenage Daughter.” And, this was the actual conversation I had with my daughter when she was about 16 or so. She came to me one day and said, “Dad, I know you love science and technology. I have found my passion and I want nothing to do with science and technology.” And, I looked at her as opposed to saying, “Oh, my god, I'm so glad you found your passion and let me help you,” I said, “Sweetie, you're too young to have a passion. Dad has not done his job of exposing you to everything else yet because until you know what you don't know, how can you tell me you don't like it?” And, she said, “Dad, I don't understand what you mean by that. I'm in high school, I see everything and I have no interest in physics and chemistry and all this thing that makes any sense to me.”
Ben: Sure. So, the wisdom of a high schooler.
Naveen: Wisdom of a high schooler. And then, I see it, “Sweetie, you need to go understand what these things mean and how you can use them.” And, I actually sent her to Singularity University. And, I say, “Sweetie, here is my promise to you. If you go there for a month with an open mind wanting to learn and wanting to like, and I give you my promise that when you come back, I will let you do whatever you want.” And, she went there and she came back after a month and she said, “Dad, I made up my mind.” And, my first words were, “Oh, [BLEEP].” And, I said, “Sweetie, I gave you my word, tell me what you want to do.” And, she's, “Dad, I've decided I'm going to be either a neuroscientist or a geneticist.” I'm like, “Oh, my god, at the risk of you changing your mind, can you tell me what happened?” She said, “Dad, you're so dumb. High school, when I go and mix the things and something blows up and changes the color, I'm thinking why would I ever use this in my life? When I went to Singularity University, I learned that science and technology is simply the tools in my tool chest for me to do what I care about and you know I care about women. And, I realize how can I help women if I don't understand how their body works, how their brain works. So, I'm going to learn everything so I can help the women live better.” And, guess what, that's the girl, if I had not done what I did, would have never found her true passion and the world would have lost out on a great entrepreneur because that's the girl who went out and built the first company to remove the gender bias in hiring using AI and the second company building the women's health company called Evvy.
Naveen: And, that to me is trick story is that most parents when you tell someone whatever the kid wants to do and say, “Great, let me help you, what you're really saying is I really don't care what you do, I don't have time for it.”
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Well, I had a complete distaste for math and science particularly all the way up until college because I didn't understand the relevancy my college professor in math thankfully enough my freshman year taught his entire course around the mathematics of banking and finances. And, one thing I did was to make and to save money. So, all of a sudden, math became very relevant to me. As a matter of fact, my son's math curriculum right now is the same thing, it's all based around finances, stocks, bonds, curves, interest rates, et cetera because it's relevant to them because they're interested in it. But, you did mention something really interesting though, the Singularity University. Tell me about.
Naveen: Yeah. So, it is actually neither a university and not about singularity. This is basically an executive program where you learn about the cutting-edge technologies, where they are, where they are going, and how they can be applied to improve the lives of billions of people. So, whole theme is around how can you help a billion people in 10 years using the technology that we have today and what we're going to have in the next 10 years. That means the things that are growing exponentially, things that are doubling every year like a processing power, like AI, storage. So, things that are constantly making, going so fast, how can you use their technology to actually do something. So, cost of sequencing is falling, the cost of storage is falling, cost of analyzing is getting cheaper and cheaper. That allows you to not analyze the human body to find out why people are getting sick or why people are having these diseases. Or, by the way, why there are certain cross-sections always have a traffic jam. But, point is, you can use the data and machine learning to be able to solve many of the problem because these technologies are now available to every one of us with cloud computing so you don't have to build a massive data center for just for your own company, you can actually go out and do that.
And, that is the kind of things that you learn when you go to Singularity University. And, I sent all three of my children there. And, I think to me, that was one of the best thing I did to expose them to all the different things. It didn't matter whether it's in neuroscience, whether it is genetics, networking. And, when I say networking, I mean, the computing networking, yeah. But, point was, by learning about all these technologies, they came back and said, “Dad, I can apply this and this to solve this problem. I cannot use this and this to solve this problem.” It gave them an open mind because now they had a tool chest. Otherwise, if you only think you have is a hammer in your tool chest, then everything looks like a nail. But, if you give them a screwdriver and you give them a Phillips screwdriver, and a flat screwdriver, and you give them a wrench, they suddenly see that now they have lots of tools in their tool chest to be able to apply that to the right problem.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, the Singularity University thing, just real quick from a logistical standpoint. If a parent is listening and they think, “Oh, that's interesting, my kid might want to look into that,” is this something they attend online, or did you actually send them somewhere for this?
