Actor & Philanthropist Redefines Failure

Actor & Philanthropist Darasingh  Khurana redefines failure as he shares his inspirational story:

1. Share your journey in context to failure and success.

My journey has been no less than a roller coaster ride. I come from a small place called Parbhani in Maharashtra. I was always very actively involved in extra curricular activities since the very beginning and participated in dance competitions, dramas, debates etc. While growing up, I always knew I had to step out of the city and I felt Mumbai was my calling. It was quite a struggle to convince my family to allow me to study in Mumbai because I come from a conservative, joint Punjabi family and they always wanted me to stay with them. They wanted me to take care of my family business. I don’t think they were wrong in saying that because they moved to India during the partition and everything they had was left in the current Pakistan. My family started from selling tea outside a hospital in Haryana. Eventually they set up a furnishing business of their own. But I was very sure that I wanted to be in Mumbai and do something relative. I got admission in HR College in Mumbai. And my life changed. I realised that it was important to figure out my area of interest and work towards it. I took up various internships to figure out what my calling was and at the age of 18, I worked as an intern for a lifestyle brand, a clothing brand, a leading publication, a PR firm and then started my own cinematic wedding filming company at the age of 21. I became a fashion consultant for Hrithik Roshan, Sidharth Malhotra, Vidyut Jammwal and more and I also tried my hand at becoming a consultant to international SMEs, mainly European businesses. Post that I realised that acting/modelling is something I always wanted to do and in the course of trying out various things, I kind of forgot my dream. That’s when I gave Mr.India a shot and that changed my life, I was then the official representative of India for the tittle of Mister International. That’s where my journey started. 
When I was titled Mr India, my father said, 'Son don't just use this platform for your own fame, work for people, be an inspiration', and that is what touched me, I decided I wanted to influence people and youngsters to bring about a positive change and I got into philanthropy. After I had the title, I was sure that people would listen to me and will be influenced by me. That’s when I joined my hands with Datri, which is the world’s second largest blood stem cell donors registry. I became their ambassador to spread awareness about the cause. It was very satisfying to see smiles on people’s faces due to the efforts we'd put. Post that I associated with organisations like UNICEF India and WHO to spread awareness about their public health campaigns. Last year I formed Pause.Breathe.Talk Foundation, an initiative to help people struggling with mental health disorders. 

2. Share one incident in your life that completely changed your perspective about failure and success and how? (Narrate that incident/phase of life )

While growing up we are taught, success means having a lot of money, respect, owning your own house, a fancy car and to be able to help others when they are in need. No one ever talked about how mental peace, inner happiness, loving, and spending time with yourself are such important factors. Until a few months ago, when my work was booming as an entrepreneur, as a Philontrophist my NGO, Datri, had registered over 4,80,000 people to be potential blood stem cell donors making it the world’s second largest registry, I was shooting for my debut film and shooting for another international video abroad and traveling countries. Seeing my Instagram stories, anybody would think, that’s success! People around me wanted to live that life, but mentally, I was depressed. It was a very low phase of my life and that’s when the definition of success changed for me. Now, stability, mental peace and happiness within is success for me.

3. Discuss your initial fears and challenges and for anyone aspiring to join the philosophy world and how did you overcome those initial challenges? 
Your wish to spread smiles has to be stronger than the fears, if you are nodding your head while you are reading this, congratulations you can definitely help the world in many different ways. During the lockdown, I posted a story asking my Instagram family to share anything thats bothering them. I was so surprised to see messages for young adults, mainly 18-21 year olds, saying they wanted to commit suicide because of their relationship issues, domestic violence that they see in their family, etc. I was so shocked and thought these people needed professional help and the right thing would be to connect them to an affordable therapist. When I spoke to a few therapists, I realised they were so expensive that these guys would not be able to take more than 2 sessions while they needed to take atlesst 8-10 sessions. That's when the idea of starting a foundation that would make therapy affordable for people popped up and Pause Breathe Talk Foundation was formed. Initially, I had no idea how therapists work, how are psychiatrists different from therapists, when is there need of medication etc, I did research all of it and spoke to multiple therapists, understanding a new feild all together was challenging. I was scared if this plan could even be a success ? I thought of not giving up this time. Convincing therapists to charge clients just 250/- per session was another task. Then came the most difficult part to run the foundation smoothly, I did make mistakes, but like they say, the right way is to learn from your mistakes, I did learn and we grew as PBT Family. 

4.  Discuss a few growth habits/rituals you follow that completely changed your professional life?

- Make an effort to do good deeds regularly
- Donate a fixed percentage of your income to a cause 
- Take a lesson away from each experience
- As Marie Kondo says, ask yourself, “does this bring joy?” before purchasing
- Make sure to save a fixed percentage from your income each month 
5. Share 5 Learnings from your journey.

- Money will never solve your real problems 
- You don't always get what you want 
- There’s no shame in not knowing 
- You can't please everyone 
- Your health is the most valuable asset 

6. How to handle challenges/pressures/rejections/setbacks. Advice people on how to handle and cope with failures/rejections/setbacks/challenges in Context to your industry?

Initially, there was a period when setbacks would disturb me, but gradually I realised that setbacks and failures are actually helping me improve on myself. Usually we think we are capable enough, but after we objectively analyse ourselves we can understand our shortcomings. Now I personally don't consider setbacks or failures a disappointment. I consider them guidelines for self improvement. We have to keep on evolving ,learning and set higher standards to become competent to face competition. 

 7.Do you feel Fear of Failure and the Stigma attached to Failing are issues that need to be talked about if yes then why? 

Talking and expressing failures is a good practice because we are able to share our feelings and seek guidance from our well wishers. If we learn to understand our strengths and weaknesses, we are able to work on improving our skills and accepting the fact that there are areas we do lack, and to accept a failure gracefully is worth learning and we must understand that. All failures are  stepping stones to success and self improvement.
 8. Failing It Up is an initiative to De-stigmatize Failing by Redefining Failure. What are your thoughts about the initiative Failing It Up? Will this initiative help in creating an environment of growth by changing people's mindset about failing? How do leaders like you perceive failures differently that the thought of quitting doesn't occur in our minds?
As an initiative it is an excellent idea. I think it will be a very helpful platform for people to know how others are adjusting to failures and yet continue to pursue their dreams, all we need to do is change our mindset, look from a different perspective without feeling biased towards ourselves. History has many examples of exemplary men and women who were rejected and who later proved themselves to be brilliant role models in every sphere. Amitabh Bachchan, rejected as an actor and a voice, Abraham Lincoln, Dr Abdul Kalam and so many, who were considered not capable enough but soon they overcame that setback and worked passionately towards achieving what they desired. So all in all failures and setbacks should be taken in good spirit.