Pragya Agarwal only just survived the birth of her first child. She spent months of her pregnancy in hospital, had an emergency c-section, lost a lot of blood during childbirth and contracted a life-threatening illness from the subsequent transfusion. When she recovered, she fled India for the UK on a scholarship, where she worked on her PhD alongside part-time jobs, raising her child with sole custody. She’s since taken up a prestigious academic position, survived workplace bullying, anxiety and depression, had twins and launched her own business as an artist. Last year, she was diagnosed with cancer – but that didn’t stop her from hosting her own TED Talk event for 125 women and continuing to run her business.
When she gives me this astonishing life summary, it comes with a caveat: “This isn’t to brag about my achievements in any way,” she says. “I don’t think that I am fearless. I get scared, I get angry, I also cry a lot but mostly I fight through and setbacks often make me even more stubborn. I don’t sit and dwell on failures for too long, I accept them as part of my life, and I am always looking at how I can move past to the next step.”
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