The founder of Dubai’s Mind Body Soul, a Happiness Centre, Rajeev has spent the past year working with groups of professionals eager to bring more physical and mental balance to their lives.
What prompted you to establish Mind Body Soul, a Happiness Center, and why?
They say entrepreneurs have a tendency to seek opportunities, but this project was born from a more personal stance. I became a father five years ago, and I can say the world was never the same again. Life had more meaning for me, but when I began to reflect deeply I found a disturbing pattern of negativity. It seemed no matter which city I went to, which meeting I attended, life had become robotic, with a common focus was on what was missing. I encountered wellness gurus and public speakers who seemed to suggest the answer was for people to follow them, or do what they said, but I couldn’t resonate with that. My concept was to empower the individual with tools so that they could live their unique life in their own special way, choosing happiness.
Tell us about the work you currently do.
Our purpose is to empower individuals within a team, so that they may perform better while living a more realised, happier life. It puts the onus on the individual to ensure they are willing to open up, to embrace positive habits and to nurture happiness practices that they truly own. After a year, we have already worked with various UAE government departments, multinationals, educational facilities and medical centres, devising bespoke programmes for them that simply nudge each individual gently in a direction that enables them to make the best choices.
Who will benefit from the work you are doing and how?
Who do you believe doesn’t deserve to be happy? In the corporate world, we see a huge need for what we do, as reducing stress and empowering positive attitudes are vital for performance, personal health, creativity, tolerance and, mostly, happiness.
How daunting is it to set out a business based around a happiness mission?
Happiness is something that everyone at some point has worked on, thought about or been involved in – we merely facilitate and offer the tools, be it through breath work or yoga, or deep discussion aimed at creating awareness on how to achieve better balance. Ultimately, the journey of happiness is one that needs to be taken by each individual on their own.
Have the UAE’s businesses been responsive to the idea of happiness training for their staff?
Yes, and this year has been a dream. Working with hundreds of different individuals has been a truly fulfilling journey. We have seen teams that claimed to have cohesion problems gel together and, ultimately, we have seen the humanising effect of helping teams in the corporate environment and that has been truly inspiring. The only challenge we have experienced, although not very often, is when sceptics argue they don’t have a budget for improving the happiness of their teams. Yet when we show them the costs accrued from having team members who are not able to perform due to stress, the high turnover of employees, the increased absenteeism companies face, and the lower creativity that results from external life circumstances hindering individuals’ performance, employers seem to realise that spending a little to nurture a more balanced individual and, in turn, a more harmonious team, is far more profitable for the company and the society we all live in.
Each one of us has an opportunity, each and every day, to make a positive difference. Let’s not waste it.