A mega movie release, negative criticism and hurt feelings.

The much awaited, big-budget Indian sci-fi movie, Ra.one, was released 2 weeks ago. It has been critiqued to death since then. The criticism, for the most, seems to be negative.

An acquaintance of mine, who has worked on this movie as a part of its visual effects team, was peeved by all the negative feedback. He made his unhappiness clear on FaceBook, asking people to respect the new visual effects breakthroughs in the Indian Film Industry.

My friend, without doubt, has worked hard and long or this movie. His FB updates about the movie started many months back, if I remember correctly, in the beginning of this year. When you have worked so hard and long for something, are you not justified in expecting some appreciation?

Is expecting  appreciation justified?

A lot of people will say it is a natural tendency to expect being praised. I say it is tendency that causes us a lot of agony. It can be, and it should be changed.

If you are working to be appreciated by others, your happiness and sense of self worth depend on their actions and reactions, you are at the mercy of their opinion. You will be happy only if they behave or react to your work in a certain way. Does this not mean that they control you, consciously or unconsciously? Is it prudent to let your happiness depend on their views?

What should we work for then?

I think it is better to find work that you love doing and then work for it’s own sake. Let the joy of your work be your ultimate reward. Don’t expect any appreciation, although be grateful when it comes by. If you are not doing something you love, rest assured happiness at work will remain a distant dream for you.

Appreciation is important, it is an indicator whether your work is creating good value for others. But don’t make it the ultimate reward you seek. Find something you enjoy and let the joy of work be your reward.

Hard work doesn’t always convert to good value.

Just because my friend has worked hard on this project, doesn’t automatically make it good in value. This may be a hard pill for him to digest. But look at it from the customers perspective. Customers have probably seen better special effects in other Hollywood flicks for the same price.

Customers care only about the end product. Period. They don’t care whether you take 10 mins or  10 months on your product, they don’t care whether it was a sudden, casual idea you developed on, or whether it was the dream product you had been planning all your life. They only judge the value of the end product on its own merits and by their own, individual standards. If they don’t like it, they don’t like it. Rather than getting angry, it makes more sense to take the valuable lessons this response has.

Making friends with failure

When you take the courage of sticking your head out, doing something different, you have to be ready for big setbacks and discouragement. You have to be ready for everyone to tell you that you are no good, and still have faith in yourself.

It is no mean feat, to try something unconventional. I commend my friend on trying an unconventional route, where his work will be seen and critiqued by all whom he knows and whom he doesn’t. Unlike the regular office goers, my friend has taken a bigger challenge in life. I can say the same for the people who made this movie. Superhero movies are not really a craze with Indians and these people displayed a lot of courage in coming up with one so extravagant.

But the fact remains, you hard work can lead to failure, and not just once, this may happen again, and then again… You have to rise back up, every time. That is what makes a life worth living, facing it in all its varied colors, never turning away, living and breathing the whole adventure. Yes, a lot of the scared one, who never pitch in all that they have on one dream, will laugh at you, show false sympathy. You have to smile with it. You have to keep climbing, keep going higher.

Other wise there is the slow death of fearing all this is just too much trouble and seeking safety. Decide for yourself, are you game to take the adventure with all its pitfalls and trials, or are you a chicken looking for a safe corner to hide as life passes by?

To my friend I have this to say – I hope you will learn from this unplesant feedback. I hope the adventurer in you will continue on this journey. I hope you will grow stronger and better with every such experience. My best wishes are with you.

Here are a few lines from Rudyard Kipling’s popular poem, If, that I feel like sharing here…

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

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