In his memoir 'Made in India', runner-actor Milind Soman talks about why stress is a good thing


Milind Soman talks about why stress can actually be a good thing, as long as we know how to deal with it. His secret: run!

Milind Soman is not a fan of revisiting the past, holding the belief that we must all “live in the moment”. And yet, 25 years after the release of ‘Made in India’, the music video that shot him to viral fame, the runner-actor is releasing his memoir, with the same title.

The book, co-written by author Roopa Pai and published by Penguin Random House, delves into his relationships: with the women in his life, with his business partners and the ever-lasting one — with fitness. He talks about his addiction and subsequent de-addiction to smoking, alcohol and rage.

In his memoir 'Made in India', runner-actor Milind Soman talks about why stress is a good thing


The latter he gets from his late father, a man with whom he shared a complicated relationship. Admitting that one cannot blame genetics for everything, he advocates mindful anger. ‘Take a step back, and decide if you need to be angry. If yes, then go ahead and vent it all out.’

In a conversation with MetroPlus about the memoir, he says, “I actually have a bad memory. But there are certain things in the past that have not left my mind. Things that I think about a lot without realising it.” One of them is the day his pet rabbit died. It is this memory of when he was five that he chooses to start the book with, and continues right up to his marriage with Ankita Konwar.

In his memoir 'Made in India', runner-actor Milind Soman talks about why stress is a good thing

Excerpts from the conversation:

Throughout the book, the anecdote of your first marathon runs as a central thread. What was the idea behind that?

When Roopa suggested to use a central binding memory, I could have chosen any of the milestones in my life: my first half marathon in 2004, the first Ironman in 2019… But to me, my first marathon (42K) stood out. It was the first time that I faced such a challenge that I thought I might not be able to overcome, that was the only time I had even collapsed. This is the one time that because of my own overconfidence and arrogance, I had a bad time. I learnt a lot from it, so I thought it would be a good backdrop for the story.

The world today recognises burnouts, but in your book, you talk about stress being a good thing...

Stress is a good thing, of course. Hunger, thirst are both stresses; if not for them, we would not survive. It is only the way we deal with stress that we need to examine. The way we are today, the space that we occupy on earth has come from dealing with different kinds of stress, trying to surmount them, and making life better for ourselves.

Burnouts happen because people are not able to deal with stress in a positive way. To do that, you should have created and chosen your own challenges. Sports is a great way to train your mind for that. Running a marathon is a stressful event for your body, mind and spirit. But when you put yourself through that willingly, consciously and in a learning atmosphere, you begin to understand how to deal with any stressful situation in a way that does not drain you.

All stress can be used to better yourself, each individual has to understand how to use that particular stress — whether it is in your relationship, personal life, your own thoughts about yourself — to become a better person.

You say you have an ‘obsessive’ personality. How did that affect your addictions and your ability to quit them?

My obsessive nature was what got me into these habits in the first place. But I was also obsessive about feeling physically, mentally and emotionally fit. That is something I could not let go of. As we grow older, we tend to accept that now we can’t do the things we could when we were younger. But because of my nature, I kept needing new challenges to keep myself at the top of the game. So I was able to move in and out of experiences, saving myself from those that could be harmful in the long term.

In his memoir 'Made in India', runner-actor Milind Soman talks about why stress is a good thing

As a model and an actor, what do you think of the body neutrality movement? What do you think has brought it on?

Common sense, I guess! (Laughs) Looks definitely can take you a certain distance, but what is sustainable is performance. It is not just what your body looks like, but what your body can do, and continue to do. Your body might change — you look different at 20, 40, 70. We used to give up when our bodies started looking old at 40, but we need to go beyond that to continue performing activities that we enjoy, living life in the best way we imagine.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:43:50 PM |

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