Nothing beats learning by doing | Lak Rana’s success mantra

People often say that experience is the best teacher, and no one understands this better than Lak Rana. Pursuing your dreams requires working hard and ensuring you do everything in your power to make your dreams a reality, and that’s what he has done.

Understanding Lak requires learning more about his life story, which is equally fascinating and inspiring. Born in Punjab, India, life wasn’t easy for him, especially after his father passed away when he was young. His father’s death created many problems for his family, leaving his mother as the primary breadwinner and homemaker. Eventually his mother decided to move to Orange County, California, when he was seven, hoping to provide a better life and more opportunities for her children. 

Moving to a new country is always difficult, especially since you must adapt to a different culture, which means growing accustomed to different traditions. Migrating to the United States was particularly strenuous for Lak because he spoke no English. Moreover, he faced discrimination during his early days in the country because of his skin color, turban, and accent. 

While the family might have moved for better life opportunities, things weren’t as rosy as they might have thought. They lived in a cramped one-bedroom apartment infested with roaches. However, his mother always encouraged him to focus on school. She told him to work hard to get into a good college and carve a successful path for himself. 

Hence, while he enjoyed his childhood, he mostly focused his energy and time on studying. As a result, he never had the opportunity to pursue anything artistic as a career. In addition, devoting his focus to studying also meant missing out on things most children normally experience, such as going on vacation, attending parties, or going to prom. It’s unsurprising to those who know how strict Asian mothers can be. 

Despite his mother’s strictness, he often watched television shows and American movies. That’s how he learned to speak English. Then he imagined it might be fun to try his hand at acting. But unfortunately, he knew it wasn’t possible because his mother would be upset if he decided to pursue a career in something creative and artistic, like writing or acting. After all, these careers aren’t known for job stability. 

Eventually, the hard work paid off. Lak Rana enrolled in the prestigious UCLA. He graduated with a degree in Economics and began working as a Financial Analyst for Investor’s Business Daily Newspaper in Los Angeles. While the job was comfortable, it didn’t satisfy him because he still dreamed about his artistic passions. Thus, he decided to enroll at Playhouse West and learn acting. He would drive to class after work every night to hone his craft, learning the Meisner technique. He did this for nearly two years, but it became hectic, which led him to hatch a new plan. 

He applied to business schools and got a scholarship to attend the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Since the school was near Hollywood, it would allow him to audition while getting his degree. Fortunately for him, his professors were also incredibly supportive. They encouraged him when he told them about his acting plans. The two years of business school were difficult, but they paid off because he was a full-time actor doing commercials by the time he graduated. More importantly, he was making enough money to support himself.

That’s when he mustered the courage to tell his mother about his plans. He also started doing more comedy and performed at places around Los Angeles, including Groundlings and Second City. Eventually, after years of smaller roles, Lak finally got his big break, landing the role of Dr. Rashi on the soap opera General Hospital. He spent a few years on the show before taking a break to write his own pilot scripts and feature films for better roles. He currently has a TV show and a feature film in development. 

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