Dangal, the world famous Bollywood movie is a riveting story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former wrestler and a disciplinarian parent figure. The movie traces his life story, as he pushes his daughters to fight for fame, glory, and pride. A brave heart saga, it inspires one to keep fighting the good fight and overcome all odds in the process.
Though the literal meaning of ‘Dangal’ is wrestling competition, the movies is so much more. In a nutshell, it could be described as a wrestling of ideologies. As much as the movie coaxes the viewer to stand up and applaud, there are many lessons to be learnt from this movie which could stand us in good stead.
The movie reminds one that in a quest for perfection, or chasing a lifelong dream, constant effort, and hard work never go in vain.
Here are 20 inspiring lessons that we could learn from the movie Dangal – a movie which could be described as perfect in every sense of the word.
1. Dream Big
“Discontent creates Desire. Desire creates Dreams.”
Mahavir Singh Phogat was a discontent man. Being a professional wrestler himself, he had always wanted to get a gold medal for his country, but couldn’t. And so, what he could not achieve, he wanted to achieve through his children. His own burning desire to achieve this dream was what pushed him to drive his daughters to achieve the impossible.
2. Believe in competencies
Mahavir Singh always wanted a son, but was blessed only with daughters. When he saw the state of the local boys getting beaten up by his daughters, he realised that he did not need a son and could achieve his dreams through his daughters. Gender became irrelevant in his pursuit of his cause. What mattered was only competencies.
3. Challenge the status quo:
When Mahavir Singh was determined to overcome obstacles, he found the most unconventional of the remedies to overcome them. He got a boy to fight the girls, fed chicken to vegetarian girls (when he realised they lacked protein and hence strength), changed their clothes, trimmed their hair short, made floor mats out of mattresses, and even quit his job to train his daughters well.
4. Convince people to believe in your vision
Before the final fight, Mahavir Singh convinced his daughter that millions of girls could live their dreams, if she won the fight. Another brilliant scene in the movie comes when he manages to convince a chicken shop owner to offer him discount. He talks to the man about having a potential national level wrestling champion as his brand ambassador, to win him over.
5. Awaken the inner fire:
Most leaders fail to motivate their constituents, and instead, focus on external motivational factors.
When Mahavir’s daughters realise that the training that their father was delivering was far more effective despite being unconventional, it changed their attitude. And this, in turn, changed everything for them. This goes to show how no amount of external motivation can bring results, until the person’s internal fire to pursue their dreams is awakened.
6. Take calculated risks
When Mahavir Singh was confident enough of his daughter’s ability to fight, he launched her in a fight with a local wrestling champion. This move was dangerous as she could have been seriously hurt fighting seasoned boys, but his confidence paid off.
7. Face your fears:
Geetha Phogat chose the toughest local competitor to fight her matches. When you want to be the best, you have to compete with the best. The girl overcame her first fears and gained respect, fighting a tough opponent. This elevated her self-confidence which proved to be a morale-booster.
8. Discipline is consistency of action
“There is no substitute for hard-work.“
Mahavir Singh forced his daughters to get out of bed by 5 am, every day. A strict daily routine allowed her to stay on top of her game and fitness requirements.
When she moved to the National Sports Academy for training and got out of her father’s sight, she let her guards down and began slacking while enjoying her new-found freedom. As a result, she lost sight of her goals and began losing all matches.
Only when she realised that there was no substitute for discipline, will power and hard-work, did she get back on track.
9. Strategic planning and perseverance:
In this competitive world, strategic planning is everything. You need to analyse your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Instead of following the beaten path, you need to craft and devise new means of winning.
Mahavir Singh reviewed his daughter’s international matches and goaded her to use her strengths to her advantage. He also made his daughters practice day after day, till every move became a muscle memory of them. Perseverance definitely pays in the long run.
10. Leaders are those who empower others
It is important to teach your team to hold their own, as you cannot be around all the time.
In the final match, when Mahavir Singh is locked in a closet, his daughter gets nervous in her father’s absence. But she remembers her father’s teachings and guidance just in time, and devises her own winning strategy.
