“Interaction with Ravija Singal”

Mind is Mightier than the Physical Body

Time just flies. It is already four years since Ravija, my daughter has completed her Ironman at Busselton in Australia. Ironman is a triathlon event consisting of 4km’s swimming, 180 km’s of cycling and 42km’s of running, one after another and each activity having a cutoff time. Both of us were competing and complementing each other during our preparations for the Ironman contest, both of us taught and learnt from each other. She taught me few skills of swimming and in turn she learnt some tricks of cycling and running from me. I fondly remember this time as it made our bond stronger. I could closely observe how a girl at the age of 18 was preparing herself both mentally and physically to win the prestigious title of Ironman. The journey was tough, there were many ups and downs and the mood swings were numerous. But focused she was !! After rigorous training, we finally went to Vichy in France. But Ravija met with a setback. She was disqualified for overshooting the time limit in cycling by 5 minutes.
Initially this shook her and she gave up the idea of attempting it again. Her belief was, she gave her best and may be this was not her cup of tea. As time passed, one day after discussing with her mother she decided to give another shot to the Ironman challenge. This was not an easy decision. She had to undergo the same strict regime of total commitment all over again. Finally, with grit and dedication she completed the whole event of 226 km’s in the mandated time and achieved the title of Ironman.
I was always curious to know why she had attempted this after a failure. Furthermore, achieving this title would not have made much difference in her personal life and what if she had failed again. I had a one to one conversation with her. Here are a few questions which I posed to her and her responses.

1. How did you motivate yourself after you lost at Vichy?
Ravija: “A failure can never be the moment you choose to define yourself hence it must always be treated as a second chance towards achieving your dreams.”
Motivating myself was easy once I realized that I was at rock bottom and there was no other way to go but up. In my case I was just doing my best and constantly telling myself about this defining moment. I kept pushing because giving up was not an option. When you train for something as demanding as Ironman you should know your body will be exhausted so you train your mind and your brain more than your body. Your body takes commands from your brain and the choice to stop and give up comes from your brain. As long as you have a strong mindset, and your brain says don’t give up and continue working towards your goal your body will always comply.
2]How did you get rid of your negative thoughts?
Ravija: Negativity was never a part of my personality as an athlete. I have always believed in the potential my body holds. I was tired but being tired is not a reason to give up ever. As long as you can tone out voices of doubt from inside you and from the outside world any task becomes doable. Once, I had someone tell my coach that I was incapable of finishing Ironman even the second time. When you hear negative talks it’s easy to feel discouraged but as an athlete, I learned to ignore those who didn’t believe in me. There is a quote which I really like and it says “An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.” Goi Nasu
3] Whom will you give credit your success to?
Ravija: Everything I am or ever hope to be is all because of my family. My parents have always been the ones supporting me. I have become the person I am today because I had the excellent example of my parents to look up to and because I was raised in a household where opportunities were to be appreciated. I have been taught to work hard and dream big. But dream big is not sufficient, you should work hard to achieve them. My trainers and coaches have inculcated a positive attitude in me, which does not let me give up easily.
4] Do you think Ironman has been important in your life, if so then how?
Ravija: Ironman isn’t just a turning point it is a defining moment in my life. It is something which taught me that I am full of undiscovered potential, and I can always do better. When I finished the Ironman race it was the first time, I cried tears of joy at the age of 19 and I don’t think that is something to take lightly. With Ironman I learned more about myself and mostly I understood how to appreciate myself.
In conclusion, Ravija has taught me that failure is not final. There is always another chance but it is on us how we take it. Negativity, fatigue and failure are bound to crop up but train your mind and body in such a way that you don’t give up.

Ravinder Singal
Ravinder Singal
Quitters Don’t Win and Winners Don’t Quit. Ironman | Deccan Cliffhanger | Comrade Legend Finisher | Motivational Speaker | Writer | Endurance Athlete


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