What if I fail in this Exam? I have promised my parents that I will put all the needed hard work and I will become a Civil Servant for sure. I should become a role model for my younger siblings. By clearing this exam, I have to give a slap on the face of some cunning relatives and friends who had insulted me.
What if I fail? I have not gone for the campus placements. All my friends are working in MNCs, drawing handsome salaries. What will be my professional career if I keep on wasting the years for UPSC.
What if I fail? I am investing a lot of Time and Money for this preparation. What will be the output or benefit if I don’t clear this exam?
What if I fail? I started this exam with a lot of dreams and ambitions. But day by day this journey becoming insurmountable. My self-confidence is depreciating sharply with every failed target. How can I go back to the world with empty-handed?
There are many such thoughts which create fear about our future. In fact, Fear of Failure is good. It creates motivation. We wake up from the indulgences and start putting extra efforts. It makes us realise that this is wartime and no space for retreat.
But sometimes, the Motivation moves from Eustress to Distress. When the fear traverses beyond the Optimal level, we start trembling. Anxiety starts over gripping us. Rather than seeing the right option for the MCQ in prelims, our mind will be distressed, anxious and stressed. Our concentration level falls down. We knowingly mark the wrong option. That is the same case with Mains and Interview too. We fail to arrange the ideas in a logical and orderly fashion. All your yearlong efforts and dreams will be shattered due to the improper schemas in the mind.
So, how to overcome this?
The main reason for Fear of Failure caused Distress is “I should win this game. I don’t have any fallback option”. It takes us to the future. Our attention/ mental energy is diverted from the present task at the hand to the uncertain future. It creates an incongruence between your present state and ideal state. A trigger for the vicious cycle of Frustration and Distress.
Being a serious aspirant, one core truth you should understand is “there are a lot of dynamics play in getting the rank here. A mere hard work won’t guarantee success.”. There are many eligible candidates have failed continuously for one or another reason. Luck, Fate, Destiny or any name you can give to that determining factor. It does matter here.
Hence, you should be prepared to fail in the worst case. Tell bravely to your parents that “I’m putting and I will put 200% of efforts. But success is not in my hand”. Before that, you should be mentally prepared to accept yourself if you fail. Take this Exam as just Exam. It should not give meaning to your life. Your personality is much stronger and unique than this exam. You don’t have to prove to the world through this exam. And avoid Day Dreaming about the Civil Servant’s Life. Else it always keeps us anchored to the future.
Next, don’t put all your eggs in the single basket. Have a discussion with your friends, wellwishers or mentors about what are career options available if you couldn’t clear this exam in the worst case. Have some clarity about the possible Exams you can give simultaneously with your current preparation. It reduces professional uncertainty.
One more important thing is to keep your preparation in a low profile manner. Don’t publicize much in your family and relative circle that you are preparing for this exam. Else, they will keep asking you and your parents every time UPSC results come on the TV or Newspaper.
Lastly, believe in Lord Krishna’s words as said in BhagavadGeeta, “Only efforts are in your hand. The results will be decided the Existential Force. Whatever happens, it is for the good.”.
Accept the Process in totality. Don’t hanker for the results. Don’t run for success. Try to achieve success on daily basis. Try to complete the scheduled targets on time. Everyday, try to read one chapter extra from Laxmikanth, try to attend 10 MCQ of PYQ, try to glance the Maps for 5 more mins, try to make some extra mnemonics, try to give prelims test this week, try to write 2 to 3 answers every day. That is how you will come closer to success.
If you want success, you should be dispassionate about it. It appears weird. But it is the time tested SUCCESS SUTRA in every field. This Sutra alone brings you to success in Life, not just in the Exam.