11. Trust people who believe in you
When Geetha Phogat doesn’t perform well at the international championship, she faces criticism and taunts from her coach. Though her confidence is shaken, her father’s strong conviction and belief in her abilities is what pushes her to finally win the championship.
In your life’s journey, rely only on positive influences and people who believe in your capability. These are the voices that will help you overcome hurdles and conquer all fear that comes your way. Pay no heed to the sceptics.
12. Turn a deaf ear to negative comments
In the movie, Mahavir Singh and his daughters get laughed at by the villagers over the unconventional concept of a female-wrestler. The father and daughters ignore all harsh comments and prove themselves by their victory at the Common Wealth Games, thus earning the reverence and admiration of the villagers.
13. Adapt yourself to changing circumstances
Drastic situations call for drastic measures. Mahavir Singh and his family are all vegetarians. But when Mahavir Singh realizes that his daughters are losing out on their strength development due to their food habits, he doesn’t shy away from feeding them chicken, even cooking it himself.
14. Don’t change paths and lose focus
After moving to the Patiala institute, Geetha Phogat changes techniques on her coach’s advice (which are very different from her father’s training) and starts losing matches one after another.
The realisation that her father is the only person who knows her strengths and who can give her the best training, makes her switch back to his techniques to go on to win a medal at the Common Wealth Games.
In life too, there are people who can misguide you and take you on the wrong path. Be focused and refuse to be deterred by such elements. Rely on your instincts.
15. Get a head start to your day
“Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself, own your morning, elevate your life”.
He talks of the importance of getting up early to head start your day, while the rest of the world is still sleeping. This little trick works wonders on an individual’s productivity.
Mahavir Singh was a disciplinarian who also believed in the routine of waking up early. He never allowed his daughters to sleep late and would wake them up early everyday to begin their morning jog and fitness routines.
16. Believe in yourself and have self-confidence
A mentor can only guide and coach you to reach your goal. The final steps are yours to take. This requires a level of conviction that remains unshakeable. Believing in yourself is the key to success.
In spite of all the training by her father and coach, Geetha Phogat struggles hard to win the gold medal, during the final moments of the match. Her self-confidence and preparedness, help her in making her lifelong dream come true.
17. Challenge your biases
True equality is about holding everyone accountable.
Irrespective of caste, faith, race or gender. Mahavir Singh was expecting a baby boy to fulfill his dream of getting an international gold medal. When his hope of getting a boy diminishes, he decides to work with his competent daughters, instead. He empowers them to achieve the target of an international gold medal, by providing them all possible resources, opportunities and motivation.
18. Empower the women in your life
The movie breaks all stereotypes of women being home-makers and the weaker sex. Haryana, with its severely skewed sex-ratio and female foeticide, was the last place to produce women wrestlers. And that made Mahavir Singh’s actions all the more revolutinary.
What he sets out to do, and achieves, shook up the conscience of the village. Dangal is a movie which basically proves that given the right opportunities and adequate trading, women are equally competent and can succeed without a doubt.
19. Break stereotypes
The movie not only inspires, but also shatters a host of patriarchal stereotypes. It also celebrates the spirit of sportsmanship. Achievement in the field of sports by someone, regardless of their gender, deserves attention and respect.
A celebration of determination, hard-work, and resilience, the movie is revolutionary in many ways.
20. Don’t forget your roots
Most children conveniently forget the sacrifices made by their parents. Their parents fade away, in the glitz and glam of fame.
The love and sacrifice made by parents must never be forgotten, as parents are our first mentors and coaches. Mahavir Singh, helped his daughters to become champion wrestlers with his vision and multiple sacrifices. If not for him, his daughters would never have achieved the heights of success they did.
Dangal, which crossed the Rs 2,000-crore mark at the global box office, is the biggest blockbuster of the decade, from Bollywood. When you look at the number of lessons that this movie packed in the course of its narrative, the reason seems self-evident. Backed by great acting by the evergreen Aamir Khan, this is a movie which will always be long talked about.
Do tell us which of these lessons resonated the most with you?
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