Personal happiness or social validation: How Tanmay Bhat defines success

At YourStory’s Creators Inc conference, Tanmay Bhat reveals his metrics of success in a fast-growing creator economy.
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The meaning of success in a space that is bursting with the potential of 50 million creators could be as wise or flippant, depending on how you choose to look at it.  

And sparkling with wit, wisdom and flair at the YourStory Creators Inc conference 2022, YouTuber, comedian, script writer, entrepreneur, and angel investor Tanmay Bhat gave us a peek into his personal metrics for success, particularly in a fast-evolving and rapidly growing creator economy.

Personal happiness, not social validation, is what Tanmay says he values as a measure of success, as he says there’s nothing wrong in prioritising your mental health and working for your personal happiness. 

“I am not dependent on social validation. I don't want that. I want to work on personal happiness. I also take solace in the fact that no matter how successful you are wealth-wise, sometimes you crave social validation. If I can make peace with that, it will be a leg-up for me,” Tanmay tells YourStory Founder and CEO, Shradha Sharma in an hour-long conversation at YourStory’s Creators Inc Conference. 

Creators in India are very statistics-driven and Tanmay says, he too, once belonged to this club. 

Creator ki zindagi 0-1 hoti hai. Woh crack karne mein bahut time jaata hain. Fir aata hai 1-10. 5 saal tak numbers badte jaate hain. (The life of a creator can be measured in the 0-1 scale. It takes time to crack this. Then comes the 1-10 scale and after that the numbers start increasing, maybe in five years),” Tanmay says as he likens the journey of a content creator and content creation to being on a treadmill or climbing a mountain. 

“When you are ascending, it’s like climbing a mountain. But you don’t know from where the storm is coming; you don’t know who is ahead of you or the challenges for them,” he explains, drawing attention to the unpredictability of creator life.  

Still, an essential thing creators need to keep in mind, Tanmay says, is that they should never be at the mercy of algorithms. “Otherwise you will be on a treadmill,” says Tanmay. 

Don’t be a slave to the platform or be at the mercy of analytics, is what Tanmay says to aspiring creators as that can drain out your energy and enthusiasm to create content in the first place. 

“Distribution should have a long-term vision, otherwise one would be left at the mercy of algorithms. Creating a distribution is just the first step; distribution should then open doors,” says the co-founder of the creative agency ‘All India Bakchod’ (AIB).

In late 2019, Tanmay started the YouTube channel 'Tanmay Bhat', sharing vlogs, video essays, and streaming games along with other YouTubers. The seasoned comedian also runs the YouTube channel 'Honestly by Tanmay Bhat', where he posts videos on personal finance.  

Battling algorithms and depression

Social media fuels a culture of seeking validation. While putting your heart and soul into the content is advisable, once it’s done, it’s best to have a healthy sense of detachment, says Tanmay. In other words, soak in the love, but don’t live for it. 

Indeed, in an increasingly volatile world of digital wokes, it’s important to maintain a semblance of sanity, he says. 

“Depression is a real thing. To get off that phase, relearn how to be happy,” shares Tanmay, opening up about his own brush with depression, when he had spent eight months locked up in his room, and how taking up physically stimulating activities like playing badminton helped him. 

“Even if you are not feeling mentally well, these things start putting in some dopamine inside you,” he explains. 

“In India, you cannot be successful without people wanting to pull you down. There will be constant envy and a constant feeling that you are not good enough. You will get attacked and you will want to attack back,” warns Tanmay. 

But he has a framework: Agar koi tumhe five minutes kuch bura bol ke jaata hai, to tum bhi use 5 minute do na, poora din kyu dete ho (if anyone has spent five minutes in criticising you, why do you need to spend a day on him?).

“Not all criticism is useless. Worst is when criticism is absolutely eloquent and is right,” says Tanmay. Listen to the criticism, but don’t let it kill you.  


Catch YourStory's Creators Inc conference here.

For more on other key initiatives as part of the conference, visit our Creators Inc. website here.

Recognising the burgeoning creator ecosystem and the new wave of entrepreneurship that comes with it, YourStory is celebrating the works of both established and emerging influencers in an initiative aimed at identifying, celebrating and accelerating the journey of digital creators who make extraordinary, unique and engaging content. We've partnered with Trell to bring you the Top 100 Creators challenge, which you can apply for here.

Edited by Tenzin Pema

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