Dig Deep & Go With The Flow

Sunil Robert VUPPULA responds to ThinkWellness360 questionnaire: 

Your view on beauty?

As a child I was taunted for my dark skin. The spin-off is predictable. I have a coloured view of beauty. Beauty is not just skin deep, its ‘sin deep.’ Beauty, in my view, is having a winsome personality. A pleasant and confident disposition, a confident and witty mind and a soulful character all add up to this winsome personality. This colour- and body-shaming has to stop. Every race, every body type, is beautiful. As a former advertising professional, I know how we’ve fabricated this fake beauty archetype and I disagree with it vehemently. A heartfelt smile is more beautiful than the Mona Lisa smile that adorns the Louvres Museum. Young people, who are particularly raised on a staple of social acceptance, on Instagram, for instance, by paid influencers need to redefine beauty in a fresh, also meaningful, way. There is beauty everywhere, and in everyone — it takes a discerning beholder to seeing it. Every child too is winsome, but somewhere along their growth they get entrapped in a skewed conundrum called beauty.

Your ‘take’ on fitness? 

My journey into fitness was a dramatic one after a life-altering motorbike accident. When doctors prognosticated that I would never be able to walk straight, much less play any sport, I was gutted. Also, desolate. As a result, I was on a downward spiral and gained weight disproportionately in a short period of time. What’s more, I was diagnosed with hypertension [high blood pressure]. I had also lost both my parents in a relatively short span of time, in their early sixties, and this created an undulating fear psychosis. So, in a long turnaround that borders on the inspirational, I was able to run some of the prestigious marathons in the world and take my family along with me on this fitness journey. It’s not how long you live; it is how well you live that matters most.  At different ages, fitness means different things. Vitality and fitness, for me, are the hallmarks of a full and satisfying life.

Your view of health and wellness? 

The value of health is only noticed when it starts dipping. Well, one of the most complex natural technologies that we can never fathom fully is the human body. When we are young, we run our lives by the ‘seat of our pants.’ But as we age, we begin to unlock the plethora of complications that sucks the joy out of our lives. Health and wellness is the sum total of complex factors like genetics, lifestyle etc., which sometimes ‘levitate’ beyond our control. So, I have appropriated vitality as a key goal for my life. I also believe that I can focus only on the stuff that I can control, like healthy eating, regular workouts and the annual marathons that I run. Good health and wellness is the potent ability to do whatever physical exercise you set out to do. When you take a trek, or go sightseeing, the ability to enjoy the walk is a blessing.  Of course, the pride and joy of flexing it on social media is also a morale booster for many. This is also reminiscent of the oft-used joke, “How do you tell if someone is a marathon runner? You don’t. if you give them two minutes, they’ll start bragging soon enough.” 

Your ‘take’ on work-life balance? 

It’s a myth — this work-life balance — like the Yeti, the Abominable Snowman. We live in the most industrialised, automated era, yet we are huffing and puffing around. What is important to chase is having the ability to focus on stuff that matters. There’s no better way to discovering what is important in our lives than during a crisis. This is akin to a juggler who has multiple objects to contend with. We are, likewise, always are under the pump to manage, but what matters is how we manage them all at the right time. In fact, there should never be a balance, if we need to accord our full attention and focus. We get to grow what we are fixated with all the time. We are multi-sensory, multi-dimensional human beings and we are designed to do only so much in a 24-hour window. Rest, and when not resting, ‘obsess’ yourself. The Jewish notion of Sabbath means that you go into a rest and reset mode — of self-care, soul care and growth. You cannot burn out by going all out.

Your mantra to beat stress? 

I have faced adversity early on in my life and survived more than a brace of enormous challenges much later. To dig deep in times of crisis and [re]discover your reservoir of energy allows you to surf over day-to-day challenges. My faith, my world view, is rooted in god and god’s plan for my life. Nothing can shatter me, including the fear of death. I literally came up from nothing, so what is the worst that can happen? Nothing really. My only prayer is that my near and dear ones should not suffer, but be healthy and happy. Everything else can be overcome. I believe faith can move any mountain, including imaginary crags — the unwanted song of everyone’s burden. When I teach and train corporate executives, for example, it unshackles people to really know that there is nothing truly in our control. If anything, the COVID-19 ‘Horribilis’ should have, alas, taught us that we just need to focus on our own finitude, and everything else will just flow. As Lao Tzu epitomised, “Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.”

SUNIL ROBERT VUPPULA, one of India’s finest award-winning communicators, is the author of two bestselling books, a powerful, also ‘shining bright in the US,’ TEDx speaker on adversity and an avid marathoner. He’s a strong advocate of the timeless credo too — that it is possible for each of us to achieve all-round success, provided we focus on and elevate our mind, body and spirit, to the next level, and in a manner born. Website: www.sunilrobert.com

1 thoughts on “Dig Deep & Go With The Flow

  1. Moninder Bhogal says:

    Amazing and inspiring. Can totally relate to my own story 100 per cent. Good to know you, more so because you are working towards achievable wellness goals.

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