Who is Nav Bhatia and What does he Teach Us?

immigrant stories Nov 14, 2015

Teachers come in all shapes and sizes.They can also appear in the most unusual places, or when we least expect to meet one.

Last week, I attended a conference for internationally trained professionals in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Nav Bhatia was the Keynote Speaker. Although I am a Toronto Raptor’s fan, I didn’t really know much about Nav other than his being dubbed as "The Raptor’s Super Fan".

So who is Nav Bhatia?

Nav and his wife came to Canada more than 30 years ago. Like many newcomers to Canada, they struggled in the early years. They lived in a basement apartment near the Toronto airport, and worked “survival jobs”*. Fast forward to 2015. Nav now owns two Hyundai dealerships – one being the most successful dealership in all of Canada.

Nav would probably not see himself as a teacher however I learned many things from his inspirational talk. I believe that his “lessons” can be applied to all aspects of our lives. This is what I learned from Nav:

Lesson #1: Be Optimistic

Never lose hope that things can get better.Even during the toughest times, keep going.

Lesson #2: Avoid Negativity

Surround yourself with positive people.Negativity is deadly.Find people who support your goals and dreams.

Lesson #3: Avoid anger

Even if you are being treated rudely, be the better person.

Lesson #4: Give Back

When you are in a position that you can help someone else, do so.An audience member asked Nav what kept him going.He explained the giving back to others has been key, and has brought him tremendous joy.

Lesson #5: No work is bad work

Take pride in any work that you do.Nav cleaned toilets as a new immigrant.He is not bitter and explains that we should be proud of any work that we do.

Lesson #6: Meet people from all cultures

Nav insists that people break out of their comfort zones and meet people from other cultures.This includes Canadians as well.Make an effort to meet someone who is different from you.Everyone benefits.

I am reminded of Dr. Maya Angelou’s quote, “When you get, give.When you learn, teach.” To me, Nav epitomizes this edict.

Think about what you can give and what you can teach.


*Low paying jobs







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