This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.
Life is amazing. It’s an opportunity to do amazing things. I want to max out my life before I die. I want to do so much, I want to be what I can be and I want to leave a mark.
I have an aunt. She is a great realist. She is very helpful in many ways. However, for many years her voice used to ring in my ears, telling me why I should not dream too much. I stopped seeing her after high school, but that voice was so internalised that it continued to criticize me well into my adulthood. It took me a lot of work on myself to get that voice out of my head.
That voice represented my hard learned middle class values in my head. A self imposed limitation that drove me crazy. One more lesson from life that I had to unlearn to be free to pursue my destiny.
Don’t waste your parent’s money preparing for IIT, she said. Your maths is not that good, she would point out.
I refused to accept that. I prepared for IIT until I changed my mind as I discovered about National Law Universities. Then I wanted to be a lawyer.
You are an introvert. You will not make a good lawyer, she said. You are making a terrible career choice. You will suffer from inferiority complex when you go to an English medium law school because you never studied in English medium schools, she said. You will get bad marks in exams as you try to learn English and law both at the same time.
And she was damn right. Her observations were on point. But she was also wrong. I was not going to compromise because of my limitations. She had never seen someone transforming. I transformed myself. It was a metamorphosis.
From extreme introvert, I taught myself to become an extrovert.
From being unable to form a single sentence in English, I taught myself to write and speak better than most native English speakers.
There is no stopping when you don’t let the middle class voice of reason and limitation in your head stop you from making irrationally bold choices. I was not going to be middle class. I am going to win. I am going to be outstanding. I will do things nobody ever imagined. I will change the world.
That’s what my heart said, and I listened. I listened to my dreams, and ignored my doubts.
If it was up to my aunt, I would be a school teacher.
Safe, sure, no risks. Easy.
Well, that wasn’t going to be. I am the rebel. More you tell me I can’t do something, more I want to do it. I will go to extreme lengths to achieve what people tell me I can’t achieve.
What do you want?
Most people want to live a life of significance. They want to be extraordinary. They want a path to great success.
Actually, every single person wants that. Or wanted that at some point in life. Without exception.
But most never find that path. Most people give up. Most people are told that they don’t deserve to be extraordinary. They are told to look for safety and security instead. They get addicted to comfort. They get addicted to negative downward spirals of emotions and unproductive thought patterns that never let them do the real work that counts.
Most of our environment nudges us towards that behaviour. Coupled with our own insecurities and human weaknesses, that is a deadly combination that keeps success out of the equation.
If it was up to my father, I would be an engineer at Infosys. That’s what he could imagine as the most amazing career and he wanted it for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that career, but I dreamt of a different life. I wanted bigger things in life.
Understanding the Why
My parents said that they believed in me exploring my interests, but they were dead scared in reality. And I totally understand why. They lived through turbulent times and saw great difficulties in life. The entire middle class of that generation put a premium on survival, and not on growth.
We are living in a very different world today. Our aspirations, imagination and ambitions are much bigger, thanks to the floor our parents’ generation gave us to stand on.
But that’s also a trap. They told us we must dream big, but also taught us to fear the unknown. They told us we got to be rich, but did not show us how to invest. They told us, very incorrectly, that the ladder of success is clearing exam after exam, and then getting promotions at work. They told us to dream big but also asked us to be risk averse, obedient, home-loan paying nice little employees.
I grew up in a middle class family, surrounded by middle class values, and was told to soak in the middle class inferiority complex, bad habits about money, and other ideas that put ambitious middle class boys and girls in their place.
But somewhere down the line, I had to rewrite the programming in my brain. I had to unlearn those values to discover what I really had to do. I had to reinvent the wheel for myself. I had to create a new blueprint of success that was going to give me breakthrough success.
And I did it. I am still on my way up, but what I already did seems incredible in hindsight. How did I come this far?
Because I am asking you to read a book, full of crazy ideas, it is best I make you feel a little more comfortable by telling you about myself.
Who am I?
I went to a top ranked NLU myself. I even ranked 2nd in the law entrance test.
Before that, I went to a vernacular Bengali medium school. It was damn hard for me to give the entrance in English. So I mugged up Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to improve my vocab.
