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March 20, 2021 39 min
Today’s guest is Suneel Gupta,  the founder of RISE and faculty member at Harvard University. Using the seven steps inside his latest book, Backable - which teaches that the “It-factor” is learnable and needed to convince others to back you - Suneel went from being 'the face of failure' for the New York Times to being the “New Face of Innovation” for the New York Stock Exchange. His ideas have been backed by firms like Greylock and Google Ventures, and he has invested in startups including Airbnb, Calm, and SpaceX. Suneel also serves as an emissary for Gross National Happiness between the United States and the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Listen as we discuss:

  • The question he asks his daughters every morning: What's the meaning of life and what's the purpose of life?
  • Being an architect vs. an archaeologist in the quest for purpose.
  • The opposite of success is not failure, it's boredom.
  • The Buddhist story of learning to leave behind past attachments and investments
  • How writing books is an exploration of the self.
  • How to combat stress
  • Suneel's next book on Dharma (I can't wait until it's out)
  • Barack Obama's sense of ambivalence about winning or not  is a success mindset.
  • Suneel's history as a featured failure in the New York times
  • What is being backable? What is this "It" quality?
  • Creativity and persuasion are different.
  • The IKEA effect, and how we place 5x  value on something we helped build.
  • How Suneel convinced his wife to support his run for Congress.
  • Flipping outsiders to insiders by making  people feel like they're part of your plan.
  • Convince yourself first! Charisma is not what makes a person convincing, it's conviction!
  • Great ideas get killed in hallways and watercoolers before they have a chance.
  • Write down objections to your own idea and steer into them for credibility.
  • Instagram: @mo_gawdat
    Facebook: @mo.gawdat.official
    Twitter: @mgawdat
    LinkedIn: /in/mogawdat

    Connect with Suneel Gupta on Instagram @suneelgupta, Facebook @suneelgupta, Twitter @suneel, and his website,

    Don't forget to subscribe to Slo Mo for new episodes every Sunday and Thursday. Only with your help can we reach One Billion Happy #onebillionhappy.

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