From losing his parents in the riots following the Indo-Pak partition to having had a movie made on his life, Milkha Singh has had an eventful life that speaks volumes about his trials and tribulations as well as his moments of glory.
As we eagerly awaited the release of ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, I bring to you the five inspiring things you can learn from the Flying Sikh.
1. Courage To Move On
Tragedies strike everyone sooner or later. For Milkha Singh, it was too soon. He was not even a teenager when he lost his parents in the violent riots that broke out after the partition of India. That was pretty traumatic for him, but he moved past his personal losses to become one of India’s most loved athletes.
2. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Try Again
Milkha Singh’s life also teaches you to never take no for an answer when you are reaching for your goals. The athlete wanted to join the Indian Army when he grew up, and he applied three times – but he was rejected all three times. However, he did not give up and applied for the fourth time – and got through.
3. Harder, Faster, Stronger
When you work towards your goal, you give all of yourself to the task. At least, Milkha Singh did. The man trained hard to be the best sprinter – training for five hours everyday under extreme pressure. He ran on hills, on the sands of the Yamuna and even against the speed of a meter gauge train – sometimes vomiting blood and collapsing in exhaustion from the intense training.
4. Don’t Sit On Your Laurels
Milkha Singh has the distinction of winning 77 out of the 80 races he ran – and that does not come from complacency. Whether it is the Commonwealth Games or the Asian Games, the man has won medals for them all – and continued to push himself everyday. Every winner can take a leaf out of his book and not pause when on a winning streak.
5. Victory Is More Than Medals
Even with so many victories, Milkha Singh does not have a single medal to claim – as he generously gave them away to Jawaharlal Nehru University. Another athlete would have decked his living room with the trophies and medals, but not Singh. The man is happy with his renown, his name in the school textbooks and now, the upcoming movie.
This Padma Shri awardee is an inspiring figure to many, and these five values he lives his life by are mantras every man can inculcate.