Chetan Bhagat is an Indian author, columnist, screenwriter, and speaker. All of his books have remained bestsellers since their release and four have inspired Bollywood films. In 2008, The New York Times called Bhagat “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history. Time magazine has named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in the world” and Fast Company, USA listed him as one of the world’s “100 most creative people in business.”
My Definition Of Success | Success to me means achieving beyond what you thought you could possibly do. Of course, what you think you can achieve changes over time – based on your past successes to an extent – and so the
definition also changes.
When I started writing, success meant getting the book published and perhaps having it sell a certain number of copies. Today, I don’t have that issue. For me success today is being able to influence Indian society and change some of their beliefs. It is also to strike a balance between my personal life and work goals.
What Drives Me | The desire to change things – whether making it cooler, better, easier, more accessible than done before. In my writing projects – whether books or movies, I always try to ask – what is different about this? What assumption will I break if I do this? That’s often a big driver.
My Highlights | I think I was able to carve out a career in a field that is extremely competitive and financially not as
rewarding on an average. I was able to make a name as a writer in India, and penetrate more minds than people thought a writer could. The transition of my career from banking to books, films, political writings and as a motivational speaker has been most rewarding.
The Difference Between good And Great | I think it comes down to the level of talent, the desire to not only do it well, but do it better than expected and a level of passion that doesn’t die even after many years.
My Critical Skill | I have the ability to connect with people. I think that is vital in the entertainment space. It isn’t about the writing, the acting or the way you look. It is about, when you express to another person – do they get you? Do people see you as someone they feel they know? It comes from connect, which is har
d to define but easy to feel. Any artist should try to cultivate that, and I think it ultimately comes from a sense of genuine compassion.
Principles and Values I Live By | We all sell stuff, but at some point we need to know how far we will go to sell things, and when will we stick to our convictions. There’s stuff I can write to stir up controversy in India. It will get me a lot of limelight. However, it may destabilize my country, and so I won’t do it. Having a moral core, even if a liberal one, is necessary I feel.
How I Use My Mind | I try to always have a few key goals in mind, to guide my day, week, month or year. I get distracted quite easily so I have to make my milestones else I will be lost. For instance, I want to have a book out in the later part of this year. This defines the routine I have in life, even though I may not adhere to it always. However, at least I know what to strive for – write the book!
Dealing With Doubt | We live in the world of social media, so even if you don’t have self-doubt, enough people on the Internet will doubt you and make you feel nervous. Unless, you know how to deal with it. When you are dealing with expectations of millions of people, it is easy to get nervous. You have to break down the tasks on hand, and take it one day at a time.
Performing At My Peak | I don’t think it is possible to always perform at my peak. All I can hope to do is create an environment where peak performance is possible. Enough sleep, good diet, exercise, less stress and limited workload often
works for me.
Watch Chetan Bhagat’s Success Mantra below