“By Failing to Prepare, You are Preparing to Fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
The life cycle of motivation is very short, thanks to us; it’s our own making. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘motivation‘ is amusing: venerable Oxford dictionary defines it as ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way‘.
For an IAS aspirant, this ‘reason’ — to work hard– is the reward of getting into IAS. During the preparation stage for this exam, he faces so many extraneous factors which keeps him motivating and demotivating . But the ultimate aim of getting into IAS, at least in theory, should keep his motivation levels high. But, this rarely happens.
There is a reason for this. While preparing for this exam, many aspirants spend most of their time daydreaming. Just before falling asleep, hours are spent on imagining various roles you could play to save the imaginary district as DM; or trying to imagine yourself as becoming a celebrity in your village and family, or by topping the exam, in the country.
Dreaming is not a bad thing. But, you should understand that daydreaming or letting your imaginations run wild will motivate you momentarily. This sort of motivation fizzles out soon. That is why, you keep daydreaming again and again – to create the false notion of motivation to keep you moving.
To succeed you need a long-term motivation. Your own actions will prolong the life or death of your motivation, not any extraneous factors.
If you were thinking the success story of a topper, or a neighbor, brings you motivation, then you are wrong. You will be inspired for some time but after a night’s good sleep, a new day and new problems dawn upon you, making you less inspired by the story you had read a day before.
Of course there is no denying the fact that few success stories push you to achieve certain things in life, you will be fired up to achieve the same or better the record. But this only helps you remember your goal. It always doesn’t help you get up and get going.
So, how to sustain motivation during your entire exam preparation?
First thing you should be doing is removing all pressures from your head. Become independent completely, from thoughts of making parents happy, revenging the ex girlfriend/boyfriend, becoming a local celebrity, saving India from the corrupt, and importantly from the thoughts of gaining huge prestige in the society.
Prepare for this exam keeping your focus on Today. List the things you want to do today and finish those things. If you are preparing for Prelims, let the focus be on it. Not on the day of final result where you are giving TV interviews.
Second, find a purpose. Yes, you want to be an IAS officer, but to prepare well today, this is not the purpose. If you are preparing for Main exam, then your purpose will be to make notes, or to solve previous question papers.
Every day, find a purpose. And fulfill it.
Third, love what you do. Love reading newspaper, love writing something on what you read; love it because every day you are evolving into a knowledgeable and stable person.
Following above three things has its advantages.
First, as your focus is on today, you will not be demotivated as you will love what you do with a purpose. They say, secret to happiness is keeping oneself busy. Very busy.
Secondly, it speeds up things for you. You don’t have to worry about having less time at your disposal. How? Say for example, you wrote Prelims, and after 3-4 days of rest, you start following above three principles without worrying about Mains or Interview, by the time result is announced, you will have finished half f the Mains syllabus.
This is not unrealistic. It is possible if you decide to live for today. As you know, tomorrow never dies, the Sun will shine tomorrow, stop worrying about it.
When you start thinking more and more about tomorrow and about succeeding, the reverse thing happens – you start losing confidence and the goal starts appearing distant. Your fear make it appear big and insurmountable.
That’s why, to keep your motivations high, prepare a small action plan for today and follow it.
As the quote above by Benjamin Franklin says, by failing to prepare today, you will be preparing to fail tomorrow. Be prepared now. Prepare today and tomorrow will be an easy sail. You should be prepared to fail too, for when failure stares at you, you too can stare back at it.
I am aware it is not as easy as it appears. One goes through hell lot of difficulties during the exam preparation. Winston Churchill once said,’ if you are going through hell, keep going. ‘
If today was lived as it should be, tomorrow shall be a good day. Just keep going.