Overcoming your fear will make you famous

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Don’t let grass grow Un­der your feet

I have a con­fes­sion to make – I suf­fer from a mal­ady called com­pla­cency. Hav­ing been af­flicted with it for a while, I’ve raved and ranted, held de­tailed dis­cus­sions on the sub­ject with fam­ily, friends and even ac­quain­tances, but it keeps com­ing back (like a bad cold and my ob­ses­sion with all things retro). I guess the rea­son why this con­di­tion is an in­sep­a­ra­ble part of my life’s sound­track is be­cause I haven’t re­ally, ac­tively done any­thing to snap out of it. Why I’m putting this out into the uni­verse (which con­stantly con­spires to give me what I don’t want – sorry, Paulo Coelho, I just don’t buy that fa­mous line of yours from The Al­chemist), is be­cause I need a push. A great big push to get my­self out of a long stag­nant sit­u­a­tion, one that fails to in­spire in any way. I won’t go into fur­ther de­tails but I’m sure some of our read­ers can re­late to my predica­ment – be it in their per­sonal or pro­fes­sional lives. “It’s of your own mak­ing,” ad­vise my well-wish­ers. But this kind of gen­tle chid­ing is not enough – one needs some­one or some­thing that will in­spire you in a ma­jor way, to take that dras­tic plunge, make that big change, what­ever it may be. While brows­ing at the Shar­jah In­ter­na­tional Book Fair re­cently, a friend de­cided he wanted to check out writer Chetan Bha­gat’s ses­sion dis­cussing his lat­est novel One In­dian Girl. While I do of­ten feel like the ‘gram­mar po­lice’ when con­fronted with Bha­gat’s overtly col­lo­quial writ­ing style, his sto­ry­telling abil­ity is doubt­less to be ad­mired – that spe­cial con­nect with a vast ma­jor­ity of the pub­lic isn’t eas­ily ac­com­plished and the banker-turned-au­thor seems to have hit upon the win­ning for­mula for lit­er­ary suc­cess in In­dia. In re­sponse to an au­di­ence ques­tion over his change of ca­reer, Bha­gat elab­o­rated on how he re­ally wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent and was per­sis­tent in his am­bi­tion to be a writer till he reached a point where he didn’t re­ally need the day job any­more. It’s a topic he has touched upon ear­lier on many oc­ca­sions, but some­how lis­ten­ing to him in a live fo­rum was in­spir­ing, en­er­gis­ing, and made im­pos­si­ble dreams seem within reach (I’m sure there were many more peo­ple in that lively au­di­ence that thought so too). His speech wasn’t the big, im­pres­sive push I was an­tic­i­pat­ing, but it did serve to re­mind me of the les­son that hard work, per­sis­tence, and the right at­ti­tude play a big part in trans­form­ing one’s ap­proach to life and goals, and how at some point I have to stop this use­less, an­noy­ing whin­ing, and em­bark on a brand new ad­ven­ture with no fear.

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