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Not-so-idiotic lessons I learned from ‘The 3 Idiots’

Not-so-idiotic lessons I learned from ‘The 3 Idiots’

The 3 Idiots is a Bollywood film that revolves around the story of Ranchoddas ‘Rancho’ Shamaldas Chanchad, Farhan Qureshi, and Raju Rastogi. Their lives intertwined as college students in the most prestigious engineering university, the Imperial College of Engineering (ICE). The unlikely friends navigate life to survive in a culture where their life is already predetermined by their family and society.

Not-so-idiotic lessons I learned from ‘The 3 Idiots’

We have different time zones

After watching 3 Idiots, Rancho easily became my role model growing up. He enjoyed his college life because he loves what he was doing and he was not miserable like other engineering students. His outlook on life forever changed my perspective on studying, passion, and life in general.

Farhan and Raju, on the other hand, were like every other student in ICE. Farhan was miserable as an engineering student. His family predetermined his fate the minute he was born, steering him away from his passion for wildlife photography. Meanwhile, Raju possessed a passion for studying engineering but was overwhelmed with the pressure of carrying his family out of poverty.

I was so naïve to think being like Rancho in the future was easy and simple. Growing up, I learned life is not as easy as I thought it would be.

As a graduating student, the feeling of uncertainty weighs heavily on my mind. The uncertainty of where I’d work or whether or not I’m passionate enough to pursue Journalism. Initially, I thought I’m just inexperienced and comforted myself that I can learn as I go. However, as time passed by, the gravity of the work journalists do made me more unsure of pursuing a career. There’s a nudging guilt of studying Journalism and not being able to pursue it after.

I started to realize I’m becoming more like Farhan and Raju than Rancho as I grew older. The pressure of having it all figured out while trying to have fun keeps me up at night.

3 Idiots teaches me that my life may seem like Farhan’s and Raju’s now, but their life in the movie eventually became like Rancho’s. Their lives became carefree and with its own purpose. Of course, people like Rancho who know what they want in life and enjoy life at this very moment exist. But, there are also people like Farhan and Raju who figures out life a little later and that’s okay.

Life is not a race

The Bollywood film begins by saying ‘Life is a race. Run fast or you’ll be trampled upon’ and that idea is embedded everywhere. There seems to be competition in everything—in getting a degree, having a relationship, marriage, building a career, etc.

The most important life lesson I’ve learned in 3 Idiots is that life is not a race. The best of life comes to us in different periods. The peak of our lives come in different times. Some may come at the same time as others, some may arrive there sooner, and some a little later. We may even go back down after reaching our peak and some may continue going up. Some have their lives in a constant upwards and downwards cycle. One thing’s for sure—our time will come but it’s up to us to be happy in the present.

The film showed me that we focus on being happy depending on where we are in life. We fixate on the next big thing that even though we just accomplished one thing, we don’t appreciate it.

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Before, I believed that the only time I could be happy was when I had achieved the end goal. This mindset had only made me feel miserable about the journey. I pushed aside small signs of growth because I felt like it’s not worth celebrating.

I realized then that I’m far from Rancho’s mindset. He’s not enjoying his life because he had it all figured out. In the movie, he didn’t start enjoying his life just because he knew he’d be an engineer someday. He simply loved the journey of learning and discovering new things instead of obsessing over results.

Do not be anxious

Out of all the scenes from the film, this is the most impactful. Rancho was encouraging Raju to say ‘Aal izz Well’ when he’s feeling afraid. After this, Raju asked if saying it would solve his problems to which Rancho replied ‘no’. Rancho explained it would not solve his problems but he’s going to have the courage to face it.

The life lesson I’ve learned from this scene is that the only way we can overcome a problem is by having the courage to face it. Learning starts with acceptance. Acceptance that we will always start as a beginner and all it takes is the courage to take the first step.

This Bollywood film is truly ahead of its time. 3 Idiots taught me to dream big and live life with a purpose. But most importantly, it taught me to appreciate the present. The world is too big, and life is too precious to just stay and live inside my head.

If you’re like me who spends most of her day inside her head rather than living, I encourage you to say— ‘All is Well’. Everything will fall into its rightful place and things will turn out for the good in the end. Live your life now because it only comes once.

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