“I was a lawyer…‘Was’ main bol ne laga hoon ab kyunki ab nahi jaa raha main udhar.” Stand-up comedian Anubhav Bassi begins his TEDx talk in his distinct conversational style, the same as you’d expect to see in any of his YouTube comedy clips. However, in Putting Everyday Life On Trial—his 18 minute talk at TEDxRGNUL—Bassi is aiming to educate rather than just entertain. He opens up to the students, walking them through the journey that led him to stand-up, instead of hitting them with joke after crispy joke. Honest, informal and important, the talk’s focus is on Bassi’s struggle to find a career that made him truly happy—despite being a good student and proficient at extra-curricular activities throughout school and college. The comedian (who is originally from Meerut) also shares eight learnings that, he believes, have made all the difference to his life. And they’re not preachy or cliché; instead, they’re accessible and, dare we say it, refreshing.
- Here’s what he recommends:“Dost zaroor bana na, aur acche. Jis bande ke dost ho, uske acche dost ban na. (Be sure to make friends, good ones. And be a good friend to whomever you befriend.)” Bassi leads with this because “jitney zyaada kaam unki dosti aane vaali hain agle 5-6 saalon mein, utna kuch nahi aane vaala. (Nothing will come in as handy over the next 5-6 years as their friendship.)” At times, he explains, it’s easier to explain your problems to your closest friends than even your family members. This, Bassi believes, is because of a massive generation gap created by the Internet. “Unke liye society upar se baithi hui hain, ki itni age ho gayi hain bacchon ki, shaadi nahi kar rahe, settle nahi huye hain. Humaari taraf se social media ka pressure itna aa chuka hain. (They have society to worry about, their kids are so old, they aren’t marrying, aren’t settled yet. For our generation, there’s so much pressure from social media.)” He credits his success as a standup comedian to the support of his friends who believed in him – even when he was at his lowest.
- Which leads him to his next point, “ghar waalon ko explain karne mein time waste mat karna. Unn se time maangna. (Don’t waste time trying to explain things to your family. Just ask them for time.)” Actions speak louder than words, and he suggests using the time that your family gives you to show them what it is that you do (or want to do).
- “Kisi se compare mat karna khud ko. Jab ek baar college se nikloge na, tumhe har dusre bande ki job acchi lag rahi hogi. (Don’t compare yourselves to others. Once you’re out of college, every other person’s job will look good to you.)” Appearances can be deceptive, he says, as those with particularly terrible jobs work overtime to project professional satisfaction and a sense of importance.
- So how do you know you’ve found something that works for you? Bassi suggests the following check: “Agar voh kaam karne mein tum junoon nahi laga paa rahe ho aur raat ko sone se pehle tumhe sukoon nahi mil raha toh voh kaam chod do. (If you have no passion for your job and you aren’t content when you go to sleep at night, leave that job.)” And it doesn’t matter how glamorous (or not) you think that job is; if a 9-to-5 job brings you happiness, that’s fine. You do you.
- What happens if you find yourself staying up late at night, worrying about your prospects, unhappy with the work you do? “Paanch cheezein badal lena, che badal lena lekin bilkul mat sun na kissi ki ki tumhaare paas time nahi hain. Tumhaare paas bohot time hain, (You can change five things or six things, but never listen to anyone who says you’re out of time. You have lots of time.)” Bassi recommends. Undue societal pressure to have a certain kind of life by a certain age is not worth losing sleep over. And definitely not worth staying miserable for.
- “Failure dekhte rehna; nahi dekhoge, seekhne ko nahi milega. (Keep an eye on your failures. If you don’t, you’ll miss the opportunity to learn.)” And remember, he says, that failure can be overcome as many times as it happens.
- What happens if you hit rock bottom? “Toh kuch bhi naya try kar le na. Jo kabhi bachpan mein socha tha, kabhi socha tha. Tumhe nahin pata tum kahaan click karne vaale ho. (Try something new. Whatever you thought you’d do as a kid, or at some point in your life. You never know where you’re going to click.)” Have the courage to explore this idea, to walk down this unfamiliar path, because you’ve already hit rock bottom. There’s nothing to lose.
- Lastly, he ends with, “Khud se dushmani mat karna. (Don’t become your own enemy.)” Don’t beat yourself up over a lack of foresight or a missed opportunity; remember that your career is only one part of your life. There’s more to you than just the job you work.