Naveen: So, it's interestingly, in those days, they used to have a month program and six weeks program. And now, they only do one week program. And, when our daughter did what I did was, I actually went there with her because they would take her, she wasn't an adult, so they would not take the responsibility. So, guess what happened, I went with her and I sat through the class with her so she could learn. And, that–
Ben: Where is the university?
Naveen: It's in Mountain View, California.
Ben: Oh, okay. Cool.
Naveen: Yeah. So, I basically just went with her and just sat with her and I said, “Okay, if you're not going to take a minor, I will be the person responsible for her.”
Ben: Yeah, wow. And so, this idea of supplementing their education with something like that is very interesting to me, but it kind of begs the question, did your kids go to a traditional high school, and then you added on top of that some of the unique educational aspects that you've woven in?
Naveen: Absolutely. And, other thing is that a lot of people believe the education happens in school. That's where it starts and that's where it ends. In my humble opinion, that is just simply one part of education. Education starts at home and it ends at home. And, everything else you do is supplementary. So, yes, all of our kids went to school, traditional school in the high school, they went to Stanford and Wharton. But, it didn't mean every movement we found with them, we didn't teach them about life. And, that's where the education comes from.
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A little bit different than education this concept of some type of a rite of passage, or some type of a formal, or a ceremonial recognition of a young man, or a young woman kind of moving forward in life, or even progressing from adolescence into adulthood, or boyhood or girlhood into adolescence. Did you have anything that you included in your kid's upbringing that was just basically a formal experience that they went through that was kind of their coming-of-age type of experience or some type of a rite of passage or anything like that?
Naveen: Yes. But, you're not going to like the answer I had. What we did was by the time they actually became 10 or 11 years old, we actually asked them to start a non-profit that they start not join a non-profit, not be part of one, but start one that's something they care about and go out and start to raise money for it, start to build the awareness for it. Because that showed them that it wasn't about doing things, they're learning about building a business, but they're doing it for not for themselves but for others. It was non-profit. But, that gave them all the skills they need to actually build a company without having to be forced into looking at generating revenue.
So, our daughter would hold the mother-daughter tea to actually raise money for girls in Africa, to build a school in Afghanistan. My point was, an interesting thing happened when you do that, she no longer cared about herself because she said, “Oh, my god, I'm so blessed I have all this and all these girls around the world don't have anything that I have, so I'm going to focus on them.” Guess what, all of our teenage years, all the stuff that you would see, “Oh, my god, how do I look? What do the boys think of me?” she didn't care anymore because she was more focused on others than herself. And, that's really interesting way of doing it. Then, that was our rite of passage. You are old enough now to actually go out and start contributing to the society. And, every one of the kid had to do that.
And, interestingly, that thing became one of their biggest thing they did for their college application because every college counselor looks at the stuff and say, “Wow, not only they are great kids but look, they care a lot about this world.” And, they don't just care, they do something about it, and guess what, they have skills to be able to build the organization by starting it not simply saying, “I went to Galapagos to save the turtles because my parents are very rich.”
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I mean, that's not something that a lot of parents do have their sons or daughters start a non-profit at the age of 10 or 11 years old, but it really kind of makes me wonder, did you ever kind of think at the back of your mind like, “Oh, maybe I'm having my kids become an adult too soon or maybe I need to let the kids be kids”? Or, do you feel they kind of still had the opportunity to be kids? Do you know what I mean?
Naveen: Of course, of course. By the way, just so you know, these guys party a lot. So, there was never about them not doing it, but not at the cost of not becoming a good citizen of the society. So, our rules were very, very simple. You get to do what you want as long as you're giving your best for your education and you're giving your best to the community. That means you go out and do the service and you get good grades and not the good grades in terms of the best you can be. The only good grades meant to us, that is your best effort and what you get is good enough for me. But, it needs to be your best effort. It can't be, “Oh, I am just partying and doing drugs and I just don't have time for school.” That's not acceptable.
