Anubhav Srivastava, Creator of “Carve your destiny” speaks to Yourstory
When last we met Anubhav Srivastava he was in the process of developing a film that would reveal the secrets being a super achiever in life. Many well known personalities in India and abroad have since been documented in “Carve your destiny” giving their takes on what it takes to be at the top of the mountain. Anubhav has made all this possible with sheer grit and perseverance.
His words explaining his motives for doing this were “ I want people to learn from the super successful, listen to what they have to say, apply whatever they have learnt from these individuals and go on to become achievers themselves. The more people that acquire the “achiever mentality”, the more beneficial it is to humanity in general because we become more productive and progress faster than ever before.”
Yourstory caught up with Anubhav after a 2 year gap to find out how his journey has been and what “Carve your destiny” has now evolved into.
1) How has the Carve your destiny campaign been received by the media since we featured you?
As many of the old timers from Yourstory may recall, I was first featured on the website about Carve Your Destiny in January 2009 (http://www.yourstory.in/entrepreneurs/non-tech-entrepreneurs/1748-lifes-super-lessons-from-the-super-successful) I was only 22 years old then. I am now 24 and since then I have made much progress. The list of achievers in Carve Your Destiny now includes great achievers like Shiv Khera, Sheila Dixit and legendary people of international repute including Sir Alec Jeffreys, the father of all forms of DNA testing known to man and many others.
My story has since been featured on BBC Radio in the United Kingdom.
My story has been featured in some of the biggest newspapers in the Indian media and I am beginning to be acknowledged in the UK media as well. Here are the links to some of the features
Carve Your Destiny stands for an idea. The idea is that we are all capable of shaping or carving our future, no matter what our initial circumstances maybe like. There is no penalty for dreaming big, but there is one for dreaming little. You never attain what you could have, had you at least tried.
2) Did you have any problems getting personalities to open upto Carve your destiny?
In the past three years, I have conducted interviews with 13 Indian and international achievers but I have been rejected by over 150 other people I approached. I set up an interview with a well known personality only to see it postponed three times. I have set up interviews with some of the most well known people in India including politicians, journalists, sportspeople etc only to have them back out at the last moment. One particular person kept me waiting for 8 months before finally turning me down. This is not just specific to India but something I have observed in personalities from the UK also, thus disproving the widely perpetuated myth (often by fellow Indians) that we don't keep commitments but everyone abroad does.
That being said, there are some moments that I consider among the highlights of my journey. The interview of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw came after about 25 straight rejections from other people. To endure the struggle and finally make a breakthrough like that made me proud of my perseverance. Also, being prominently featured in Times of India (the largest English newspaper in the world in terms of circulation) and getting international coverage through my BBC appearance is something that I am still proud of. Although, these appearances are just little victories to celebrate while on path to my goal and not the end goal themselves. Have I succeeded yet? Absolutely not, but I know every bit of my effort is worth it as it takes me one step closer to my goal.
3) You have profiled some of the best names in the industry, how did you get access to them?
As a person with no contacts in the media, my primary source was the internet. Even finding the contact information is quite a bit of struggle. I have sent thousands of mails where I never received a reply. Sometimes I am lucky and the person replies back. Of course, most replies say no. I found some people’s contact information on their website, I had to approach others through their secretaries or PR people. Mostly I hear “no” outright, sometimes secretaries ask me what media outlet I belong to and when I say I am independent, my requests are turned down. There have also been times when it looks like I will get an interview, only for the request to be delayed for months and finally turned down. People sometimes ask me what “contacts” I am using. If only they were aware of the kind of effort I usually put in to secure an interview that lasts a mere 30 minutes.
Persistence is the main reason why I was able to access these personalities. My unwillingness to quit is the reason that I am still in the process of pursuing this film actively. Most people think rejection means they are not good enough. However, I see rejection as a missed opportunity, not for me but the person who rejects me. They missed the opportunity to spread their knowledge to the world through this film in exchange for just a little bit of their time.
4) What are your plans for “Carve your Destiny”?
My immediate objective is to complete the film, send it to film festivals and then based on the critical acclaim and the associated press coverage, my goal is to find a distributor that can take my film to the masses. That process in itself could take considerable time. It is not very hard to come out with a mediocre film for a niche audience, but it is hard to create a brilliant film for a mass audience. That is my target and thus that automatically expands the time frame.
