Inspirational stories have the power to make us believe we too can make our dreams come true. More so when they are TRUE Inspirational Stories. This is the full text of a speech I, Anubhav Srivastava, creator of the movie Carve Your Destiny gave at IIM Indore, one of India’s highest ranked Business Schools. I narrated my personal struggles of making a first of its kind inspirational movie in India which moved the audience extremely. If you would like to know more about me, I suggest you read my short. Bio before you go on to the speech.
While this speech is not a story behind running a business, but rather the story behind the making of a film, a movie itself is an entrepreneurial project and almost all of the success principles required to succeed in business or in life were applied in the making of this film. Thus this speech will be highly inspiring and relevant to most entrepreneurs currently struggling to make their dreams come true.
Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie took Six years in the making and was released for FREE for the benefit of the Audience. It has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
You can also read about me at Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anubhav_Srivastava
You know a mobile company runs this ad with the tagline, “an idea can change your life.” That’s nonsense. An idea by itself cannot change your life, only the guts to transform that idea into reality can change your life.
When I came up with the idea to make this movie Carve Your Destiny, I am sure at the same time a thousand of far more brilliant minds were coming up with far more brilliant ideas. Fast forward to 6 years later and I can bet that less than one percent actually managed to convert their ideas into a reality.
So why is this? Why is it that all of have some dream in life and yet very few go on to achieve those dreams? Here is what happens most of the times.
1) Either people say you can’t do it
2) You tell yourself you can’t do it.
Now let me tell you, you are going to meet countless people who will tell you that you can’t do it. Maybe some of them harbour experienced opinions, some of them are jealous and want to see you fail, some of them care about you and DO NOT want to see you fail, but guess what, point 1 is not nearly as important as point 2.
Life is a self fulfilling prophecy. You are as significant or insignificant as you believe you are. Those who think they’re capable of nothing, don’t put in the effort to be something and predictably, end up as nothing. Conversely, those who believe they are capable of greatness put in a determined effort to do great things and consequently end up changing the world.
The number 1 problem why most people do not take the first step is not because other people do not believe their dreams, it is because they themselves do not believe in their dream. Ask most people why they didn’t take the first step and they will come up a large number of excuses that they didn’t have the money or the talent or the contacts.
I wanted to make this excuse too. You see when I was rejected and still wanted to pursue this project, I had all these ideas in my mind – Why would anyone want to listen to a random student, why would anyone want to be a part of this film, won’t everyone think I am crazy, won’t I be taking a big risk in devoting my life to this? Won’t I be looked at like one big failure if this doesn’t work out?
Failure – That one word that makes us afraid to go after our dreams. It’s funny that I am talking to you about success but discussing failure instead, but this is something that needs to be talked about. Here is the deal, to be successful at something, you need to be a failure – PERIOD.
When you were a little child and were learning, did you walk the first time you tried to? In all likelihood, you failed. You probably thought at that time that you were no good, it’s just that you don’t remember it. You probably even thought it was no use trying again. Thank god your parents didn’t think that way. They made you fail over and over and over again, until you SUCCEEDED.
And the same is the case when it comes to learning how to swim or learning how to ride a bike or pretty much any skill in the world, you need to fail before you succeed! And yet, yet we are all so afraid of failure. Failure makes us an object of ridicule.
I want to talk about my failures when making this project and there is a reason why I am talking about them to you today. I will explain why I shared them with you at the end.
The first time I failed was when I proposed this idea and it was rejected. It was a big setback to me as I counting on the support and the resources of the university.
Then I failed when I tried to approach the so called people who used to brag about their so called contacts. So naturally I thought they would be really helpful. WRONG, All I got from them was zero result and a huge amount of attitude.
A lot of young people today believe that contacts are the key to get ahead in life. And while contacts play a role, it is important to understand that ultimately you have to fight your own battle. Nobody else will do it for you.
So I realized that I have to fight my own battle and what was clear very quickly was that this was going to be way way harder than I thought. Most of the times I used to call up the secretaries of these people, they hung up abruptly. Sometimes when they bothered to respond they asked me what media house I belonged to or what I was doing and of course I responded was I was from no media house but a student studying finance – And they were like OK… and they used to Clamp down the receiver.
But like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, one of the richest women in the world, said in the movie, if you can keep going through enough people who don’t believe in you, eventually you will find someone who does believe in you. I thought the interview process would take me 1 year, in the end it took me more than 4 years, so obviously it took A LONG time for enough people to believe me. But eventually it did happen. I was rejected by close by hundreds of people but it did happen.
You have already known about the incredibly disheartening things that happened during this way. This is the nature of events when you “follow your dream”. Let me be honest with you, unless you are very lucky or incredibly well prepared, you are going to fail and you are going to fail over and over again. There are going to be times, when you just want to throw everything away and do what everyone else is doing. There are times when you really question, whether this is all worth it. There are going to be times when you just feel that everyone who thought you were crazy, WAS RIGHT!