Naveen: So, when a kid came to us and they had B plus, my only question to them was, I'm fine with B plus, can you tell me, look in my eyes and say, “Dad, I did my best and that was the best I could get”? I'm totally fine with that. But, what I'm not fine with that is, “Dad, I was slacking off and I could have done better.”
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Did you actually have any disciplines that you had in your house or any hard and fast rules that your kids had to follow?
Naveen: Actually, not really. Our rules were simply about them going out and having fun with their friends as long as they were doing the things, for example, they have to make sure they're doing some service to the community, so they have to do that. There was no choice there. And, similarly, they had to go and make sure they are studying to get the best grade they can. And, anything they want to do after that was completely them. They want to go out and party on the boat, great, go have fun. But, only rules we had was absolutely no drugs. And, to date, by the way, our kids, I can't control them, none of the kids ever take drugs because that was our rule where we stopped and said just absolutely promise no drugs. I'm not going to tell you you can't drink alcohol because everyone does. But, the drugs is something you should not do because it'll destroy your brain irreversible.
Ben: Yeah. Well, it's certainly very easy in very small doses to make a lot of mistakes with drugs and this whole idea that I think is sometimes dangerous that's bandied about now is plant medicines are considered to be very sexy and very laudable. And, many people just use them as an excuse saying they're having elevated state of consciousness when they're just doing drugs. And, I've taught my sons, A, most of these things have been researched to cause some significant neural inflammation or even things like cannabis, stupidity, especially up until a certain age and they need to be approached with a great deal of caution and respect. I tell my kids that God made everything good, but it's to be used with responsibility and with a great deal of education. And, most of my own parenting is all based on that idea of consequential-based parenting where I actually don't tell my kids, “Don't do drugs,” I tell them all the horrible things that drugs do and I tell them, “Okay, now you make the decision.”
Naveen: But, that's fine. I mean, the same thing. My point is ultimately, you have to educate them to know what the consequences are. As you see, people think marijuana is just always cool, there's no damage. By the way, as you pointed out, young kids have irreparable irreversible damage to their brain.
Naveen: There's a lot of research that shows that. And, to me, that is really is something that we need to make our kids aware. And, I think a lot of the parents take it pretty lightly. And, I think they need to know there are things that can damage them forever. And, that's not being good parents in my humble opinion.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And, even me, my sons occasionally have seen me taking a hit on a vape pen before and they've asked what it is, and I've been very precise with them and told them that it's marijuana and they ask about how they would feel on it. And, I say, “Well, it's been shown at least until a minimum of age 18 to actually kill brain cells and gray matter in the brain and cause cognitive memory deficits.” And then, I'll just, yeah, I'll leave the vape pen out in the table and walk away and they look at it like they never want to go near in their life just because I've taught them about that. And, it's that idea of consequential-based parenting. And, this leads to another thing that I wanted to ask you about. And, that's with you and your wife.
Did you ever run into situations where you disagreed on certain things whether it was education or discipline or anything like that? And, if so, how'd you handle that?
Naveen: Well, to some extent, there is always there are two people involved, there is always a difference of opinion. And, one of the things was my wife had this idea of what she said, “Don't go on the boat, and then she will say because the water is too choppy.” And, our kids would argue whether the water is choppy or not, not about not going on a boat. To me, and I said, look, and the thing she would think that the kids or we should give them allowance on the money. And, my philosophy, and she and I disagreed with that, and today we do recently on that, which is when you focus on money, guess what, the rest of their life, we believe, the only way you can have freedom is when you have money. And, if you make the money the main point of what their life is going to be, then they will never actually go out and do things you ask them to do. So, don't make it about money. Tell them, look, you don't have to worry about it, just remember, just because you have it doesn't mean you have to spend it. So, go out and figure out, is this what you really want? And, is this what you really need? And, what would this money do for other people around the world if they had the same money? Their lives will change. And, do you really want to use that or give it to someone that their life would be substantially better because of it?
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Now, how about one-on-one time? Did you carve out specific calendared or scheduled or intentional time for one-on-one time with your kids?
Naveen: I could say yes. It always was life was busy. And, to some extent, this really interesting point you bring up that lot of parents feel that spending more time with them is about being a good parent. And, I never understood that because I remember — and, I tell you why I feel that. And, let me give you an example of how it all came about. As you know, our kids were very young when I built my first company which went on to become this very, very successful company. And so, in the '99-2000 era. It was worth 40 billion. But, all I'm trying to say was we had plenty of things. At that time, it was easy for me to just say I'm going to retire and I'm going to spend time with our kids because the kids are young.
