How To Keep The Spark Inside You – Chetan Bhagat

Good Morning everyone, thank you all for giving me a chance to speak here. This day is about you. You, who leave the comfort of your home and in some cases, have come to this college so that you can become something in life. I’m sure you are excited. There are only a few days in life when a person is truly happy. The first day of college is one of them.

When you were getting ready today, there must have been a stir in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, how would the teachers be, who would be my new classmates — something to be curious about… I call it excitement, the spark inside you that makes you feel absolutely alive. Today I have come to talk to you about keeping this spark burning. Or in other words –

If we do not always, how can we be happy for maximum time?

Where does this spark begin?
I think we are born with it. My 3-year-old twins have a million sparks. They jump from the bed after seeing a small toy of Spider-man. They get thrilled when swinging in the park. After listening to a story from father, he gets excited. Months before his birthday arrives, he starts counting down that cake will be cut that day.

I see students like you and I see some spark in you too. But when I see other people, it is hardly visible. This means, as our age increases, the sparks decrease. Such people, in which this spark ends completely, they become hopeless, aimless and bitter. Remember Kareena of the first half of Jab We met and Kareena of the second half? This is what happens when the spark is extinguished.

So how to save this spark?

Imagine Spark as a flame. First of all, he needs to nurture — he needs to be given fuel constantly. Second, he needs to be protected from storms.

To make nurture, always make a goal. It is the tendency of a human being to try, improve and achieve the best he can achieve. Actually this is called success. This is what is possible for you. This is not an external measure – like a package given by a company, a car or a house.

Most of us are from a middle-class family. For us, material pleasures are an indicator of success, and it is also right. When you grow up and money becomes necessary to meet everyday needs, then financial freedom is a big achievement.

But this is not the purpose of life. If that were the case then Ambani does not go to work. Shah Rukh Khan stays home and does not dance much. Steve Jobs does not work hard to make an even better iPhone, because he has already received several billion dollars by selling Pixar. Why do they do this? What is it that drives them to work every day?

They do this because it gives them happiness. They do this because it makes them feel vivacious. Improving your current level gives you a good feeling. If you read hard, you can improve your rank. If you try to interact with people, then you will do well in the interview. If you practice then your cricket will improve. Perhaps you also know that you cannot become Tendulkar right now, but you can go to the next level. It is important to make an effort to go to the next level.

Nature has designed us according to the combination of many genes and different circumstances. To be happy, we have to accept it, and nature will have to take maximum advantage of this design. Goals will help you do this.

It is the same with life where health and relationships are the symbols of that marble. Your effort is worthwhile as long as it brings harmony to your life. Otherwise, you may be successful, but this spark, this excited and feeling of being alive will slowly die!

One last thing about nurturing the spark – don’t take life seriously … One of my yoga teachers used to make students laugh during class. A student asked whether the time of yoga practice is not wasted because of these jokes. Then the teacher said – “considered be serious be sincere.”

Since then this quote has defined my work. Whether it is my writing, my job, my relationships or any other goal. I get thousands of people’s opinions on my writings every day. There is a lot of praise, there is a lot of criticism. If I take all these seriously, how will I write? Or, how will I live?

Life is not meant to be taken seriously, we are all temporary here. We are all like a pre-paid card with limited validity.

If we are lucky, then we should live another fifty years. And 50 years i.e. only 2500 weekends. Should we really immerse ourselves in work? Bunk some classes, scoreless in some papers, miss some interviews, take a break from work, fall in love, have minor fights with a spouse… all is well… we are all human beings, not programmed devices!

I told you three things – reasonable goals, balance and life, don’t take it too seriously – which will nurture the spark. But four big storms in life will try to extinguish your lamp. It is very important to avoid them. These are disappointment, frustration, unfairness and no purpose in life (loneliness of purpose.)
Disappointment will happen when your efforts do not give you the desired results. When things are not according to your plan or when you are failing. Failure is very difficult to handle, but what it does, it grows stronger. What did I learn from this failure? This question should be asked on its own. You will feel so helpless, you will give up everything as I wanted when my first book was rejected by 9 publishers. Some IITians exhaust themselves because of low-grade, that is a big fool? But it can be understood to what extent failure can hurt you.

This is life If challenges can always be overcome, difficulties do not arise. And remember, keep in mind – if you are failing at something, it means you are reaching your limit or potential. And this is where you want.

Despair is the brother of despair, another thing. Have you ever been disappointed? This is when things get stuck. This is particularly relevant in India. From traffic jam to getting the job you deserve. Sometimes circumstances take so long that you do not realize that you have set the right goals for yourself.

After writing books, I aimed for Bollywood writing, I felt that writers were needed. I consider people very lucky but it took me five years to get close to the release of my first film.

Disappointment dissipates enthusiasm, and turns your energy into negativity, and makes you bitter. How do i deal with it?

Take a realistic estimate of the time it takes .. Even if it takes less time to watch a movie but it takes a lot of time to make it, instead of the end-result, Kony to get to that result, I am at least script-writing. I was learning, and as a side-plan, I also had to write my third book and apart from that, friends, food, walking, all these help overcome the frustration.

Unfairness (injustice) – This is the most difficult to deal with, but unfortunately similar work is done in our country. Those who have connections, have big fathers, have beautiful faces, have the pedigree, they are easy not only in Bollywood but everywhere. And sometimes it is just a matter of luck.

There are very few opportunities in India, so for anything to happen, all the planets will have to be in the right position. Even if the achievements in the short-term are not according to your merit and hard-work, but in the long-term, they will be according to that, eventually things work out. But understand that some people will be lucky with you.

Actually, if you look at Indian standards, then you get an opportunity to study in college, and the ability to understand this speech in English makes you very lucky. We should be grateful for what we have, and we should have the power to accept what is not.

I get so much love from my readers that other writers cannot even think about it. But I do not get literary praise. I do not look like Aishwarya Rai but I understand that both my sons are more beautiful than them. It is OK. Do not let unfairness extinguish the spark in you.

And the last thing that can finish your spark is Isolation.

As you grow older, you will realize that you are unique. When you are younger, everyone likes ice-cream and spider-man. When you go to college, you are still very much like the rest of your friends. But after ten years you realize that you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, can be different from those closest to you. This may cause conflict because your goals do not match others. And you might drop some of them.

Having been the captain of Basketball in college, the second being a calf, he quit playing these games. They leave the thing they loved so much. They do this for their family. But Spark ends in doing so. Never compromise. Love yourself first and then others.

I told you about the four thunderstorms – disappointment, frustration, unfairness and isolation. You cannot avoid them, like the monsoon, they too will keep coming again and again in your life. All you have to do is keep your raincoat ready so that the spark inside you does not get extinguished.

I once again welcome you at the best time of your life. If someone gives me the option of going back in time, then definitely I would like to go back to college. I hope that even after ten years, you will have the same glow in your eyes today, I hope that you will keep the spark inside you alive not only in college but for the next 2500 weekends. And I hope that not only you but the whole country will keep this spark alive because it is needed now more than any other moment in history.

Amarpreet Singh: