Uplift your newsfeed with Dinuka Jay

By Mahika Panditha

Hello again everyone! I hope you have had a lovely week and are having, or about to have, an absolutely lovely Sunday. I would like to introduce you to today’s cover feature. If you have been sitting at home and watching people’s Instagram live streams, you may have come across him. If not, this is Dinuka Jay (@dinukajay).

He posts videos EVERYDAY on his Instagram that will, without fail, uplift your account. Dinuka is a software engineer and video game developer with his own video game studio in Melbourne in the Land Down Under. His passion is to tell stories that inspire people via videos and vlogs, and you can definitely see that through his livestreams with many of your favourite people and some of ours too!

Some of his goals is to reach and support 100,000 people through his videos on Instagram and also to become a PlayStation-certified video game developer (we are rooting for you, Dinuka!). So do keep an eye out for his page. His guilty pleasure is pineapple on pizza (same here; we are the minority!) and a fun fact about him is that he is quite the old soul as he loves music from the 60s. Isn’t that absolutely awesome?

The Sunday Morning Happinez asked Dinuka a few questions last week, and here is what he had to say:

Let’s start with how you got into creating such positive content. What inspired you?

I’ve always loved telling stories. I started off making videos with my younger sister, Dinushi, when we were small and we even did movie-like screenings for my family, where we forced them to sit and watch our poorly directed and extremely cringy dance videos. I found myself enjoying the video format more as I grew up and I started video logging (commonly  known as vlogs) different challenges I took up, such as playing the guitar and singing.

While doing so, I realised I could be showing all my mistakes, how I overcame them, and the different techniques I used to stay motivated with a few other friends on Instagram, thinking it’ll hopefully help them. The videos started gaining more and more traction and now, close to 4,000 people have subscribed to my little videos, which is very humbling. It became a fun habit of mine to document different learnings and share my experiments with my second family on Instagram. I gained a lot of inspiration from a YouTuber named Casey Neistat. His video editing style inspired me very much.

What motivates you to keep going every day?

I really enjoy seeing people reach their highest potential. It’s amazing to watch what people are capable of accomplishing. I love seeing people be their true selves and accomplish everything they set out to do. This inspires me. I want to do everything in my power to tell stories that get people excited about tomorrow. I want to tell stories that help people realise the gift of life; the life they’ve been given to seek out their purpose. The thought of supporting people this way through storytelling via my videos and the video games I create keeps me motivated.

How do you decide what to talk about?

I usually centre my videos on experiments I run on myself. I try something and then make a video about the outcome and learnings I gathered from it. For example, my last video was titled “Three Steps to Being Calm and Chill”, where I discussed three practical solutions people can use to alter their outlook on life to maintain a calm and unaffected mindset through turbulent times. I try my best to always make videos on things I can back with personal experience. My audience trusts me to deliver valid and reliable information. I take this to heart when picking out a topic for a video for my Instagram feed.

You have also recently been doing live streams on Instagram with others. How has that been so far and who can we look forward to in the future?

My close friend Amandha Amarasekara and I started an initiative called “Already Brilliant” (@alreadybrilliant), which is an Instagram account that features individuals who have a story to tell. We realised that not everyone wants to be coined as an “influencer” and not everyone wants to be a “content creator”. These amazing individuals lacked a platform to tell their stories simply because they didn’t belong to either one of those social groups.

We wanted to allow people to come and tell us their stories and experiences to help spread more information on being the best version of yourself. We also attempt to bring in guests who have accomplished amazing feats in their careers.

We recently had the popular Sri Lankan travel vloggers “Travel with Wife” (@travel_with_wife), Gaia Kodithuwakku (@gaiakodithuwakku), and Fahad Farook (@fahad_farook) on the live show. We look forward to reaching out to individuals such as Kumar Sangakkar to allow our keen audience to learn from his wisdom.

Do you have any advice for young, aspiring creators out there?

Be 100% authentic. Being “real” is the new “cool”. Embrace your imperfections and flaws. These are the things that make you unique. If Harry Potter embraced his scar and went on to do the amazing magical things he did, we can all come to terms with our battle scars and experiences, and harness them to become the best versions of ourselves. Seek authenticity and not views or vanity metrics.

You also manage university work. What tips/advice do you have for people still in university?

Make sure it’s something you absolutely love doing. I realised that a degree is of no use without passion. Learning how to change a tyre is easy. Looking forward to changing the next tyre is a whole other story. If you are passionate about what you are learning, it’s going to feel amazing when you acquire new knowledge. If passion doesn’t exist, it suddenly becomes a chore and it gets really mundane and boring.

If you had one message to give the world, what would it be?

If you are stuck and wondering what to do with your life and how to ignite a passion, try a lot of things. Seek discomfort and push yourself to try new things, acquire new skills, and associate new people. Every new experience incepts a seed for a brand new idea in your conscience. One fine day, you’ll wake up to that idea being transformed to a full-grown tree. So try new things and keep acquiring new skills; these always lead you to doors of opportunity.

Where do you see yourself and your platform in the next few years?

I want to reach and support 100,000 people on my Instagram account by listening to their stories and their perspectives and do everything in my power to help them grow with me. I aspire to become a good storyteller. But what’s a story without memorable characters? I’d love to use my platform to take them along my journey of self-discovery while supporting and empowering theirs. I’d love it if the readers can join my Instagram family by checking out my videos @dinuka_jay. See if any of those videos resonate with your life. If they do, follow me and connect with me. I love supporting people and their dreams. I can’t wait to reach more people and grow this family.

We hope the curfew hasn’t been driving you too crazy, but what have you been doing to pass the time?

I’ve taken up the challenge of learning to draw. Like I said, I love trying new things and acquiring new skills. This has been on my bucket list and I decided that there’s no better time to learn to draw than this curfew period. Since I started, I’ve invested over 240 hours and I’ve finally managed to draw something that resembles a tree. When I started, my Instagram family thought I drew a street lamp. I guess you could call that progress!

Lastly, what is the first thing you are going to do when life returns to complete normalcy?

I can’t wait to work from a coffee shop again. I can’t wait to get back in the gym. I can’t wait to go for spontaneous jogging sessions. I’m sure everyone can relate when I say that we’ll be appreciating life more after this global experience.

Photos Kevin Nilesh