Now, think about from the kids' perspective. When they go to school, they see their dad at home sitting on the sofa watching CNBC. They come back from school and dad says, “Grab your bag, go do your homework, it takes hard work to be successful.” And, they watch their dad sitting on the sofa watching CNBC. You can tell them anything you want. They know they want to grow up and be just like that sit on the sofa and watch CNBC. Instead, what they saw was dad starts a second company because he doesn't care, he doesn't say it's not about money, he goes out and say, “I'm going to solve the second problem.” I'm going to go start the third company, going to solve another problem. Dad goes crazy and say, “We're going to go to the Moon because that is worth doing.” And, our kids are thinking, “Dad, that's just completely crazy idea. No one has ever done it. How can it ever be possible?” And, they say, dad, goes out and shows them how it can be done. And then, dad goes completely senile in his old age saying, “I'm going to change health care now.” Actually, I'm not kidding, your kids really had a family meeting. “Dad, you're almost 60 years old, time to call it a day. There is no one has ever going to change health care, what are you wasting your time? You have a great success in your life, go out and retire now.”
Naveen: And, I said, “Oh, my god, looks to me that I honestly have wasted my life not teaching you about what is not possible, so I got to do this just because you told me it couldn't be done and show them how it actually can be done.” And, that became wild.
Now, guess what happens. That is what I showed them what to do not told them what to do. Instead of spending time, I actually showed them it's not about money, so I didn't tell them it's not about money, I showed them it's not about money or doing things that I care about. That's why all three of them went on to say, “We can solve any problem we want whether it's a woman's self, whether it's affordability, we can go out and solve any problem we want because it is doable. And, if not, ask them.”
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And so, it sounds to me what you're saying is that instead of necessarily spending a lot of time figuring out how to carve out one-on-one time with your children, you instead lived your best life and set an example for them so that they could see what you were doing to be able to go forward and be impactful themselves. But, I guess, do you feel you got enough time with them though being as successful as you are and working as much as you did?
Naveen: Absolutely, absolutely. And, that's the point is that even though you work hard, I spent plenty of time with them. But remember, whatever time I spent, they realize dad loves me because his time is so important even if he could give us four hours to have dinner, that was the most important thing he had in his life and he gave that to us. And, that was the thing they needed to know is not dad is always at home and he's always wanting us to entertain him because he's just bored to death, he's not doing anything, we got friends to meet, we got things to do, and he's just sitting at home and saying, “Come play with me.” It's like, yeah, I'm not here teaching you.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, that's a good point. I guess related to that, that idea of time with them, did you and Anu have any specific things that you would do each week? I've talked to some parents, they're like, “Oh, yeah, every Tuesday, we go and play tennis” or “These five nights of the week, we'd always have dinner together as a family” or “This was a certain vacation that we'd always go on.” Do you guys have any specific traditions that you think were really special?
Naveen: Absolutely. So, what we did was every twice a year, we had absolutely it doesn't matter what anyone is doing, everyone, our family, five of us together, three of our kids and us, we went together in summer one vacation in abroad and we did one in winter. And, there were absolutely five of us would spend their time together. And, that was the rule.
Ben: That was a whole family like you and your wife and the three kids?
Naveen: Yes, absolutely.
Naveen: And, that was always the rule that we will spend that time there was going to be going to cover that time and nobody's going to take that away from us.
So, during summer, we will spend two weeks and during winter, we'll spend two weeks. And, we'll go to different places, then we'll go out and see the different things and always spend that time together.
Ben: Okay. So, twice a year, two-week-long vacations. Once in the summer and once in the winter.
Naveen: That's right.
Ben: Wow, I love that.
Naveen: And then, again we obviously would have dinner together and stuff, and obviously, all the normal things you would do.
Ben: You guys had dinner together just all throughout the year in the evenings?
Naveen: If I was in town. I mean, I would be lying if I say I would be in town every day.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Of course, yeah, I know you travel a lot.
And, speaking of that, speaking of your travel and your work and everything, did you figure out a way as a parent to carve out time for your own self-care? How did you ensure that you had a balance between finding time to be Naveen and build your businesses and do everything that you've done that has been so big and yet, you talk to a lot of entrepreneurs whose health suffers because they're juggling family and business and health? So, how did you tackle that?
