Weekly Business Insights from Top Ten Business Magazines | Week 319 | Entrepreneurship Section | 1
Extractive summaries and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Since September 2017 | Week 319 | October 20-26, 2023
How Deepak Chopra Built a Wellness Empire
By Bill Gifford | Inc Magazine | November-December 2023 Issue
Extractive Summary of the Article |Listen
It’s been 30 years since a single appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show catapulted Chopra from little-known holistic Indian doctor to international wellness superstar, and in that time his own brand has never stopped growing and evolving. In addition to his battery of best-selling books, in 1996 he founded a company to sell consumer products based on his wellness principles.
The global wellness industry–everything from spas to complementary medicine to wellness tourism–barely existed 30 years ago and is now estimated to be worth more than $4.5 trillion, according to research by the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute. “Deepak Chopra has been a huge influencer,” says GWI senior research fellow Ophelia Yeung, an economist. “He’s involved in half of the wellness categories that we look at.”
“In my tradition, there are four phases of life, or ashramas,” Chopra shares. The first phase is education, the second is fame and fortune, and the third is giving back. “Now I’ve entered the fourth ashrama, which is called self-realization–where you look back and say, ‘Who am I? What am I doing here? What does it mean?”
There is much that the rest of us can learn from his extraordinary life. Based on the authors conversation with him a framework emerged for understanding his spiritual and entrepreneurial journey. In true Chopra fashion, it’s not a road map, but more a set of principles for going where your path takes you. Call it the Four Laws of Deepak.
The First Law of Deepak: Accept Opportunity. To hear Chopra tell it, his entire business career was unplanned, almost accidental. “It was just happening,” he insists. “I didn’t seek it out.” That may be true. But Chopra did have an eye for opportunity, an appetite for risk, and endless amounts of hustle. Plus more than his share of dumb luck. And most of all, an open and inquiring mind.
The Second Law of Deepak: Be Relentless. In his spare time, he wrote up case studies of patients who had recovered in spite of dire prognoses–and other patients who had died for no medically apparent reasons. Such cases fascinated him, because they suggested that medicine needed to stretch, to acknowledge the role that the mind plays in health and disease. Mainstream medicine dismisses this as the placebo effect, but Chopra felt it was possibly more powerful than the medications he dispensed to his patients.
He submitted the case studies to medical journals, which rejected them. So did publishing houses. He persisted anyway, and with $5,000 of his own money he self- published it as Creating Health: The Psychophysiological Connection. He persuaded local bookstores to take a few copies, and one day, the son of a literary agent picked up the book at the Harvard Coop. Houghton Mifflin republished it–and gave him a contract to write another book. Like a true innovator, Chopra found opportunity where others saw only obstacles.
The Third Law of Deepak: Love Your Haters. Despite all of his accolades, his followers, and his success–or perhaps because of them–Chopra’s critics have labeled him a huckster and a fraud who peddles pseudoscience and woo. With time, however, he began to approach such situations more diplomatically. The critics were doing him a service, he realized, by keeping him in the conversation. “I owe my career to my critics,” he has said. So he started befriending foes where possible, just as he had befriended countless celebrities.
The Fourth Law of Deepak: Face the Future. At the same time, he prides himself on remaining open to new ideas and exploring new tools, looking toward the future rather than taking laps around the past.
3 key takeaways from the article
- It’s been 30 years since a single appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show catapulted Chopra from little-known holistic Indian doctor to international wellness superstar, and in that time his own brand has never stopped growing and evolving. In addition to his battery of best-selling books, in 1996 he founded a company to sell consumer products based on his wellness principles. The global wellness industry barely existed 30 years ago and is now estimated to be worth more than $4.5 trillion
- There is much that the rest of us can learn from his extraordinary life. At least four Laws of Deepak can be inferred: Accept Opportunity, Be Relentless, Love Your Haters, and Face the Future.
- Throughout his life, Chopra has asked hard questions about Western medicine, about physical and mental well-being, about mind-body duality and the purpose of human existence. He’s taken risks, intellectually and personally. He’s defied convention. But he’s not a provocateur. Rather, he stays open to the flow of ideas–moving continually toward the next opportunity, the next big question.
(Copyright lies with the publisher)
Topics: Entrepreneurship, Wellness Industry, Startups