Chetan bhagat's speech @ Symbiosis pune worth reading

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Very Inspiring speech. (For those who don't know, Chetan Bhagat has already given 3 best seller books Five point someone, One night at Call Center and 3 Mistakes of My Life)

Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to
you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving
the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become
something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in
human life when one is truly elated.  The first day in college is one of
them.  When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your
stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be
like, who are my new classmates - there is so much to be curious about. I
call this excitement, the spark within you that makes you feel truly alive
today. Today I am going to talk about keeping the spark shining. Or to put
it another way, how to be happy most, if not all the time.

Where do these sparks start? I think we are born with them. My 3-year old
twin boys have a million sparks. A little Spiderman toy can make them jump
on the bed. They get thrills from creaky swings in the park. A story from
daddy gets them excited. They do a daily countdown for birthday party -
several months in advance - just for the day they will cut their own
birthday cake.

I see students like you, and I still see some sparks. But when I see older
people, the spark is difficult to find. That means as we age, the spark
fades. People whose spark has faded too much are dull, dejected, aimless
and bitter. Remember Kareena in the first half of Jab We Met vs the second
half? That is what happens when the spark is lost.   So how to save the

Imagine the spark to be a lamp's flame. The first aspect is nurturing - to
give your spark the fuel, continuously. The second is to guard against

To nurture, always have goals. It is human nature to strive, improve and
achieve full potential. In fact, that is success. It is what is possible
for you. It isn't any external measure - a certain cost to company pay
package, a particular car or house.

Most of us are from middle class families. To us, having material
landmarks is success and rightly so. When you have grown up where money
constraints force everyday choices, financial freedom is a big
achievement. But it isn't the purpose of life. If that was the case, Mr.
Ambani would not show up for work. Shah Rukh Khan would stay at home and
not dance anymore. Steve Jobs won't be working hard to make a better
iPhone, as he sold Pixar for billions of dollars already. Why do they do
it? What makes them come to work everyday? They do it because it makes
them happy. They do it because it makes them feel alive. Just getting
better from current levels feels good. If you study hard, you can improve
your rank. If you make an effort to interact with people, you will do
better in interviews. If you practice, your cricket will get better. You
may also know that you cannot become Tendulkar, yet. But you can get to
the next level. Striving for that next level is important.

Nature designed with a random set of genes and circumstances in which we
were born. To be happy, we have to accept it and make the most of nature's
design. Are you? Goals will help you do that. I must add, don't just have
career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful
life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring
your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There
is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable
if your mind is full of tensions.

You must have read some quotes - Life is a tough race, it is a marathon or
whatever. No, from what I have seen so far, life is one of those races in
nursery school, where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in
your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same with
life, where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only
worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the
success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will
start to die.

One last thing about nurturing the spark - don't take life seriously. One
of my yoga teachers used to make students laugh during classes. One
student asked him if these jokes would take away something from the yoga
practice. The teacher said - don't be serious, be sincere. This quote has
defined my work ever since. Whether its my writing, my job, my
relationships or any of my goals. I get thousands of opinions on my
writing everyday. There is heaps of praise, there is intense criticism. If
I take it all seriously, how will I write? Or rather, how will I live?
Life is not to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are
like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last
another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need
to get so worked up? It's ok, bunk a few classes, goof up a few
interviews, fall in love. We are people, not programmed devices.

I've told you three things - reasonable goals, balance and not taking it
too seriously that will nurture the spark. However, there are four storms
in life that will threaten to completely put out the flame. These must be
guarded against. These are disappointment, frustration, unfairness and
loneliness of purpose.

Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected
return. If things don't go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is
extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What
did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will
feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine
publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low
grades - how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But
it's life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be
a challenge. And remember - if you are failing at something, that means
you are at your limit or potential. And that's where you want to be.

Disappointment' s cousin is  frustration, the second storm.  Have you ever
been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially
relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve,
sometimes things take so long that you don't know if you chose the right
goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought
they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five
years to get close to  a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns
your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person.
How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved -
movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly,
seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result - at
least I was learning how to write scripts, having a side plan - I had my
third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable
distractions in your life - friends, food, travel can help you overcome
it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign
somewhere, you took it too seriously.

Unfairness - this is hardest to deal with, but unfortunately that is how
our country works. People with connections, rich dads, beautiful faces,
pedigree find it easier to make it - not just in Bollywood, but
everywhere. And sometimes it is just plain luck. There are so few
opportunities in India, so many stars need to be aligned for you to make
it happen. Merit and hard work is not always linked to achievement in the
short term, but the long term correlation is high, and ultimately things
do work out. But realize, there will be some people luckier than you. In
fact, to have an opportunity to go to college and understand this speech
in English means you are pretty damm lucky by Indian standards. Let's be
grateful for what we have and get the strength to accept what we don't. I
have so much love from my readers that other writers cannot even imagine
it. However, I don't get literary praise. It's ok. I don't look like
Aishwarya Rai, but I have two boys who I think are more beautiful than
her. It's ok. Don't let unfairness kill your spark.

Finally, the last point that can kill your spark is isolation. As you grow
older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want
Ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot
like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique.
What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different
from even the people closest to you. This can create conflict as your
goals may not match with others. . And you may drop some of them.
Basketball captains in college invariably stop playing basketball by the
time they have their second child. They give up something that meant so
much to them. They do it for their family. But in doing that, the spark
dies. Never, ever make that compromise. Love yourself first, and then

There you go. I've told you the four thunderstorms - disappointment,
frustration, unfairness and isolation. You cannot avoid them, as like the
monsoon they will come into your life at regular intervals. You just need
to keep the raincoat handy to not let the spark die.

I welcome you again to the most wonderful  years of your life. If someone
gave me the choice to go back in time, I will surely choose college. But I
also hope that ten years later as well, your eyes will shine the same way
as they do today. That you will Keep the Spark alive, not only through
college, but through the next 2,500 weekends. And I hope not just you, but
my whole country will keep that spark alive, as we really need it now more
than any moment in history. And there is something cool about saying - I
come from the land of a billion sparks.

Thank You.

Chetan Bhagat

Chetan bhagat, Inspiring speech
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 chetan bhagat a true legend
 By : roger on Dec 02, 2009 03:35 pm
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