Naveen: Well, I think as you know, being healthy is a choice just like being sick is a choice.
And, to me, if you're not healthy, you can't build a great business. And, I think to me, the biggest value you bring to any business is your health. Because when you are sick, you only have one wish. And, when you are healthy, you have many wishes. So, you can't go out and build businesses or any business until you are healthy. So, to me, that was my way of saying, “Look, if I want to be successful, I have to stay healthy. I can't be not healthy.” And, especially now at Viome that I'm running, I am the role model. If I am 400 pounds and have all the diseases, who's going to believe that here's a guy who said, “You should do, it works.”
Ben: Right. Yeah, yeah. Then, I've been to your house, I know you got a home gym and you stay active. You do a lot of walking, don't you?
Naveen: I sure do. I mean, I do anywhere between 6 to 10 miles a day.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I've talked to a lot of people who when they need that time for self-care, it seems walking is just about the lowest hanging fruit. It's pretty rare. I meet especially a healthy business person or older person who doesn't have a pretty robust walking habit, typically walking. And, what about things like meditation? I seem to recall we had a discussion where I asked you what you do on all your planning flights and everything. I think you said something to me like, “Oh, I just sit there and meditate.”
Naveen: Yeah. And, I think the one thing is that I do meditation twice a day. So, it doesn't matter how important a meeting I have. My rule is if I can't find 10 minutes to meditate, I should have got — if this meeting was that important, I could have gotten up 10 minutes. So, it's obviously can't be that important that I didn't get up early. So, I'm not going to miss my meditation for this. So, the good thing is I get up at 4:00 a.m. every day. And, one of the rule I have learned in my life is the day when I wake up at 4:00 a.m. and I don't jump out of the bed, it's time for me to quit what I'm doing because I'm no longer loving doing what I'm doing. Because when you love what you do, jump out of the bed.
Ben: Yeah. Do you have to set an alarm for that, you naturally wake up at 4:00 a.m.?
Naveen: I naturally wake up at 4:00 a.m. It doesn't matter what time I go to sleep, I always wake up 4:00 a.m.
Ben: Do you have to take any smart drugs or coffees or things like that because you don't sleep as much?
Naveen: No, I don't. Actually, I don't drink caffeine anymore. So, I've completely given up, I don't drink any caffeine, no coffee, no tea, caffeinated tea. I don't drink any wine. I don't drink even soda water. I'm just–
Naveen: Yeah. From my perspective, I drink plain water and I drink no wine, caffeine, or any type of hot water.
Ben: You have a purpose in life. You have a purpose in life that's very helpful. That's the main thing is that I was recently reading a book called “The Art of Upside-Down Living,” and it talked about life's purpose and this idea that when you have a really distinct life's purpose, the energy that you have is just unstoppable. And, all these supplements and medications and energy compounds that people turn to in many cases, they're turning to because they get out of bed in the morning, they don't have a life purpose, so they need something to kick their butt and get them going, right?
Naveen: Yup. I mean, main thing is you can't instill the purpose in your kid's life, instill the idea that you can be happy and working. The work doesn't need to be a work. Work can be the retirement. Work can be your purpose. And, once you find that, you will be happy and your kids will see that happiness and they want to transform themselves to be that happy. My point I'm going to make is that if you go to — I mean, actually I'm going to step back. I'm going to give you an example.
So, one of the guys who used to work for me one day came to me said, “Look, your kids are so entrepreneurial, I keep telling my kids to be entrepreneurs and they just don't want to do it. What is the secret?” And, I say there is no secret. The secret is really simple. Tell me what did you do for most of your life? You worked for a big, large corporation, you came home and you bitched how fucking your life sucks, and then you went back to work the next day. Guess what happened, the kids now realize the safety is more important than actually being happy or loving your work. And, guess what they want, they want to join a nice big corporate, they know they're going to hate their job but that's going to give them a safety because they learned that watching you all their life.
Naveen: That is what the kids saw. So now, if you wanted them to be entrepreneur, you should have started with them company and showed them how to do it and do it five times until they say, “Wow, it looks pretty easy.”
Ben: Yeah, yeah. As a work-at-home dad, a lot of times I'll have frustrations that arise during the day. And, occasionally, I'll make a mistake, I'll make a mistake, and I'll vent about it or I'll show up, I'll come for lunch and I'll obviously be annoyed and fuming about something.
