Interview with Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D—Father of “Soft Leadership” & International Leadership Guru

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When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Professor M.S. Rao: I wake up at 4 A.M. everyday since I am a morning man. I start the day by drinking water from the copper vessel. I express my gratitude to God for gifting me another day to share my knowledge free with the world and make a difference. I author books since my mind is highly creative in the morning.

TG: What gives you energy?

MSR: My vision to build one million students as global leaders by 2030 URL: Passion toward my goals; purpose to provide meaning to my life; and physical exercises everyday.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

MSR: Journal regularly. I always carry pen and notepad with me to capture my ideas to execute them effectively. I learn constantly and take feedback regularly.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

MSR: I rarely use my phone. I use it as my alarm, but I put it on silent, so I’m not distracted by it while sleeping and writing.

TG: How do you deal with email?

MSR: I attend the most important ones first and then address the emails of my fans and followers globally.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

MSR: I take to writing. Create quotes to inspire the world.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

MSR: No, I rarely feel burned out since I do heavy workout for an hour in gym and walk for an hour everyday.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed, and how did you overcome it?

MSR: I failed many times in my life like Abraham Lincoln. I have no regrets because failures are the stepping stones to success. I take feedback; learn from my failures; and move on with optimism. I explore multiple solutions to overcome failures to achieve success and show the way for others to follow.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

MSR: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

TG: Which book do you recommend?

MSR: My bestselling book “21 Success Sutras for CEOs: How Global CEOs Overcome Leadership Challenges in Turbulent Times to Build Good to Great Organizations” URL:

TG: What advice do you have for future leaders?

MSR: Achieve success with integrity. Make fitness an integral part of your life. Respect women and advocate gender equality globally (#HeForShe).

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

MSR: I have two:

As long as you love and learn, you remain young; the day you stop loving and learning, you become old.

Love your mother but don’t hate another person’s mother.

TG: What is your favourite quote?

MSR: “It requires a lot of courage to become an educator as it is not for everybody. If a parent is unworthy, children are spoiled; if a doctor neglects his duty, the patient dies; if an engineer performs poorly, the infrastructure collapses; and if an educator makes a mistake, an entire generation is ruined.” ―Professor M. S. Rao

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