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Hardworking, charismatic and sincere- Nikhil Taneja inspires people to follow their passion and succeed in their work.

Yuvaa's CEO and co-Founder Nikhil Taneja shares his thoughts on social media, coping with clinical anxiety, and inspiring others to pursue their passions.


"One of the reasons I started thinking of myself from a human lens was because earlier I used to think of myself from the lens of being a man." Nikhil shared.

Nikhil, a science student, found his true passion in writing and the arts. Despite publishing over 100 articles before the age of 18, his gender and societal expectations limited him as he felt pressured to pursue engineering due to being "a boy" and the belief that "only smart people take engineering." While he diligently studied engineering, his heart longed to write, leading him to become the editor of his college's magazine. He said, "I did everything to distract myself from studying engineering."


Nikhil's determination in engineering landed him two jobs, proving his capabilities to his parents. He then requested two years from his parents to pursue his writing career, which eventually led him to become the successful man he is today - the CEO of Yuvaa.


He said, "I've done everything a boy my age should do to prove to my parents that I'm worthy." Later, he was diagnosed with clinical anxiety and had to undergo therapy because of the pressure he'd been putting on himself to meet the expectation of being a man. It was then that he realised he didn't want to fit into the category of a typical man, and that he would rather be seen as a human. 

He also shares that everyone is more than the label given to them. In his case, he's a man and feels pressured to meet certain expectations. He believes that only when we realise we are more than the label given to us, can we see that we have a story beyond the label. "The day that I started believing I'm more than the label given to me, that's when I started accepting myself as a human first," he says.


When asked about his thoughts on producing content that doesn't rely on current trends, he said, "I hate social media." Despite running a digital organisation, his interests don’t lie in social media, but rather, its value. He further adds that we don't live in an ideal world where we can freely share everything we want. He shares the motto "Make important things interesting or interesting things become important," which Yuvaa adopts. He points out that interesting things have gained importance as people use trends to their advantage, often resulting in those interesting things becoming unimportant. He says social media is akin to the essays we wrote back in the day on "fire is a necessary evil." He adds that social media is addictive and can lead to loneliness, but at the same time, there is power in it, and only if we understand it can we get the word across interestingly. He concludes by posing a question, "We can't break the system, but can we hack it to get your point across?"- a strategy he employs at Yuvaa.


Nikhil's transformation from conforming to societal expectations as a man to embracing his identity as a multifaceted human being is a powerful story of self-discovery and resilience. His journey reflects the struggles many individuals face in navigating the pressures of gender norms and societal labels while pursuing their true passions and aspirations.


Through his experiences, Nikhil emphasises the importance of breaking free from the confines of labels and recognising the complexity of individual identities. He supports authenticity and self-acceptance, urging others to embrace their uniqueness beyond societal expectations.


Furthermore, Nikhil's perspective on the role of social media in amplifying voices and driving change offers valuable insights into digital platforms for meaningful storytelling. Despite his reservations about social media's pitfalls, he acknowledges its potential as a tool for empowerment and social impact when used thoughtfully and creatively.


As the CEO of Yuvaa, he inspires others to reclaim their narratives, challenge stereotypes, and foster a more inclusive society where everyone's story is celebrated.


Written by Sanjana N.

Sanjana wrote this article as a participant of the Media-Makers Fellowship's April'24 cohort.

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