Ashrith Shetty - Taking Up Motivational Speaking as a Career is Plastic (Motivational Speaker | TEDx from Bengaluru)

A few years ago, no profession called "Personal Shopper" or "Sneaker collector existed." But they exist now! So I neither thought nor believed "Motivational Speaker" could be a profession! If you look at the greater masters like Swami Vivekananda or Shri Siddeshwar Swamiji, they never said they were "Motivational Speakers."

1. Tell us more about what you do and what led you to speak on this platform.

By profession, I am a software Engineer working in an MNC. Since I was a kid, I have been passionate about Everything about computers. So I am a techie by choice. In 2022, I was awarded the Master Inventor title for having 12 patents in my name.

As a hobby, I am a short-film maker and Scriptwriter. The previous one, "Chakraview", was featured in Kolkatta Film Festival 2018. Currently, I have been working on another Short film script for a very long time and hope to bring it to life by 2024.

I am not a professional photographer, but I love photography. And as an avid traveler, I co-own a travel website with my spouse.

2. How do you choose and prepare for a talk?

I really don't choose anything specific. If the platform is relevant, I go ahead and speak. Ted and Tedx talks have always been inspiring. After becoming a master inventor, my mentor suggested I apply for a TEDx talk.

When it comes to preparing for the talk - I speak of what I have done and what I know. I imagine myself as a listener. If I were one among the audience, would I enjoy listening to the speaker talking? If yes, then I will choose that topic. If my story isn't intriguing, it will bore the audience. I am a "people person" who loves spending time with family. So most of my stories revolve around family and friends. And, of course, what I learn on the road as a traveler is what makes most of my talk.

3. How can one become a public speaker?

Knowing your audience is key. For example, you can't talk to a group of toddlers about how Chat GPT works or how friendly Japanese people are. On the other hand, when I speak to my younger cousins going to high school about Harry Potter, they wonder what Harry Potter is. Because they are anime or K-Drama lovers. So knowing your audience is very important.

Speaking publicly isn't about using highly sophisticated language or boasting about yourself. Connecting with the audience is very important. The word "I" or "Me" should be used the least when you speak. The listener should be part of your talk; it isn't about self-boasting. The audience may not be talking to you while you are on stage. But you should align their thoughts with yours. Being Colloquial and common is the best way to start. Of course, you must be confident in believing in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will. The key to being confident as a public speaker is, to be honest, and truthful - You have nothing to fear when speaking the truth. As you are not fabricating something new, there is nothing for you to forget.

4. Can motivational speaking become a full-time career?

A few years ago, no profession called "Personal Shopper" or "Sneaker collector existed." But they exist now! So I neither thought nor believed "Motivational Speaker" could be a profession! If you look at the greater masters like Swami Vivekananda or Shri Siddeshwar Swamiji, they never said they were "Motivational Speakers."

Shri Siddeshwar Swamiji said, "Everything good in the world has been said. All that remains is practicing that." To motivate others, one must be motivated first and have achieved something. So, one day you can't just decide, "I am going to be a motivational Speaker." A vivacious reader and an avid traveler may know a lot. But unless they do something good for society and are content with themself, they can't motivate others.

When you look at Smt Sudha Murthy, she never said, "I am going to be a professional social worker." Her goal was to do something good for society rather than to become a professional social worker. So I strongly believe "Taking up Motivational speaking as a career is plastic." It has to happen organically. Not forced. 

5. Which is your favorite talk ever, and how did it change your life?

I want to mention two.

In one of the talks, Smt Sudha Murthy talks about "Tathaagatha" - accept as it comes. "Made to order," "Custom Stitched", and "Customized" these phrases are not only famous in retail, but we tend to do it in our life too. We want to alter most of the things around us because we assume altering makes it perfect! But the world isn't just about you. There is you and also me, plus lots of others. So trying to control every situation to bring it to your order is unnecessary and brings in a lot of appointments. Accepting things as it comes and taking wise actions as a consequence is what she emphasizes. That has helped me a lot!

The second talk is by Sadguru's Isha Kriya, where you tell yourself, "You are not your body and not your mind." I learned to have a detachable attachment to worldly things. This has given me great relief and has helped me accept rejections.

6. What are the best public speaking tips that have worked for you?

As a child, I was horrible at memorizing things! So I always struggled in language subjects where I had to by-heart poems. And I am a forgetful person. So when I prepare for public speaking, I jot down the sequence of stories rather than the exact words. 

7. What impact do you want to make in the world?

It is too big of a question for a commoner like me! I don't know if I can create an impact in the world. I am not a scientist who invented vaccination for COVID. Nor an astronaut like our beloved APJ Abdul Kalam. I am an admirer of Steve Jobs and Narayan Murthy. You need to become big like them to make an impact on the world. As of now, I am just a growing bud.

Being born in Dakshina Kannada district and having done my schooling in an institution run by Sri Dr. Veerendra Hegde, I want to follow his path regarding education. So whatever I am today is because of my education. So I sponsor students for their studies and will continue the same.

8. Which is your favorite book and why? 

I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I can never have enough of her detective stories. But a book I have read a dozen times and am sure to read more is Malgudi days. It reminds me of childhood. There is no glory in the story, but it is spectacular. It is very true to its time. There is no exaggeration; it is pure and deep-rooted to the time.

Brief Bio:

Experienced Software Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in JSON, Agile Methodologies, Eclipse, Core Java, and Shell Scripting. Strong engineering professional with a Bachelor's degree focused in Computer Science from the National Institute of Engineering, MYSORE.

Interviewed By - Deeksha Ramesh