By Ali Mannan Tirmizi
Guide to applying for YSI
Ali Mannan Tirmizi became one of the 25 under 25 in 2017, and is now working with his team to ensure clean water for the world, through the project Xyla Water.
Apply only if you want to make an impact (Opens January 11)

If you're reading this, Congratulations!

You just took the very first step. Either you have committed to apply for YSI or are in the process of doing so. The application you are about to begin may just be the beginning of a life-altering moment for you. But don't worry, No pressure! For all great things begin with a decision and that decision doesn't come easy. Before we begin I would like to point out something. If you are applying for this program just for a free ride to Norway and for the sake of some party time, I would advise you to stop right there. The journey you are about to embark on is long and surreal. Only your passion and resolve to turn things around will drive you through the steep uphill journey that lies ahead. You should only apply for the Young Sustainable Impact Innovation Program only and only if; you really do want to make an impact.

At YSI, you will have a time of your life. Not because of the place, but because of the people around you. The sheer brilliance of the people you will meet, will not only inspire you but will also serve as constant motivation to bring out the best in your personality.

From our earthpreneurs event in 2017. Photo by Vilde Media
The Three Questions

Your aim should solely not be profit driven. If your intention is for pure profit then there are plenty of business incubators out there. YSI is not just like any other innovation program. Real life problem solving and making a positive impact on society is at the core of YSI. YSI is not just an event, it's a journey. A journey of a lifetime that the brave embark upon and never look back. Before hitting that apply button here are some questions that you need to ask yourself:

1. Am I passionate about changing the world?

If not, then the journey will take a toll on you and sooner or later you will burn out. Passion, perseverance and a 100% concentrated power of will to go against all odds is what keeps you going. A sense of purpose and passion is what wakes you up each morning and gets you going. You need to be ready to work on something much greater than yourself. Remember that you should be willing to move heaven and Earth to reach your goals.

2. Do I have time?

YSI is not just a five-month innovation program. Nope, that's just the start. The innovation program is just a preparation for forming your team and floating an idea and perhaps launching a prototype. The real work comes down the lane, after the program. Launching a startup is no easy task. It takes a lot of coordinated effort and time. If you are a student, doing a job or have other responsibilities, you should consider your position in terms of the time that you have up your sleeve. If your commitment and priorities aren't in line you might want to reconsider and apply when the time is right.

3. Am I ready for this?

It's extremely important to be the right person, for the right job at the right time. There's no shame in not being ready. Maybe you're committed elsewhere and might want to consider applying when you are ready or you have your stuff sorted out till then. In the nutshell, you need to be ready mentally and physically. The rest will follow.

If the answer to all of the above questions is a YES! That means that you MUST definitely apply. If No, don't sweat. YSI is here to stay and you can apply whenever you are ready.

This is the part where I share with you some tips on applying to YSI. Last year more than 10,000 people from all over the world applied to be a part of the 25 under 25 cohort for 2017. And truly so, I got to meet and befriend some of the most amazing, talented and driven individuals from around the globe. They weren't only nerdily smart but also the coolest, craziest and funniest lot ever. When it came to partying, they knew how to party and when it came to working, these people really knew how to put their heads down and work for excellence. They really followed the mantra: Work Hard, Party Harder!

Text author: Ali Mannan Tirmizi, 2017 cohort
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