HYDERABAD: Overcoming struggles of the mind can be a tedious process. Sharing stories of inspiration to help others overcome challenges is Bengaluru-based school student and Under-19 state cricketer, Aryan Joshi. After the popularity of his online initiative, titled Mental Strength Matters, which features sportspersons talking about their struggles in three-minute video clips, Joshi has now expanded the project.
While he is currently hosting the third season of his initiative, he has also started a longer 10-minute format, titled MSM Direct. The first episode, featuring former Indian cricket team skipper Mohd Azharuddin, was posted on Saturday on on IGTV. The upcoming episodes in the series will feature cricket legend Kapil Dev and former badminton player Pullela Gopichand.
Speaking about the idea behind the initiative, Joshi says it was the nationwide lockdown, when he was unable to practise cricket, that led him to think about improving one’s mental strength. “There wasn’t much room for physical activity and I looked towards areas where sportspersons and athletes could improve upon. Mental health and character building emerged as crucial subjects. Initially, I planned to continue this only during the lockdown, but when I interviewed more athletes and understood how they overcame their own challenges, I decided to dive further into the project,” he adds.
The series, which started in April, has already witnessed 63 videos posted from sports personalities like Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rohan Bopanna, Rohan Gavaskar, Neil Mckenzie and Nisha Millet. Joshi says the experience was also a learning curve for him, with each person having a different approach towards their challenges. He adds, “When I interviewed Mayank Agarwal, he emphasised on the period when he was trying to get into the Indian Test team and focused on meditation and peaceful thinking. That is something everyone can apply to their daily lives. Going in-depth with the project has also helped me build my character and deal with obstacles.”
Joshi also emphasised on former Indian cricketer Mithali Raj and how she pushed through her knee injury during the Women’s World Cup. “VVS Laxman too faced a very different challenge, wherein he was conflicted between choosing cricket or pursuing his higher studies since his parents were doctors and he was a bright student himself. He had that dilemma, but he backed cricket, and it paid off,” he explains, pointing out that while his initiative is targeted towards helping young and budding athletes, the stories resonate with every age group.