Indian shooting star and Olympian Gagan Narang’s is a success story that has been scripting many more through the years. Today with the Pune-based Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation and shooting academy Gun For Glory, started with former shooter Pawan Singh, Narang is helping shape future shooters with the ambitious goal of 10 shooting medals for India in 2024.
Narang broke into the Indian shooting scene in early 2000s, he has won several accolades since then including eight golds in the Commonwealth Games 2006 and 2010 and bronze in London Summer Olympics in 2012.
As he sets new goals for himself (he is said to be eyeing the Tokyo Olympics next year) and his foundations, Thrive Global India caught up with the Padma Shri and Khel Ratna awardee to know about his raison d’être, what keeps him going and his thriving story.
What makes you unafraid of living your best life and thriving?
I would not say that I am unafraid or un-intimidated because that would be [being] arrogant about life. I have learnt to manage my reactions to every experience. I have learnt to convert negatives into positives and that is the quest going forward. As creatures on Earth there are things about nature/people one always has to fear about but crafting reactions is the way to leading the best life.
How do you work on reaching a state of positive energy? Can you share a time when it was specially challenging to be positive? How did you overcome that?
I think that is what we all try to reach a state of positivity. But one must also embrace negativity, deal with the negative emotions, with best help and pragmatism, to become positive. In 2008 when I missed my Olympic final on countback, I was crestfallen. There was doom and gloom around me, some people backed me to return and the others wrote me off. I understood both the voices but not instantly.
However, deep down I was determined to go back to the drawing board and vindicate those who believed in me. I did so by winning the World Cup finals that November with a world record score of 600/600.
What is your personal philosophy of well-being? How do you stay centred?
My philosophy of well-being is answering my WHY, or my reason for being every day. My reason for being is to help people through sports and the ones that are in sports. This life in sports has made me realise what a wonderful impact it can have on an individual. It is most gratifying to see people learn from my experiences and from the infrastructure we provide them.
The best tool of staying centred is by constantly evaluating your values. Things may not work by applying your values to a particular set of situation, then you must listen to others and learn the best solution. While the core of an individual almost remains constant, there are a few things around that change.
How do you handle the pressures of being a celebrity in the age of social media?
The best way to shut out the noise is to avoid them. They do not know the circumstances leading to results. There are a lot of angry people in cyber space and some who just are there for voyeuristic pleasure.
Beyond the actual practise, how do you prepare for a big event?
I shut out all the noise, there are times when I disconnect from family and friends to get into the zone to get ready for big days and big moments. I also log out of social media for some time.
What according to you are the unique challenges that young people face today? What would you tell them?
I think the young people today are spoilt for choice. That is the biggest challenge. And by challenge I mean both negative and positive. There are so many careers to choose from, so many experiences to have.
Lack of information is not the problem. Too much information and to be able to decide what’s right and what’s not is the problem
My tip is to understand where your heart lies and follow that.
As a sportsperson winning and failure are daily pressures. How do you deal with that?
It depends how one reacts to win and loss. Reactions define people. At times failures become cornerstone of success, at others success fails to become the marker for growth. I have had a great support system to deal with both success and failure. The reason I use the word ‘deal’ is because both come as deals in one’s life. It is the way you use them that defines you and your future.
What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Check my messages on my phone.
How do you unplug and recharge?
Go to the wild—the jungles and do some photography, cut off from the world.
What’s your favourite well-being tip?
To have healthy and real relationships.
Your relationship with your phone.
It is an important part of my existence because I perform a lot of work on my phone
What would you do on an ideal day?
On an ideal day I would either spend time with my parents or go to the jungles to do some photography, go fishing.
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