And, I always check myself at the end of the day and I'll typically have a dinner meeting on a day like that with the family and say, “Hey, look, here's exactly what happened with dad at work, here's how I handled that the wrong way, here's how I did not choose happiness when I was free to choose happiness and contentment in that circumstance.” So, whenever I make a mistake myself and kind of blow up on the job, I make sure that my kids see it's not because I hate my job, it's because I made a mistake that day and I let them know, “Hey, I love what I do, I love helping people. Sometimes I'm a human and I get annoyed and I get upset. But, please don't think dad doesn't love his job. I love what I do every day, it's just that occasionally stuff goes south and I don't respond the way that I should.” So, I use it as a teaching moment.
Dude, do you have, I guess, not to get negative or anything, but if you look back, do you think you made any mistakes or do you have any regrets? If you go back over, do you think you'd say, “Oh, I'd do this a little bit different”?
Naveen: Honestly, I would not do anything different. And, let me tell you why. If you love who you are today, and if you are in love with yourself who you are today, anything you change in the past, a mistake or thing that you think you could have done differently would have made you a different person. And, if you believe you love who you are today, then you shouldn't change one thing about you because every mistake you made, everything you did is what made you who you are today.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I think that that's similar to my wife and I, we have philosophy, we say, “No regrets, only gratefulness. Everything is a teaching moment. Everything we're grateful for.” For me, there are certain things like I just try to be perfect with the kids when they're first pouring the perfect jogging stroller and the perfect bed and the perfect low EMF baby monitor. And, I think one thing I wish I would have realized was just how resilient kids are and how easy they are really. I think some parents overthink it. Even we wanted to take our kids all these exotic locales when they were kids and travel all over the world then we realized, “Gosh, our kids are super happy sitting at home in the mud with a cardboard box in the sunshine.”
Naveen: By the way, it's really interesting the parents sometimes buy really expensive toys, and when you're moving and they find just a moving box, and they have more fun with dad than the $200 price.
Ben: Yeah, I know, I know. It's not. Yeah, we've commercialized parenting quite a bit when it comes to all the things and all the gadgets, but it's very simple, you love a kid and you give them presents and you give them time. And, by presents, I don't mean TS, I mean CE presents. But, yeah.
Now, if you were to hear your kids talking about you Naveen, let's say 10 years from now, 20 years from now, maybe even when you're dead, what would you want them to be saying about you? What would they remember you for as a father that you'd really, really love for them to remember you for?
Naveen: Just tell me what they tell me every day. They said, “Dad, we just are so proud of you what you have made us.” I mean, they really feel that by giving them the lessons of life, by giving them unconditional love, we actually have given them what they needed in their life to be successful. And, that's all I want them to remember me is that they had a great dad who worked hard to do the great things for the humanity and taught us things that we learned today to be who we became.
Ben: What would your wife say about you thing? What would your wife say about you as a father? What do you think she's most impressed? Maybe she's in the other room, you can grab her and maybe you can just put words in her mouth.
Naveen: So, I think what she would probably say would be extremely determined, extremely focused and driven by things that I want to do. That means I don't do things because someone else wants me to do it, I do things because I want to do it. Because for years, she will ask me to work out and I did. And, when I decided I'm going to do it, I do.
Ben: Yeah. So, from your wife, determination and for your kids, you've equipped them and enabled them to basically be people that you and that the world can be proud of.
Naveen: That's right.
Now, if you had advice for parents, things that we haven't talked about yet and I especially would love to hear what kind of message you'd put on a billboard for parents. But, even before we get up to that final billboard statement is, are there some little bits of wisdom or things that you did that were unique that you feel like you still want to pass on that we didn't get a chance to talk about yet?
Naveen: Well, I mean, I think we touched on most of the subjects that really creating that intellectual curiosity in children, really believing that your source of happiness is really them, watching them succeed in life, giving them the tools that they need in their life to be able to do what they want to do but always remember what makes you proud of them. So, always know that you're going to set a standard for them they're going to live with. That means you always need to know that their success, how are you going to measure their success and give them the reality so they can measure their success in life. Give them the life that what matters, integrity. In integrity, what is really interesting is you can never be 99% honest. Because the minute you take one time, I'm not going to go to church because I have this game, or I have this meeting, or I have this important thing to do. Once you make that, guess what, they'll always be the next time, they'll always be the next thing, they'll always be the next excuse. So, either you say, “I'm going to do it, it doesn't matter what or you say I just don't care.” So, my point, either you're honest or you're not. You can't be I'm 99% honest.
Ben: Yeah. Kids see consistency. We have morning meditation, evening meditation, and my heart always sinks if there's ever a morning where I forget, or I've got something that comes up, or I've got some call that got rescheduled and we don't get to have our family meditation. Not because that means that the whole day is going to be bad, but because it starts to send a message to the children that, “Oh, well, if something can be sacrificed, it can be my spiritual care, or my meditation, or my journaling.” And, I want them to be adults who get out of bed in the morning, and the very first thing they do is take care of their spirits, and plan the day, and journal, and engage in something positive like meditation. But, yeah, they pay attention, they pay attention because I've seen them kind of give me a funny look when it's 9:00 a.m. and we haven't meditated yet, and I'm headed out the door on a phone call. They pick stuff like that up super quick.
Naveen: Yup, yup. And, that's the reason the consistency as you mentioned knowing that you have to commit to some things and then you have to follow through.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Now, if you could, if you could put one message on a billboard, I guess the billboard could be as big as you'd like, but a billboard S statement, what kind of message would you put out there to parents on a billboard?
Naveen: I just said create intellectually curious kids that are determined to move the humanity forward.
Ben: Great. Intellectually curious kids who are determined to move humanity forward.
Ben: I love that. Wow. I think that would all fit on a billboard pretty easily. What do you think?
Naveen: I think so.
Ben: If anybody could figure it out, it would be you, Naveen.
[00:59:06] Closing the Podcast
Alright. Well, this has just been fantastic. And, for anyone who's listening in, I'm going to put the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NaveenJain, N-A-V-E-E-N-J-A-I-N. And, not only can you go and leave your questions and your comments and your feedback there, Naveen's going to be featured in my upcoming book, “Boundless Parenting.” I'm going to put a lot of this advice in there. You'll be able to access this in written form as well. And, you can also go and see what each of his impactful children have been up to.
One more time, each of your kids' names, Naveen.
Ben: Perfect. Well, you went to the moon, so hopefully, they go to Mars.
Naveen: There you go. Or beyond, or beyond our solar system into a different galaxy.
Ben: Or beyond, Pluto baby.
Alright. Well, Naveen, it's been a pleasure talking to you. It's always fun connecting and I just appreciate you sharing this wisdom because I really have observed what you've done as a parent. I've been very impressed by it.
Naveen: Thank you, Ben. And, I think my hat's off to you for what you do as a parent. I'm always, always proud of our friendship.
Ben: Awesome, awesome.
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An intensely curious entrepreneur and philanthropist, Naveen Jain focuses on ideas that push humanity forward. His ideas related to parenting are astounding, and will be featured in my upcoming book Boundless Parenting, which will showcase Naveen and 30+ additional amazing parents from around the globe who are sharing their deep wisdom and advice so that you can be a better parent and better human. Look for that book to launch in Winter of 2022 and click here to stay updated for the book release.
From local boy to lunar visionary, Naveen sees beyond the current business and technological landscape, creating companies that make a true impact. As the founder of Viome, Moon Express, World Innovation Institute, TalentWise, Intellius, and Infospace, Naveen is an intensely curious entrepreneur who is focused on audacious ideas that push humanity forward.
He is the author of the award-winning book Moonshots: Creating a World of Abundance, the creator of Mindvalley, Masterclass programs, and is behind XPrize, a global future positive movement. Naveen is also on the board of Singularity University.
A man who knows no limits and an icon propelled by his imagination, Naveen pushes big dreams into action, spurring massive cultural and technological change. His audacious vision and magnetic personality continually inspire others to follow what feels impossible.
Everything Naveen Jain does—whether commercial or philanthropic, aims at improving the lives of as many people as possible. He believes that by applying entrepreneurial values to philanthropy, society ought to meet the needs of—and improve the lives of—the greatest number of people. Giving away money is just a temporary fix. Instead, philanthropy should be approached in a strategic and systematic way. That’s the only way to make a self-sustaining difference in the world.
