Look around you in this room. Introduce yourself to someone. Strike up a conversation. Make a friend. Learn what he or she does for a living. Think about ways you can collaborate with them to create something that will live forever. Become an innovator.

Competition is good, but collaboration is even better! I have lived on this planet for three decades and have never found a single Indian soul who could think this way, both during my time in India and my time in the United States with Indians living here. What a shame, isn’t it?

I have seen Korean friends at Pratt Institute helping other Koreans, Chinese helping Chinese. But whenever I approached people from my own country, a wave of competitiveness hit me in the face every single time.

Any drop of help would come through a tap that was so tightly screwed and locked just like their brains. Showing them what an open minded person can achieve was the most challenging thing to do.

Finding disconnection in my own community helped me understand what I can achieve by embracing other cultures and learning to cooperate like them.

And I learned to take every rejection as strength and inspiration.