Advait Mani

I'm Advait Mani, and I write for fun. Now I could go on and on and on about how good I am at writing, or I could preach. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to let you get to know me:

A man is defined by his ideals, and what he does about them. I’ve always thought that there are two types of people. First, people who have ideals, but do nothing about them. These are the people that have no skin in the game whatsoever, but are inclined to preach at every chance. This is something I don’t want to be. Secondly, people who allow their ideals to take shape in the real world, who allow their ideals to grow into actions. These actions may change the world, for the better or worse. At this point, I’d like to introduce myself into the picture. I’m 15, and I have ideals. I’ve always believed in four things.

First and foremost, to always do the right thing, no matter what the repercussions may be. The lack of a moral compass can be the most destructive force in a person’s life. It opens doors to the unethical, which ultimately lead to one’s downfall.

Secondly, to think out of the box. After all, thinking differently has been the thing that has brought change in the world for all these years. I believe that only when one rises above the thinking that is imbibed in us, when we withdraw from the shell of traditional thinking we construct for ourselves, do we come across true ideas. This holds true for everything, including and especially entrepreneurship. This stems from the fact that every idea for a company or product, every idea that has been successful, has solved an existing problem in the market, a problem like price or quality, in the most efficient way possible. The only way to maximize efficiency, is to solve the problem differently. Come to think of it, every innovative solution to a problem has come from thinking out of the box, from separating oneself from the trend of traditional thinking. This is why I believe that if I am to be a successful entrepreneur, I must think differently.

Thirdly, I am a firm believer in the power of debate and discussion. When people talk of changing the world, they often forget that it is not possible to do so unilaterally. If one does not try to understand the problem as well as possible, the solution may fall short. The only way to gain a better understanding of a problem, is to view it from different perspectives. The best way to do this is discussion. Due to this, I believe that debate is the most integral step to change.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve always let one quote by Mahatma Gandhi guide me, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If I want to see I better world, then I have to do something about it. Now, it would be hypocritical of me to sit in one place, and enumerate my ideals, being exactly the type of person I don’t ever want to be. To combat this, I’d like to share an anecdote. . A few months ago, I was attending a campaign against burning of waste called “People Against Air Pollution”. Here, people started to give speeches and explain their points of view regarding air pollution. I noticed that everybody there seemed to blame the either the government or its officials for the bad situation in our city. I didn’t agree with this, and was originally scared to voice my opinion. Then, when I finally mustered up the courage to speak, I talked about how there was plenty of legislation, plenty of laws against the burning of waste, but it was due to our ignorance and lack of proactivity that they aren’t followed. The true reason for air pollution is that we don’t make the effort to combat it. This speech of mine, I suddenly realized, was leadership. Leadership is about guiding a ship in the right direction, and if I had managed to convince even person there to make change themselves, I had shown leadership. But most of all, I was happy, because I had made an effort, an effort that even if it went in vain, was something to be proud of.

 In conclusion, I’d like to put all of this together, all the ideals I’ve mentioned, and call it “merit”. In the end, all I’d like to say is that I don’t really care whether I reach my destination, as long I know I was walking in the right direction.