Heera
Heera Training and Management Consultancy

eNewsletter November 2011

Dear Everyone,

Hi! And how are you all? It was a great month of October. I was rooted in front of my TV watching the Rugby World Cup. Credit should be given to France for the great and tenacious display against the All Blacks in the final. Deepavali was also special as it is a time when I get re-connected to my immediate family and this is always a treat. We are all getting older but the bond between us is becoming even better, for which I am truly grateful.

And talking about ‘older’, on 16 Oct 2011, Fauja Singh, age 100 years old, ran an entire marathon in Toronto, Canada. His time was 8 hours, 25 minutes, and 17 seconds, approximately 6 hours behind the winner. He was the first person over 100 years old to do this!!! This is a remarkable, remarkable achievement whichever way you look at it. From a physical context, he has given new meaning to the terms, endurance and will power and also to the word ‘old’.


The Fauja Singh was born on April 1, 1911, in Punjab, India. In 1992 he migrated to the UK to be with his son, as his wife had passed away. He then started running as he was bored just sitting at home. At 89 years old, he took seriously to running and ended up in international marathons. In that context, Fauja (his name means soldier) is a unique man as he only started running at an age when people have long retired from running. As of today, he has run a total of eight completed marathons!! In 2004, he was sponsored by Adidas who used him as their poster boy for their new advertising campaign ‘Impossible is
Nothing’.

Fauja says that his secret to longevity is very simple. He stays away from alcohol and smoking and lives on a strict vegetarian diet of curries, tea and daily exercise. He walks or runs up to 10 miles a day. When asked if he found it difficult to run 26 miles at his age, his answer was “The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for the last six miles, I run while talking to God (I find this beautiful).”


I can’t help but have total admiration for this inspiring man. How many of us will be around at 100 years of age, let alone run a marathon. This leads me to some questions of ‘what age is old’.

a. Is it when your hair starts to grey?
b. Or is it when you get wrinkles on your forehead?
c. Or is it the way you mentally think?

I firmly believe that it is the way you mentally think. You are only as old as you think you are and that I believe is the biggest thing we could all learn from Fauja Singh. If we destroyed all the calendars and clocks in the world and did not have a concept of time, I suppose most of us will be doing many things that we are not doing now.


Harvard psychological scientist Ellen Langer is an expert in the relationship between how the mind thinks and aging. In a classic study, she had men between the ages of 60 to 65, live in a retreat that was fitted to look like it was 20 years earlier. They also pretended that they were living in that year. The results after six months were amazing. “Their vision improved, their strength improved, and so on,” she says. From a time perspective they had actually aged, but physically it was the reverse!!! It was as if they were actually getting younger!

So perhaps we should all imagine we are half our current ages and start to do things that ‘we are not supposed to do’ just like Fauja. That would be FUN!!! And perhaps that will make us all look and feel a lot ‘younger’!!!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I do hope you will have a great month ahead. Take care.

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