Today we welcome entrepreneurial maverick Ankur Shah, founder of Mahabis, the world's favourite slipper. Since launching in 2014, Mahabis has built a huge and loyal global fan base, giving its loyal followers sleek and innovative products for all things 'downtime'. With Mahabis soon to celebrate its millionth pair of slippers, Ankur takes a moment to share some pearls of wisdom - from 'Kaizen' to side-stepping problems and keeping perspective on where we fit in this big wide world...
humble warrior: Ankur Shah...
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Not sure which one in particular, but one that recently has come into focus is the idea of Kaizen, which is a Japanese word for continual improvement. I think on many occasions we often look for leaps and jumps of improvement, the idea of instant gratification. Whereas I think the most rewarding things in life come from the slow, foundational solid things, that occur through, well, continual improvement.
Check it out, it’s an interesting concept!
If you feel overwhelmed or unfocused what do you do?
As little as possible.
Put my feet up. Watch the world go by. I think the most dangerous thing to do when you’re really overwhelmed is to keep pushing, planning, charging, hoping that by force of nature you can change something - when often, it’s stepping back that actually allows you to see that to get past the wall you just need to step around it.
One important lesson I have learned is that we can look to avoid problems entirely rather than solve them later.
What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done or seen someone else do?
Childbirth. My partner, Cecile. I think I would have chickened out before the first contraction had started.
What’s the most interesting place you’ve been to recently and why?
We recently finished a 3 week trip to Tarifa in Spain. What's particularly special about the place is that it sits at the tip of Europe. Across the Straits of Gibraltar you can see Morocco, clearly. You can also see the tip of Africa. You see wind-surfers and oil tankers. The Battle of Trafalgar was nearby. Two oceans meet.
It was a reminder of how much is going on in the world at any given time. And how small a part of it one is.
What is the best thing you've bought for under £50 in the past year?
humble warrior Lunar Nectar, of course...reishi never tasted so good!