My name is Anubhav Srivastava. I am an author, speaker and a director of an inspirational movie called Carve Your Destiny. It is a comprehensive movie on the principles of success. The USP is that it features my interviews with some of the most famous achievers across the world (A Billionaire entrepeneur, a two time Olympic medal winning Sportsman, a scientist who invented DNA testing, a Former Deputy Prime Minister of India and many more) who teach us how we too can make our dreams come true.
This movie took 6 years in the making but I decided to release it for free. The movie has since garnered over One Million Views on Youtube and gotten almost unanimous praise from viewers. It ranks among the top positions for the keywords Inspirational Movie and Inspirational Documentary. But the journey of making the film is a story that is almost as inspirational as the film itself.
As a young kid I always had the desire to do something that would impact the lives of a million people. But I had no idea what to do. Fast forward to late 2007. I came up with the idea for this project when I was a student and proposed this for an inter university competition. I thought if we made a film on the subject of success which actually featured real famous achievers, that would be tremendously useful to people.
But straight away I faced my first setback. The professor said they didn’t have the resources or the contacts to meet the famous people and the budget would be way too high. Rejected! However, deep within me, I felt I could do it. People won’t believe in your dream anyway, its you who will have to believe in yourself and your dream. So I decided to take up the challenge – Alone.
What happened next? People laughed at me. They told me that I was a young student with no connections, why would any of these famous people even care to meet me for an interview. They told me I had little money and resources. They told me I would end up looking like a failure.
Well, failure did happen. My first failure was being rejected. Then I had people desert my team. I failed numerous times at my attempts to contact the people I wanted. Every time I called their assistants, they used to ask me what organization I belonged to. When I said none, they decided it wouldn’t be worth the celebrity’s time.
There have been times when trying to set up meetings, assistants have laughed at me in front of me. I have had times when I was rejected over 30 times before finally getting an interview. There were times they kept postponing the meeting for months and finally said no. I have had times when the after getting a confirmed appointment and hiring a cameraman and reaching the spot, I was turned away at the last moment.
The worst feeling was when my father was not well but I had a confirmed appointment with an extremely famous British author. I didn’t want to go but my dad said I would not get the opportunity again. So with a heavy heart, I went to England, all the way from India. The moment I reached the interview was cancelled for good. When I told the assistant I had come all the way from India and left an ailing father behind, she said they had done me a huge favor by even giving an appointment (which they cancelled) and refused to talk further. It was a horrible feeling.
But then there were others that did say yes and meeting them motivated me. Over hundreds of rejections, I found 20 famous achievers who agreed to be a part of my film. If you can handle rejection from enough people who don’t believe in your dream, eventually you will find someone who does. And it did for me, even though it took 4 years. This was 2012. The process also took terribly long because I simply didn’t have the financial resources to hire a big team and I also had other things to do, like completing my education and setting up a business.
So now, I had all the interviews, struggle over, right? Nope! Getting interviews is one thing but then turning it into a beautifully woven story that people actually care about is a huge challenge. Also, I had zero technical knowledge of editing. I learned movie storytelling and video editing all by myself . There was a slow learning curve in terms of both but I stuck it out.
After about an year, in early 2013 I had completed a rough cut of the film. Then I invited small groups of people for a test screening. I thought it was a masterpiece. But was an absolute disaster. Nobody liked the film. I was shattered! If you fail over and over again, there comes a time when you just feel like throwing in the towel. I felt so too. But what can you do when you have worked so hard on something? If you quit now every single day of pain you put in becomes worthless. If you jump into the sea, you better be prepared to keep swimming or you will die.
So I decided to push on and improve the movie. After three months, I held another screening. This time the feedback was better but I wasn’t satisfied. So I repeated the process over and over again until finally everyone who watched the movie stood up and clapped! I knew I had finally overcome this hurdle as well and had made something people truly loved.
Challenge over? Not Quite. I had made a film that was loved by its target audience. So how do I get it out to the people? I had no time or patience to spend more years submitting it to film festivals and play the indefinite waiting game hoping for a distributor to pick it up. I wanted to get it out to the ones who needed it as soon as possible.
I made the decision of putting up 6 years of my hard work online, for free, on Youtube. But even to be noticed on Youtube is not easy. Your content needs to be great and I had done a fairly good job at that but it still needs a lot of promotion. But promoting your content quickly needs a lot of paid marketing which would be several thousand dollars. Some people even put in hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote their stuff. As I was not selling anything, I had no plans to go bankrupt doing so.
The other option I had was to get “influencers” to share my film. Well it turns out most of these people were not going to share anything unless it already had social validation (a million views). Many of them demanded considerable money and it made no sense because I wasn’t selling anything. The most shocking part was that even people who were a part of the movie didn’t do anything to help promote it. Basically, imagine the worst luck when it comes to launching something you worked tremendously hard for and I seemed to have it.
Disillusioned, I decided to put up my movie on Youtube with very little promotion and mostly relying on my social media following to spread the word. No the movie did not go viral overnight, but something great seemed to happen. Thousands started watching the film everyday. It received almost unanimous praise!
People running their own businesses emailed me that they were ready to shut down because of repeated failures but my film motivated them to keep trying. Students who were on the verge of giving up trying to get into their dream university told me my movie inspired them to try again. People who were laid off and were struggling to get a new job told me that they were now more determined than ever.
People suffering from life threatening diseases told me my film gave them the will to claim their life back! I even got an email from a girl who had attempted suicide previously who told me that watching the film gave her the will to live! In my own little way I was influencing the lives of so many people and that made me tremendously happy.
Even though the movie didn’t go “viral”, each day it was being viewed across the globe and positively impacting the lives of thousands of people. Around one year after I put the movie on Youtube, it hit One Million Views. The number of people watching it daily keeps going up. So in the years to come this movie will impact millions of more people. My Childhood dream has come true!
Your dream maybe doing something totally different. But unless you possess the most insane amount of good or bad luck, your story will not be too different from mine. On the way to success you will have to encounter a huge amount of obstacles and failures. You will begin with a lot of excitement, then setback will slap you in the face, then you will get up, beat the obstacle and then face another obstacle.
This process is going to keep going on! But you must learn from these failures. What you achieve out of life is not always proportionate to how hard you work but how fast you learn. The ultimate thing that will decide whether or not you will give up is the question – How badly do you want to achieve your dream. If you don’t want it badly you will give up. If you do, you will either achieve it or die trying!
Some people think if you go after your dreams, you are wasting your time. I believe that if you don’t, you’re wasting your life. But the truth is going after dreams is not easy, you need to be brave, persistent also a little crazy. Most people don’t have what it takes because they are only willing to give it a shot and then quit the moment they face difficulties. That attitude will guarantee failure because success rarely comes to those who are only prepared to give it a shot, it mostly comes to those who are willing to achieve it no matter what!
Miracles don’t usually happen overnight but if you work with the right dedication and sincerity your efforts will begin to pay off. Over time everything you will add up and to everyone else, your life will look like a miracle to everyone else. Go create your miracle! I will be rooting for you!
Anubhav Srivastava is an author, speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind, comprehensive motivational movie on the principles of success. It has been seen on Youtube by a million people. Visit Anubhavsrivastava.com for his inspirational blog for more great content and to watch the Film.