“It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” ― Adlai E. Stevenson II
What worries you and us most, whether already successful or a failure in life, is the thought of tomorrow. It’s a new day with full of either shocks or surprises, or just full of dullness. Nobody knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Gods and prayers can only calm your nerves temporarily. But what is going to happen tomorrow will happen. It’s not fate that decides what happens tomorrow. Anything can happen – but it’s your state of mind and your reactions to events that ultimately decide whether tomorrow is going to be a pleasant one or its opposite. Looking at a tough question paper can be scary, but it need not be scary only if you learn to laugh at it!
Imagine a situation – you open the question paper and you don’t know answers to first 20 questions in a row. How will you react? Some people might want to just walk out of the exam hall – or run (but they are not allowed to walk out/run away until the bell is rang); some might start trembling with nervousness (thinking about that dreadful future – thoughts of all future consequences, all negative reactions, more pressure from parents, employability, guilt of wasting one more year etc etc); some might think about giving up exam preparation itself!; Some might somehow finish the paper, but with fear and self-doubt still in their head; Very few will show the courage to look at remaining 80 questions and answer them calmly.
But, what will you do? In such situation, what is your gameplan?
Once fear strikes, it will hold you back. All these years of preparation will be of waste if you let fear control your thoughts and actions.
When you can not answer 20 questions in a row, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to answer next 80 questions. Here your attitude matters. Instead of reacting nervously, try to laugh at the situation. Behaving positively will relax your mind and who knows, those 20 questions which you thought you couldn’t answer might suddenly appear silly and easy!
When you enter the exam hall tomorrow, enter there ready to face any kind of situation in the hall – not necessarily related to tough question paper; be it an irritating and talkative invigilator, a loud noise making fan, a room with no power and lack of sufficient light, a desk that dances, creaks and sings, an invigilator or a guy next to you sneezing and coughing from beginning to end of the exam – whatever worst things you can imagine, be ready to face even before entering the exam hall. Exam hall might turn out to be a hell. Let it be. Act as if you knew the situation beforehand and handle it smilingly. Before you enter, take a deep breath, tell yourself that you are normal and confident, that you are superman (or supergirl) and whatever happens inside exam hall is all for your good. Say cheers and give grand entry.
Preliminary exam is all about common sense. You will act stupid if you are afraid of something. You will react badly if you are scared. Don’t be scared and don’t be stupid.
If all the hard work that you have put should pay you dividends, be normal and act normal.
Just like a swimmer can’t learn swimming if he is scared of water, you can’t be an IAS officer if you are worried about failing in the first stage of this exam even before giving it.
You might have failed in the past and thinking that this year you will fail again. Again, it’s stupidity. This year you will do far better and succeed – only if you act like a winner.
We know that you are burdened by your own expectations in addition to the expectations from your parents, friends and relatives. You are worried about future – will I get job? I am living by borrowing money from friends and parents – how long should I continue like this? I don’t want to borrow money from parents, instead I want to become an IAS/IPS officer and make them proud and happy. My friends are earning handsome salaries, I am earning nothing. I am isolated and I am not confident to meet friends and attend get togethers. I can not attend family functions – because everybody thinks I am a loser, or they ask too many questions and humiliate me. I am neither enjoying my life nor succeeding in it. Parents wants me to marry – but who will marry me? I am unemployed for many years and jobless. Moreover I have gained weight and what not! (no offense to anyone – the guy who is writing this himself is overweight!)
Add to this – ‘I MUST clear prelims at any cost’. Then I must clear mains at any cost. Then, interview. Then?
The world remains same. Everyone who knows or comes to know you after you succeed will just react differently – in front of you. They remain same behind your back. Nothing changes either for them or for you.
The very pressure of ‘I Must Clear this Exam’ at any cost attitude will cost you dearly. Yes, you should be determined. But show it in action. If you are worried about tomorrow’s exam, it’s not called as determination.
Show determination in the exam hall – in the face of all worst things stated above, show your determination and solve 80 questions. Show determination and try to solve those 20 tough questions too.
At the same time you should not lose focus. In the mad rush of determination, don’t solve all hundred questions! Be rational and try to score good marks to be comfortably above the cut off marks.
Determined yet relaxed mind will help you face tough situations. If you don’t know answers to all hundred questions or most of the questions, try to draw invigilator’s cartoon in the Rough Space provided till the bell rings.
As we have repeated numerous times in many articles, ultimately it’s life that’s larger than any exam you write. No matter how you perform tomorrow, you should be in control of your life.
Compare your situation to people who are affected by all sorts of violence all around the world! How lucky you and us are to be safe and breathing here.
You are not defined by your ambitions or by your achievements. You will be ultimately remembered for being good to the people who care for you, or the the strangers who know nothing about you.
Yes, wealth, good job and fame matters. But it matters mostly to satisfy others needs. Not yours. You will derive your happiness only by being good to your body and your mind.
Tomorrow is another day in the calendar. When you are in tomorrow, live and love the moment. Day after tomorrow you might want to take a much needed break, you might want to go for a short trip. But a week later, it’s again a struggle. Is there an end to struggles?
No matter what happens tomorrow, just don’t care. Go for a trip.
When the rest of the world conspires to see you fail at every stage of your life, don’t worry. You can go to Bhutan, live a happy life and contribute to its GNH.
Who knows! you might end up in Mussoorie as well – posting all sorts of snaps on Facebook.
Either way, it seems happiness resides in mountains.
Wish you all the very very best. Sleep well. Relax well. Tomorrow is another Sunday. Don’t miss the fun.
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