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Believe in the Power of Youth
I am a believer in the power of youth. Youngsters are most of the time very interested, they may not have the wherewithal at the beginning but as you groom them and help them grow, they are sincere.
Especially in Ladakh, people are fearless about extreme conditions; they work thFrough out and take it as a challenge and adventure, not just in physical means but also in spirit. The whole story about each of my work is that I almost don’t start something unless I have some young people to work with me. Because very soon then they take over and I can move to a fresh idea again with a group of young people such that they can take it forward. Drive your venture with the desire to solve problems. My idea of building ice stupas came from my drive to combat the problem of water scarcity.
The region where I reside is a desert anyway. Climate change and fast melting glaciers means there is erratic water supply. So using ideas, science and other innovative ways to solve the problem was most important for me. With an aim to change the face of higher education not only for Ladakh but the whole world, I engage students to find solutions by working for real life problems like climate change. Ice stupas are about saving the water that is not used in winter when there is no farming in the form of ice mountains or cones that look like stupas to use them when it is spring. That way you can solve the problem of spring water shortage is when real glaciers don’t melt.
Take Intelligent Risks
My advice for millennials is to minimize the risk as much as you can by rehearsing in your mind what the likely outcomes are. Intelligent risks not foolhardy mess that you might make and deter other people also from taking those risks. You need to take risks very cleverly in a deeply-engaged manner. The calculated risk-taking ability and perseverance to follow who says what and no matter if it fails once or twice or thrice as long as you believe it is the answer is what will steer you towards success.
Money Always Comes Second
I feel for an entrepreneur to fight the tide and follow his dreams; they have to be driven by their desire to solve problems that people have. Money is always secondary. I feel you should not be an entrepreneur just because it is fashion. You need to have the burning fire to solve some problem, something that keeps you awake till late night. And then you are ready to take risks and not just risks, but calculated risks. I have been raising funds for building ice stupas via crowd funding initiatives.
Believe You Can Do It
My project to make Ice stupas is faced by many challenges. The main challenge is that it is a new field. There are no books we can learn from, there are no people we can learn from, it is an untrodden path so therefore, you have to make every component by yourself with hammers in crude ways.
Like it was challenging for us to work in -20 to -30 degrees, at midnight or early in the morning, but I still consider them smaller challenges. But I believe, tomorrow when there is more focus and more money in my field of work, there will be people who will specialize in better things to solve the problem of water scarcity in Ladakh.
(This article was first published in the February issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)