Our co-founder talks about the importance of feeling inspired when writing your essays.
Most of you must now be in the thick and thin of writing your essays (if you’re not and are planning on applying this year, it’s time to get cracking!). All of you must have also realized by now that writing essays is no piece of cake. How do you make your story “flow”? How do you write what you are feeling? How do you convey what you wish to convey?
I struggled with the same questions when I was in your shoes a few years back. And yes, I came close to giving up because my essays were just not coming out :) Fact is – Business Schools are looking for folks who can dream big. People who really aspire to change the world. Who have the courage to imagine the impossible, and then make it happen.
And like it or not, they want to see this reflected in your essays.
Now how does one go about doing this? How does one get into that mode when you are truly “in the zone”, imagining yourself to be this all powerful human being who is destined to make a difference? :)
In my case, I believe that looking for sources of inspiration helps. Things that motivate you, make you believe in yourself, realize that there are bigger things to strive for in life. And this inspiration can come from anywhere – from activities you engage in, to things you read, to even the music you listen to. The idea is to get into that “special place” where your essays “just flow”.
Here are a couple of things that I’ve seen work for people. Of course, each individual has his/her own preferences!
1. Reading biographies – reading how your idols have made it to where they are can be a big source of inspiration. Think Richard Branson’s “Losing my Virginity” or Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture”.
2. Reading news magazines – Magazines like the Economist, The New Yorker, etc., can again help open your mind.
3. Try fiction – Many folks swear by fiction and comics like Calvin and Hobbes! :) There are many pearls of wisdom hidden in these pieces of literary genius that might resonate with you.
4. Commencement speeches – try listening to some famous college commenecement speeches. Usually given by folks who have made it big in their respective fields, they can provide a different perspective on how you view life. Some great speeches to begin with – Steve Jobs’ speech at Stanford, JK Rowling’s speech at Harvard, Bill Waterson’s speech at Kenyon college.
5. TED Talks – I love TED talks for the sheer breadth of intelligence and creativity they bring together in one place. It is impossible not to find a talk on some topic or the other that won’t make you marvel at mankind’s genius! Visit www.ted.com to find out.
6. Engage in that hobby you love – Don’t just write about it in your essays! Whether it’s photography, hiking, film making, listening to music, cooking – do it. This is what relaxes you, this is what brings out the creative being inside you.
7. Talk to people you know and admire – whether it’s your manager, your team lead, or even your dad! Talk to them about how they did it. Learn and get inspired :)
8. Spend time thinking – Believe it or not, this really works for some people! Having a blank mind with nothing to focus on for some time can really work wonders.
9. Help others – Spend some time helping others selflessly. Whether at office, or your friends, your maid, your maid’s children, or even by volunteering at a local NGO. Doing work to bring joy to others is one of the best uses of your time, and cannot fail to inspire you.
10. Be happy and believe in yourself – More than anything else, be happy and keep smiling :) Make others happy around you :) Things will happen for you and whatever happens is for the best, so make sure you believe in yourself!
And if the creative juices are still not flowing, find a mentor - someone who can look into your past and suggest ideas from your own past experiences to address in your essays, who can identify your strengths and weaknesses, and push you in the right direction.
All the best!