Milind Soman is a well-known face in the world of fashion and fitness today. He is on this blog for a very special reason. He is also a runner – a long distance marathoner. Recently, I bought a book that’s written by him and co-authored with Roopa Pai. Both have come together to churn out a beautiful book – Made in India. But, that’s for another post.
Here, I am sharing with you a speech that he delivered as a commencement speech to the students at Parul University, Vadodara. I love running. And this speech that Milind Soman gave is a lovely message to the youngsters to take care of themselves as they start their journey of a lifetime.
Milind started to run late in life. He discovered this passion for himself when he was in his 40s. And that’s even more relevant to this blog as I too found my joy of running while I was entering my 40s. The long distance running is not just about running. The whole process of long distance running is a metaphor for life and living.
And that’s what exactly Milind Soman has tried to convey in the speech. He says that you should take care of your mental and physical health as you negotiate your way through the life.
I had hardly paid much attention to the works of Milind Soman until I started to run. When I started running, people around me started to notice the Milind Soman in me. So, I had to dig in to find out more on the Savvy Guy. And this is what I found out – Milind Soman discovered the whole new world of running and fitness at an advanced age.
I got a deeper and more holistic understanding of a runner, a swimmer and a philosopher that Milind Soman is, on reading the book – MADE IN INDIA. Anyone who wants to give up on habits like smoking, drinking and turn into a fitness pro MUST indulge himself into the book. I bet it will be a treat for you.
Now, let’s go to the lecture that I listened to several times and converted into a transcript for my own reference. But later realized that it may give something to each of my readers here!
The transcript of the speech follows:(after several takes of listening the wonderful speech)
And Success might mean many things to you.
And I did achieve those things to some measure enough for me. But what I realize after meeting so many people and after so many experiences doing different things interacting with different worlds of sports, of fashion, of modelling, of acting and business, I realized that to me these were not the real parameters of Success.
To me, the real parameters of success as you might have known from my recent endeavours as a fitness enthusiast, as a marathon runner, my understanding of success is: health and happiness.
And what I would like for you is look within yourself and understand what it is that success means to each of you. I know that you are told and we are all told, when we are young that this is success and that is success.
And we look up to people and we say, we want to be like that person, we want to be like this person. But at some point in our lives, we look inside and say, this is really what is important to me!
If I remember correctly, there was a poll taken in the United States and many people were asked, “what was their priority in their lives?” and there were a whole list of options given: Career, Fame, Home, Happiness, Health, Family.
And most people chose the top 2 priorities – health and family. Not many people chose career, job and all of that action.
Because in your heart, may be you know the truth. So, they chose family knowing that these must be their priority in life. But when the second question was asked, “How much time you spend on these 2 priorities?”
The answer was – Zero!
So, I would urge you to ask yourself at this time while you celebrate, “What is the meaning of success for you?”
PURSUE IT(your priorities) and DONOT COMPROMISE(on your priorities) on it and then you will find that you will be the best version of who you were meant to be.
Of course, we study and create a life and we think our focus is job and career. But sometimes, WE FORGET OURSELVES. It is important not to do that. It is important that apart from the job and career, you have and anything else that you do for the society in future, DONOT FORGET YOURSELF.
If I were to advice, which I in the normal course won’t do, I will give a tip. I would say “FIND THE THINGS THAT GIVE YOU JOY. There may be some here who have found it as a hobby. A hobby that could never be a job or a career. It is just a passion in your heart. Something that people would have told you is not worth to spend time of that. It is not going to give you stability.
But it’s your passion. I would say, “NEVER LET GO OF THAT PASSION. NEVER LET GO OF THAT JOY”
And if you haven’t found it yet, a lot of you may be so single minded in your focus today with what you are studying and where you want to be that you may not have found it that thing that gives joy, I would say, “LET YOUR SEARCH START TODAY”.
Because it is the thing that gives you joy that will finally give meaning to your life. AND THIS IS WHAT I FOUND IN MY LIFE WHEN I FOUND RUNNING. I had already been a sportsperson. I had represented India in swimming. I had represented Maharashtra in swimming for many years. I was very very fit.
But I also went through bad phases in my life. I was smoking, I was drinking and I was doing all kinds of things. But when I discovered running, marathn running almost 20 years ago, it really gave me a new direction to my life. It gave a whole new understanding of life.
And that understanding was – When you have joy, when you have passion, nothing is going to teach you more about life than that joy and that passion. Because, that is going teach you about yourself. And when you know about yourself, when you are aware of yourself, you will understand what you really want in your life.
The speech is about not forgetting oneself, one’s passions and the top priorities in life. So, here we go: