This is a transcript of a video interview with Gaur Gopal Das, world-renowned monk and lifestyle coach.
Chetna – The first question I want to ask you is about unconventional careers you and I took unconventional career choices but when students make these choices the parents are coming from a position of fear correct the society is coming from a position of judgment sure and so students lack self-belief, and they sort of don’t have that courage and motivation to go ahead with their passions and they get confused correct so how if you can guide them as to how can they actually go right ahead with their dreams and even to know before that is this the right path for me
Gaur Gopal Das : You know when I I was studying in school we are we had three options
Chetna : engineering medicine and maybe chartered accountancy
Gaur Gopal Das : no engineering medicine failure. So, either you’re an engineer, or a doctor or a failure. So, coming from a society where this was the mindset and if this is what is ingrained in the system. I do not think a massive change can come about simply by our youngsters taking up to the passions that they truly feel is meant for them right there has to be a systemal change as well.
I’ll tell you what to go by the parents ways and extremist stance because then they can’t follow their passion right but to go by what they feel could be an extremist stance as well because what they feel is their passion may not necessarily be their passion so I feel it’s good that they take up something mainstream to begin with okay which is like a like you say ok say I’m doing what you want there’s a fall back option for me whilst I’m pursuing this I start pursuing this as well and then show parents, show the society that I can do it now if you’re not being able to show why would you know yeah and why would anybody accept it so I I feel that if there is a good balance.
I think it’s a calculated risk yes you are taking a risk still but it’s a calculated risk most youngsters in their zeal in their enthusiasm and their passion to do something don’t realize that there are practicalities in the real world as well and they live there.
You know this one gentleman whom I know wants to be a filmmaker wants to go to Canada study filmmaking in Canada, the most premier Institute is in Canada but then parents are a middle-class family the yearly tuition fee is about 25 lakh rupees so four year course one crore of rupees that’s not even their entire life savings, right now I told him as much as your passion is to do it I don’t think reality does allow you at this point of time. Plus, once you finish it the cutthroat competition out there just to be able to recover all the money you spend it’s a lot
So I told them why don’t you follow something mainstream today there’s a fall back option but you can get a job later if this doesn’t work and start taking professional courses here which are within your capacity and what you can afford one day probably you might be able to go there and then marry the two what you have to do and what you love to do are the same.
Chetna : Fantastic that was absolutely wonderful and motivating thank you and the next thought in my mind is you know competitive exams in India, can sort of take the life out of you sure and sometimes it’s just like one hour or two hours sitting in that examination hall yes and it’s almost like that is the moment that decides whether I’m a failure or a success, and there’s so much stress I remember I got like 102 fever before my CAT entrance exam and I came out of the hall and I was fine yeah so I can understand that so what can you say it to them that they can overcome all of this and take it positively
Gaur Gopal Das : My understanding is this if you’re writing a competitive exam you’ve already written many exams before yes and you have a very clear idea of your capacity. We have to be very honest and very accepting of what our capacity is. If you have x as your capacity you can dream to go X to the power two if you do dream to do X to the power hundred you’re being unrealistic so in that unrealistic pressure to go X to the power 100 you don’t even perform X, what to speak of X to the power of two because the pressure stops you from giving your best
So I think that pressure of an academic score when you are were there that one one and a half two hours of you know sitting in the examination hall it’s like the Virat Kohli Sachin Tendulkar playing against West Indies you know you have to like perform and keep hitting sixes and fours they’ve got so much practice and not just practice they also have the capability right like there may be some others who are also practicing but you also have to have it in you right to say that everybody can do everything and by practice everybody can get there
Chetna: Guru ji one last question is you know depression is very common these days with students and we’re hearing of suicide when we’re hearing off you know just children just not being able to function because they were paralyzed by all that pressure the fear the
uncertainty so how do we you know just help them to cope with all of this
Gaur Gopal Das : True, depression suicides pressures one of the reasons for this also is that many of our youngsters have grown up not hearing a no as an answer. Bcause they were children maybe a single child to parents have felt oh I did not get it when I was young I should give everything to my kids so whatever they asked for they kept getting a yes yes yes the yes the yes you can get a yes from your parents you don’t get yes from your professors you don’t get a yes from Infosys from Apple from Microsoft from E&Y; KPMG Deloitte you don’t get a yes the way you wanted.
So when you’re not used to it and suddenly something comes your capacity to handle it is very meagre, so it’s shocking when it comes and then it’s so absolutely shocking you go to extremities, you go into chronic depression or you end up to the other extreme of suicides. This is why I do feel youngsters need life guidance and life counselling more than academic performance they also need a lot of guidance so they are fortitude the strength to handling these things increase so you need any mentors and guides apart from their educational teachers academic teachers and they need to feel that inspiration motivation from those who they see as icons and role models.
I didn’t stand first in class I stood first every semester in my engineering days I stood first in every semester last semester in second four marks I lost my first grade and my gold medal in the University of Pune in the whole of Maharashtra and I came home crying. I came home crying in front of my father he asked me what happened I just slammed the marksheet on him not because I was angry, but I was frustrated. I had been dreaming of that gold medal, I stood first all through how can I not come first.
I remember my father’s who is no more, he said to me can I see your marks, he saw the marks like probably 87 percent but it was 1995 87 percent in my final year engineering he said so what’s the first guys that’s 87 point one or two or whatever. He said, these are great grades you can get admission in a great college focus on your grades, the marks not on the position. It’s not first or second it’s okay and he said in ten years from now who will anyways remember this first rank. I think when you have people like that support you to guide you comfort you, it’s possible.
So that was so amazing, thank you very much thank you