As of now I am in the process of contacting achievers in UK, the process is hard as it was in India but I am determined to make it happen. I am currently on the lookout for investors interested in this film. Since inspirational documentaries have done remarkably well in the past, this would be a relatively safe investment for them and yield large rewards. If there are any entrepreneurs out there who are interested in being prospective investors and would like to know more, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As mentioned before, upon completion I shall proceed to send it to film festivals and then aim to find a distributor based on that. However, I do not rule out independently promoting it through viral marketing.
I believe that my followers on Facebook (http://facebook.com/anubhavspeaks) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/anubhavspeaks) will definitely play a role in spreading the initial word of mouth publicity about my film. However, a lot more steps have to be taken in order to make the film well known and successful. Traditional real world marketing will play a crucial role in addition to the online following I already have.
5) Film making is a difficult job, what keeps you motivated?
What keeps me motivated is my immense determination to create a movie that has a lasting impact worldwide in terms of inspiring people and making them realize that they too can achieve any dream of theirs, no matter how big it seems initially. Carve your Destiny isn’t about just a bunch of interviews of successful people, it is also the real life story of how someone with nothing but a dream went after it regardless of the massive obstacles facing him and overcame them one by one to eventually achieve his dream of making such a film.
There have been several times where I have felt that this film maybe much harder a task than I originally thought but giving up never even crossed my mind. No matter how hard it seemed or no matter how unrewarding my results were as compared to the efforts I have put in, I only knew one thing – I’ve got to make this happen.
One of the things that kept me going was reading about the stories of many famous people who faced massive obstacles but kept persevering and eventually made it. In particular, I loved the stories of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Colonel Sanders, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. But instead of reading these stories and forgetting the lessons like most people do, I applied them to my own life and decided that I would make it happen no matter what. Also, I do not make the mistake of treating these role models as untouchable gods. I do not put them on a pedestal. Instead, I ask myself, if they can do it, why can’t I?
6) We had profiled you when you had started this, did the YS coverage help in anyway?
Yourstory profiled me at a time when I was a virtual unknown. To be profiled at that stage gives a tremendous boost not only in terms of credibility but also motivation. I remember people emailing me and even friends who knew about the site congratulating me on the feature and it served to motivate me in pursuing my goals even more. It also added a certain degree of credibility since a person's first feature is usually the one that makes other people stand up and notice. In that regard, getting featured on the website in January 2009 was quite a big boost to me.
I am also glad to see how big Yourstory has become since the time I was interviewed and how it has become a massive platform for deserving achievers to be in the limelight in such a short period of time. I can see a real application of many of the success principles that I have uncovered in the film when I see the speed at which the site has grown. I only wish continuing success to Shradha and commend the great job the guys at Your Story are doing.
7) What are your suggestions to young people out there trying to do their own stuff?
Any young dreamer who wants to make his dream become a reality must possess an extra-ordinary amount of self belief. If you do not possess it then cultivate it! I know I didn't believe in myself initially, but once I knew what I had to do, I kept repeating to myself that I was capable of big things before I even knew I was capable of them! Your mind will start to believe anything you repeat to yourself if you do it long enough. The only limits we have are the ones we set on ourselves.
Once we are convinced about an idea or a goal, we automatically win half the battle. This is because only people who believe that their goal is possible will ever put in the effort to make it a reality. For those who are convinced about their goal, rejections and setbacks do not matter because they believe sooner or later they will emerge victorious. However, the person who does not believe in himself or his goals will probably quit after a few failures because he has convinced himself that the idea will not work. To quote an English proverb, “Life’s battles do not always go to the stronger or the faster man. But sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who believes he can.”
Of course as it is evident above, the most important lesson of all is probably that of persistence. Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said "Don't give up, because with every person who doesn't believe in you, eventually you will find someone who does. You will have many doors shutting on your face, don't take that as failure, take that as a learning experience. You have to learn to pick yourself up and move on." I follow that philosophy every single day.
I also suggest young people to celebrate all small accomplishments on the way to their goal. Every small accomplishment for me is something I am proud of because it means I am moving one step closer to my goal. Whether this accomplishment is getting an interview for the film or myself being recognized in the media for my efforts, every single thing counts towards the goal. Often, we are so caught up in trying to get that one huge breakthrough that we ignore to appreciate little accomplishments. The fact is that these little accomplishments eventually add to that one pivotal moment and when that moment moves you so much that it makes you cry out of sheer joy, you will know that you have made it!
Yourstory wishes “Carve your destiny” and Anubhav much success at the Film festivals and we hope to see his work very soon. We believe that the film will be an eye opener and salute Anubhav on his vision and Tenacity. To learn more on the film go to http://carveyourdestiny.com