Naveen’s family is an entrepreneurial one focused on positively impacting the world through the Naveen & Anu Jain Family Foundation which aims to:
- Empower girls and women
- Focus on health and wellness
- Educating the youth
- Promoting entrepreneurship
In the past, Naveen Jain has joined me for the episodes:
- How To Become A Billionaire, The Brilliance Of “The Flywheel,” The Future Of Self-Quantification & Anti-Aging & Much More With Naveen Jain.
- Age Reversing Via The Gut, The Ultimate Anti-Anxiety Pill, Customized Probiotics & More With Billionaire Entrepreneur & Viome Founder Naveen Jain
But today, Naveen and I shift our focus to his amazing children (who are quite impactful themselves), parenting, family, and lifestyle-related topics we've never discussed before!
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-More about Naveen's children…06:12
- Children are our biggest sources of happiness and joy
- “The Source of My Greatest Happiness” – Inc. magazine article
- Children are the stewards of the world
- Naveen's children have followed in his philanthropic footsteps
- Research on happiness is rarely done with females as subjects
- Another son is a Schwarzman Scholar
-Why Naveen Jain brought his children on business trips when they were young…13:40
- Feed inherent curiosity in children
- Once they become curious, they don't stop wanting to learn
- Learn how adults act and react to adult situations
- Kids used to experience parent careers not too long ago
- “The Entrepreneur Vs. His Eye-Rolling Teenager” – Inc. magazine article
- Singularity University
-Integrating real-world lessons into a child's education…22:20
- Math is based on stocks, investing
- Singularity University in Mountainview, CA
- Naveen attended a traditional school, supplemented by other sources
- Education begins and ends at home; everything else is supplementary
-Rites of passage and progressing into adulthood…31:02
- Build a business for others, not for self
- Never too young to contribute to society
- Let the kids be kids; manage expectations with the project
- Very few rules in the home outside of getting good grades and absolutely no drugs
- Consequential based parenting
-Reconciling differences of opinion with the other parent…38:35
- Respect and tolerance of other viewpoints
- Focus on the root of the conflict, not the superficial elements
-Naveen's view on spending one-on-one time with the children…40:09
- More important to see dad making an impact than spending time with each other
- Two week-long vacations each year with the family
-How Naveen engaged in self-care while raising a family and building several successful businesses…45:53
- Make health first and foremost
- Robust walking habit
- Wake up at 4 am naturally
- No coffee, alcohol, tap water
-The importance of waking up with a purpose in your life…49:00
- An End to Upside Down Living by Mark Gober
- You can be happy and working; work doesn't need to be work, it can be your purpose
- Personal accountability when you slip up
-What Naveen would do differently as a parent if he could do it again…52:09
- If you love who you are today, keep in mind that changing anything in the past would make you a different person today
-How Naveen Jain would like to be remembered by his children and his wife as a parent…53:59
- Showing them the lessons of life and unconditional love given them what they need to be successful
- Determined, extremely focused
-Naveen's advice for parents…55:38
- Watching children succeed in life is your source of happiness
- Give your children a life that matters; a life of integrity and honesty
- Commit to something and then follow through
-What parenting message Naveen would put on a billboard…58:27
- “Create intellectually curious kids that are determined to move humanity forward.”
- Naveen's kids:
-And much more…!
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- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldlife.com/calendar
Resources from this episode:
– Naveen Jain:
- Moon Express
- Moonshots: Creating a World of Abundance by Naveen Jain
- Singularity University
- Want to Raise Successful Daughters? Science Says Nag the Heck Out of Them | Inc.com
- Naveen Jain had $5 in his pocket when he came to the U.S. After being ousted from his tech company, he started over in space and health.
- The Entrepreneur VS. His Eye-Rolling Teenager
- Meet the Best-Connected 21-Year-Old in the World
- The Source of My Greatest Happiness
- The Billionaire Moonshot
- How To Become A Billionaire, The Brilliance Of “The Flywheel,” The Future Of Self-Quantification & Anti-Aging & Much More With Naveen Jain.
- Age Reversing Via The Gut, The Ultimate Anti-Anxiety Pill, Customized Probiotics & More With Billionaire Entrepreneur & Viome Founder Naveen Jain
– Other Resources:
- Boundless Parenting by Ben Greenfield
- An End to Upside Down Living by Mark Gober
- Schwarzman Scholar
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