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Somewhere along the way, we have lost our identity, our individuality. we have lost a sense of whom we want to be or what drives us. because we are so scared of – what others will think about us, whether we will live up to others’ expectations, whether we will be able to fulfil our own and others’ dreams with that vision, with the fear of failing, with the fear of not being secure.

Three things led to the creation of this blog post – reviews of the Three Idiots movie, Robert Kiyosaki’s latest Be Rich & Happy, and my entrepreneur-husband Sahil.

It started with the 3i movie… i kept reading reviews tweeted by people about how the movie is brilliant, about how chetan bhagat has been wronged, about how the movie sucks because it sells dreams not reality, about how chatur is the real hero, and we shouldn’t laugh at him, because we are laughing at ourselves, we are all Chaturs. And in there lies the flaw and the brilliance of the movie. This is where 3i is bigger and more meaningful than Bhagat’s story can ever be. It is the triumph of vision, of course, but over that it is the triumph of the makers in bringing us in uncomfortable touch with the Chaturs in ourselves. However much of a dreamer, a visionary and a non-comformist you are, there is a Chatur in you and a Chatur in the people around you, who pull you down, who want you to to conform. As someone rightly points out, 1 visionary needs a 100 Chaturs to do the hard work. Agreed. But that doesn’t mean you don’t give people the chance to dream big, to be their own visionary. Just because we want those 100 Chaturs doesn’t mean we selfishly take away the power to make them understand what they are missing if they remain Chatur.

The next point is that Chatur is successful in his own way – he did make it. Yes, but he achieved the obvious, materialistic and conformist road to success – the kind that makes us selfish, capitalistic and greedy individuals, who cannot appreciate thinkers and visionaries, who evaluate success in terms of net worth. There is nothing wrong with being Chatur – we are not ones to decide which path is right and wrong. What we do know is that we need to keep the passion and fire alive and burning, we need to accept that if we have a greater calling, we may need to chose to not conform to societal norms. We need to accept those who are trying to do something different, because there is no right and wrong path, and nothing can be evaluated on the basis of a paycheck. If you have the right values, the right belief and the passion, success WILL find you. You don’t need to chase it. You just need a little faith. In yourself. The kind that Rancho was trying to get us to have.

Robert Kiyosaki of the Rich Dad Poor Dad fame, in his own capitalist way, tries to get the Chaturs to not conform and not live life based on that mindless paycheck. That has what has killed the US economy and it will kill Asia too, if we forget what’s important. Invest in yourself (in your vision) and if you have the right beliefs, with the right ideas and you will be rich and happy. It’s too simplistic in its current form, but the bottomline works – you need to steer clear of the rat race to build something big, to dream big. It questions the conventional notions of ’security’ of the parrot people who live on the rat tracks.

Sahil, my entrepreneur-husband, has done the job-route. He knew he would not be happy until he followed his dream to own his own company. He’s living his dream. But his friends, in cushy jobs and family businesses are obviously more ‘settled’ than he is. He is still in startup stage. Long hours, managing his own team…it’s a quiet pressure that comes along with being a risk-taker, along with following your dream. There are those who admire him for taking the tougher route. There are others who suggest that he should quit while he is ahead and find something ’safe’ where he can manage his life with a steady income. Who’s the correct one here? The most interesting example is that of an entrepreneurial family friend, who suggests that maybe Sahil should consider alternate forms of income because at this stage he should be ‘settled’. He points out that his own son, has a great cushy job, a 401k and a nice nest egg already – that is the right path. It is a great path for some. Not for those who think about building something bigger than they are, something that will live on when they are no longer there, for those who have a vision and just need the strength and the patience to see it through, and the courage to accept failure and the renewed vision to start again, if required.

I’ve noticed that there will be many who will question you in life, who will judge you and who will think they have a better solution for being you than you do. If they are not you, they cannot be you. Only you have the power to be you. The problem arises when you think or give others the power of attorney to your life and mind. That is scary. It is as if you have allowed society and others who don’t understand your vision to enter your mind and heart and take over. The proverbial serpent will twist you into such a frenzy that you stop thinking clearly, you lose focus of your vision.

It is important to realise that there is no formula in life. What works for someone – it’s great, I’m happy for you – but it may not work for me/you. It may not make me happy. And at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, sleep with my thoughts, and walk in my own shoes, not yours.

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