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Small Talk With Nikita Gupta

CHANGE leaders do great things, and often that is all we know about them. Here we want to get a different glimpse of the personalities that constitute the development space. Every month we get one leader to answer four questions, not necessarily about their work, but about themselves. This week we catch up with Nikita Gupta, founding member of School of Life.

As a psychologist and educator, Nikita works towards promoting healthy sexual development of children and the prevention of sexual violence. She developed and executed education programmes on sexuality and sexual abuse prevention with School of Life (SoL), a Gurgaon-based social enterprise.

SoL’s programmes have directly reached out to nearly 17,000 individuals so far, including children, parents and teachers at various schools and institutions.

Nikita previously worked as a trainer and education leadership coach for government school principals in Mumbai and rural Rajasthan, and has been a consultant for the Gandhi Fellowship programme. After seven years of working with schools and nonprofits, she is currently pursuing a Masters in Education at Harvard University.

Small Change: One book you would recommend to someone who wanted to expand their mind. What’s inspiring about it?

N.G: I can be a somewhat grim person, and tend to be drawn to grim books. And while there are perhaps many books that talk about living a purposeful life, Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning was the first one to prompt me to think in that direction. It’s great for anyone who wonders about the meaning of their life or existence.

SC: What’s one self-improvement goal you are working on currently?

N.G: Health! I’m a couch potato and junk food connoisseur, and my body is beginning to revolt against it. So I’m trying to give up the couch at least if not the food.

SC: What is the bravest thing you’ve done or said to a group of people? 

N.G: You know that thing called coordination? My limbs don’t know the concept- they fly in all directions. So it usually takes me a while to muster the courage to dance in parties, and when I do, I think I’m at my bravest.

SC: Are you an introvert, extrovert or a combination of both? Do you think these labels are too limiting?

N.G: Both. There are people who refuse to believe I’m an introvert and others who are shocked to see my more sociable side (cocktails often play a crucial role here, though).

About that second question – Susan Cain addresses it a lot better in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking than I ever will. All introverts should read it.

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