When I joined law school, I could not speak English at all. I taught myself how to speak English by repeating the dialogues of Hollywood movies. Now I get paid a lot of money to give a talk. Even before I graduated, I began charging a lot of money for delivering lectures for law entrance.
Since then, I have taken classes and workshops in major IITs, NITs and top business schools like ISB, delivered TEDx talk at IIM, and before professional bodies like press clubs and industry associations. I have been hired by India’s top corporations to deliver talks to their employees and top brass, and the most concessional rate I charge to speak at an event is INR 10,000, and that is reserved only for educational institutions.
If someone told me I would be paid INR 10,000 for a few minutes of speaking, I would have found it hard to digest back in college.
When I tried mooting for the first time, I could not even write a memo. Next time I tried, I got thrown out of the moot court by judges for being incoherent. They could barely understand what I was saying and thought I was misleading the court, that’s how bad I was. When I tried debating, I came 2nd last in the entire university and the one who did worse than me was last only because he showed up drunk at the debate and insulted the judges. By the time I graduated, I had gotten into the coveted international mooting team, and represented my university in Hong Kong and Oxford, and bagged honourable mentions in the international arena.
I started by being socially awkward, with no friends. Nobody I would be interested in wanted to date me when I was in college. I was a pariah for a very long time. I was depressed and hopeless for years. But I found my way, crawled out of the holes I had dug for myself, and achieved every success I imagined.
I built a circle of influence and made great friends. I became an amazing networker and someone with charisma. I have learnt to create meaningful relationships and close bond with people that matter to me, rapidly and surely.
I was appreciated in the internships I went to because I did work that was beyond what was expected of me. I got multiple offers from top law firms and negotiated to get more privileges than what other batchmates got!
I started my own legal risk management consultancy while I was still in 4th year of college, and managed to land real clients and valuable legal work. As a law student, I collaborated with friends to lead a 2 Cr FDI investment into a tech startup in Kolkata. We managed to work for conglomerates like Vibgyor and L&T as consultants and got paid even before we graduated.
I created study material and courses that were used by thousands of law students and others even before I graduated, and earned close to a lakh per month and often more throughout my 4th and 5th year.
I managed to do very well academically as well. I started iPleaders blog as a law student, and managed to make it worlds biggest law blog eventually, with over a million unique users every month. I was asked by a large media house last year if I would sell it to them for an outrageous amount that would allow me to retire very rich right away (the number I can’t discuss for obvious reasons). I didn’t take any interest in that offer, because I know that’s shortchanging my vision.
I started India’s most trusted and respected legal education platform LawSikho, used by thousands of top lawyers and companies like ICICI, ITC, Mahindra, Samsung and Microsoft.
I started and shut down ClikLawyer.com, a legal services business at a time when it was earning 7-8 lakhs a month at an 80% profit margin because I wanted to move to Goa to live there. I could do this because in the last 8 years since graduation, I have created multiple sources of revenue for myself, and as a co-owner of multiple successful online businesses, I enjoy a degree of freedom and autonomy that most successful lawyers will be very jealous of!
I am also extremely clued in into the legal industry, as I train, coach and speak to thousands of lawyers from each sector of the economy that you can think of. I get to know stuff you will read in newspapers after months. I have insights you will never ever hear of simply because you do not have that kind of network.
For dozens of law firm partners, associates, general counsels, legal entrepreneurs and even Vice Chancellors of top universities, I am a trusted advisor and collaborator. I also directly get mentorship from some of the top people in the industry.
And it’s not just me, I am blessed with an amazing team of over 30 full time colleagues. We are all working together towards the same goal, which is to transform legal education, access to legal information and transform access to justice in India.
So let’s just say I can tell you a thing or two about how to get outsized, unusual results in your life as a law student and then as a lawyer eventually. There are very few people who have worked on this exact subject as much as I have. You will not regret reading the advice or information I am going to share with you.
The science of getting extraordinary results: be scared of conventional wisdom and bull runs in the stock market
Here is the thing about conventional wisdom. It can only give you average results. If everyone knows it, if everyone believes it, if everyone is trying to do it – then it is too late. It is then not remarkable. It is not going to be an outlier in terms of rewards. It can be at best average or below average.
Let’s take stock picking for example. If everyone is buying into a stock, that means it is already too late to buy it. If you invest now, you are probably going to lose money.
