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[ Motivation ] Overcoming the fear of failing prelims 


It was 11:15 am on her watch – just 15 minutes to go for Paper 1 in prelims to get done. Beads of sweat started dripping down her forehead. She couldn’t mark anything in the OMR- she couldn’t remember a thing. She started panicking, her breathing became rapid, and her palms were sweaty. “Option (a) or (d)… they look the same to me. Should I take a blind guess? OMG, help me!” The warning bell rang- just 5 minutes to go. She started marking her OMR recklessly- there was no time! The final bell rang. The paper was snatched from her hands. It was left incomplete. She felt numb. *Cue filmy tragic music & the heroine walking out sadly* the bells kept ringing incessantly though. There was vibration too, oh wait; it wasn’t the bell but her phone alarm. To her relief, it was just a dream.

The fear of failure in prelims had consumed her & made her restless. Prelims had started haunting her dreams too now. Can you relate, just a bit? Do you fear any kind of failure in life too? We’ll share a few tips so that you may overcome this fear. (PS- You are not alone, we all fear failure to an extent.) Please do leave a comment & share your experiences & thoughts about how you faced or overcame failures in life. You may inspire or help many. 

Why do you think we fear failure so much? Is it because it makes us seem inferior? Do you worry about what people will say? How you’ll face everyone if you don’t accomplish something? (Also, why does what everyone & anyone think matter? It shouldn’t.) Or does this hyper-competitive world where nearly everybody is running a never-ending race scare you? Failure has always been unnecessarily considered a taboo; it has acquired a pejorative connotation.

But what is failure? It simply means that we couldn’t accomplish a particular task. That’s it. Let’s say that you wanted to write 2 essays today, but you only managed to write 1. Do you consider that a failure & would it stress you out? You may have not completed your initial targets but you haven’t failed- you wrote 1 essay. That is progress. Compliment yourself for what you did accomplish. Not accomplishing a particular task doesn’t make one unsuccessful in life. Thomas A. Edison had said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Failing this exam is not the end of the world. It literally is JUST AN EXAM- let us not hype it up to such an extent in our minds(the society already does that). It is one avenue of service; there are several other avenues to serve society. Your end goal should be to serve society & do good.

Paulo Coelho has written: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” So from today, no wait- from NOW- please remove the fear of failure from your mind. All the energy that you spend worrying & imagining the worst possible outcome, can be spent in investing in your goals by taking action.

Embrace failure- because it teaches us what not to do. It makes you wise; you learn how to accomplish something by learning from your mistakes to improve yourself. Winston S. Churchill had said: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

They say (we can vouch for it by experience) – embarking on a journey to give this exam (especially those of us who spend years in this cycle)- transforms one’s personality. It is true- you become resilient, overcome the fear of failure eventually & you acquire unlimited courage to face anything in life.

Enjoy the journey, the process. Do not think about the results. If you miss accomplishing the task of clearing, what’s the worst that could happen? You’ll feel sad for a bit, cry but you are indomitable – you will find another wonderful avenue to serve society. As you can see, it is not the end of the world.

Winston Churchill had written: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” You are courageous. You continue on this path knowing exactly how uncertain it is. Give yourself a pat on the back for us.

Maya Angelou had said – “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

So, live in the moment. Enjoy every minute of preparation. Forget the results- they are not under your control. Just give your best. That’s all that matters. There is nothing that will ever define you as a failure, please remember that. Enjoy the process of trying different things in life- you may accomplish a few and may miss accomplishing a few things and that is okay. Learn, live, love, try and experience new things- that is what matters at the end. Keep going.

Until next time!