Whenever you go after a dream, you will always reach a point when you will be extremely frustrated and just feel like quitting. At that time, ask yourself a question. What is harder for you to face? The struggle or the regret of giving up? If the answer is the former, quit. You just don’t want it bad enough. If the answer is the latter, don’t worry, for it’s just a matter of time before you get what you deserve.
So I kept going and sooner or later, things started happening and I wrapped up the interviews. And then, when I got over with the interviews, I moved on to the next goal. Like it says in the movie, you accomplish one goal and then you move on to another goal. I had collected this huge chunk of information in the form of these interviews, how do you turn it into something that people actually want to watch and get inspired by?
I had no film making background. Conducting interviews was one thing but turning it into a movie was a huge challenge. So I studied and researching scriptwriting and all the things you typically associate with filmmaking. People started telling me, oh make it like a docudrama, you know with actors who act out a storyline and make a non fiction film interesting. So I spent almost 6 months writing a script for the fictional portion that I planned to shoot and then I would somehow fit in the interviews in there. And that was a horrible idea. I had to spend money to hire actors, I had to spend money on a set and the budget was way overboard. BAD IDEA. Finally, the biggest problem was that the film was no longer turning out to be the way I envisioned it. It seemed like a horrible mishmash of nonsense. So I junked it. Back to Scratch. 6 months wasted. Yet another failure.
I went back to the basics, I learnt an advanced video editing software on my own. Then I spent many more months, preparing what is called a rough cut of the movie. It’s sort of like a first draft of the product. After that I started what is called, a test screening process, where you invite small groups of people to come and critically evaluate your movie. I think I had done great at this point and was expecting to really love it. And guess what, there was dead silence, absolute silence. The only thing that the people were inspired to after watching the film was SLEEP!
Now do keep in mind that I had already spent almost 5 years on the project by then. And nobody seemed to like what I made! Everything seemed like such a waste. At that point I actually felt like throwing everything away. Even the best of us cannot help but feel low after failures. Here is the difference between a loser and a winner though – A loser will let the disappointment and frustration overwhelm him and give up. A winner will direct the same pent up energy and frustration into trying again and again until he wins.
To be honest, I was incredibly frustrated but what do you do when you have spent 5 years of your life on something, do you just give up on it? In my case I had no choice, I knew that I had jumped into the ocean and now I had to keep swimming to survive. I had to do whatever it took to keep pushing on. Because if I quit, EVERYTHING would be a waste.
You know there is a story of a general who once led 600 men in a few ships to conquer an island. When they landed on the island they realized that they were vastly outnumbered. Now this general was like King Leonidas in 300 and pumped up his troops through an inspirational speech. But he also did one more thing. He ordered to burn down the ships. He cut off all possible sources of retreat. There was now no way for the soldiers to run back to their ships and sail away if they felt they were going to lose. They had to either fight and WIN OR DIE. There was no running back. Their very survival was at stake. Guess what, they WON.
And this is precisely why I kept pushing on. I had no choice. What would I do by quitting? Look like a loser? I went back, incorporated all the feedback and held another test screening after 3 months, and then I held another after 3 months and I kept doing it until I was absolutely confident that I had made something I was proud of. And what you have seen on the screen on there is the culmination of this journey of mine of 6 years of failures!
Some of you are wondering, why am I telling you my story. It’s because unless you are incredibly lucky, 99 percent of you are going to go through the same when you go after your dream. Especially if it is a big dream. Your success will be built upon your failures. You will begin with a bang, you will be knocked down, you will rejoice over small accomplishments, you will be knocked down again and this process will keep going on. But you must fail forward, not fail backward. You must learn from those failures. As unfair as it may sound, success is not always directly proportionate to hard work. But it is certainly proportionate to the rate at which you can learn from failures.
The ultimate question boils down to this – How bad do you want it? If you don’t want it bad enough, you will give up. If you want it more than anything else, you will do whatever it takes to win and eventually emerge victorious.
Some people think it’s a waste of time if you follow your dreams, I believe it is a waste of life you don’t. But following your dream is not easy, it is very difficult. You need to be bold and courageous and honestly you also need to be a little bit crazy. Frankly, most people do not have what it takes to really follow their dream. Most people have this attitude that they will give it a shot and at the first sign of setback, they will wrap it up and go back to what they were doing. That attitude is a recipe for failure. Great things are not accomplished by those who want to give it a shot. They are accomplished by those who are determined to fulfill their dream no matter what.
Following your dream will not be like those inspirational pictures on Facebook where there are rainbows all around and a woman is jumping in the air with her arms outstretched. It’s going to be a constant battle, but guess what, if your dream is important enough, it will all be worth it.
Don’t expect miracles, miracles rarely happen. But if you continue working in the right direction with the right sincerity and adaptability for a long enough time, you WILL get results and your life will start looking like a miracle to others. You will have achieved your dream. In the end I would just like to say that we have no idea if we will ever be born again. It is likely that this is the only life we will ever have. Make your life worth living.
Watch Carve Your Destiny, the super inspirational movie by Anubhav Srivastava for Free at