You make a profit by buying stocks that are undervalued because people have not realised the real value of those stocks yet. This is how Warren Buffet invests. That’s how he became the richest investor in the world and grandfather of current capitalism.
To make an outsized profit, you need to know a secret that most people do not know yet. So you have to go against to crowd to succeed. When the market is going on a bull run, it’s usually time to sell. And when the market is irrationally deflated, known as a bear market, it is time to buy more because you get good stocks at attractive prices! However, most people do the opposite, due to fear of missing out, known as FOMO.
Your life and career as a law student is not all that different.
When I went to a law school, legal education was undervalued. It was the stock that was priced low because the market had not yet realised its potential. Law schools were still a secret only a few people understood and the middle class was suspicious of it.
So the tuition fees were very low compared to what they are today. What we paid for 5 years of legal education, now law students are paying in a single semester or a single year. People are ready to pay that much and law schools realised that and they are exploiting that to the hilt.
People were not willing to pay even the super low fees when I went to NUJS in 2011. Many of the people who got through to NUJS back in 2006 did not join NUJS and went on to study economics, commerce etc. That would be unthinkable today.
But remember, the right time to jump onto a trend is before it becomes a trend. When the trend is not a secret anymore but conventional wisdom, it is already too costly, too difficult, and return on investment is probably too low.
That’s the scene with NLUs these days. I had to take an educational loan to join NUJS. I was able to pay it back in its entirety within 5 months after starting my job. Currently the fees are so high that it would take me a decade if I joined law school and was starting my first job in 2019.
That would mean that I would not have been able to start iPleaders one year after finishing college. I would have to work for much longer in a job to pay back the loan as I would not take the risk of doing a startup with a huge loan on my head. Actually, I may not have been able to go to an NLU at all given how expensive it has become. My parents would not have qualified for a huge 15-20 lakhs loan in the first place.
But you know what, you do not have to necessarily go to an overpriced NLU to succeed today. I would have found another way to succeed. It is great if you can afford those fees. NLUs offer better education than most other law colleges. But if you can’t afford it, not all is lost.
There are other amazing ways that have opened up. Tons and tons of new ways to succeed, even if you do not get to go to a top NLU for any reason whatsoever.
So one thing I don’t want you to do is use the excuse that by missing out on the bus to go to an NLU or some other famous law college you are now in an irreversible inferior position. Not going to an NLU is no excuse for being a bad lawyer, or not getting the success that you want in life.
It is possible to do amazing things without going to an NLU. And I have taken out the time to create this blueprint for you that will show you step by step what exactly you could do to do 10X better than the average topper of an NLU.
Yes, I am damn serious about that promise.
What I will be teaching you in the book would be unusual, contrarian, at times scary, mostly against conventional wisdom, but do not worry. That is the way.
Consider these to be undervalued stocks. You are going to be early investors and you are going to get a massive return on investment. Trust me and jump into this journey. Each and everything in this book is field tested and confirmed to work 100%. I have coached hundreds of my students in LawSikho to use these techniques, and they are doing amazing things in their lives today.
In a few years, there would be a day when the rest of the world will wake up to this amazing methodology, and these will become part of conventional wisdom. You would want to see those days of course, and you will be happy and rewarded beyond your dreams when that happens. You will be considered pioneers and leaders of a new era in law.
Do not lose patience but! Keep at it, keep investing your time, money and effort into these undervalued stocks I am going to tell you about.
And when these do get old, don’t worry. You will get more and more insights from me that will keep you on top of the food chain. Just stick with me.
Also, you probably want me to keep sending you more and more insights on what other amazing things you could do to stay on top. So just visit this page and sign up to download the book, unless you have already done that, so that I can send you a series of amazing mails.
Also, follow me on Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, because I share tons of exclusive content in all these places. Following me on these channels would mean you would keep getting get fresh, inspiring and life-changing content from me every once in a while. If you don’t like what you see, you can always unfollow me.
I am also going to tell you about my courses and other products from time to time. They are amazing, but even if you don’t want to buy them, it’s OK. Just remember that I am able to send so much amazing content to you for free because a lot of people pay for what I charge money for.
So don’t hate on the marketing, it enables the free stuff too! If I could not market whatever it is that I am marketing, I could not share tons and tons of amazing free content with you, could I?
So help me to do this even better, show your support, and help me to reach more people.
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