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MOTIVATION: Overcome Failure and Try to become a Topper

Motivation: Overcome Failures and Try to become a Topper

Failures, small or big, affect us all. They dent confidence. They derail our routine. They create self-doubts. They instill fear. Well, that’s negative part.

On the other hand, they make us strong. They teach us valuable lessons for life. Failures make us realise that there are better ways to do things and helps us open our eyes to new avenues in life. You know stories of lots of great people who failed and then became great. 

If you choose to let failures affect you negatively, you will be injured for life. If you learn from failures and start chasing your dreams with renewed vigour, chances are more that you will succeed.

When you started preparing for this exam, you knew the challenges. Most people around you, even parents might have doubted your abilities. Some might have stared at you with that indifferent look and told you that this exam is the toughest and you better be happy with what you already have, or aim for something smaller. Even some might have sympathised with you for wasting precious time of your life chasing the impossible.

Yet, you made the decision and started this journey. Will you quit just because you failed in one of the stages of this exam?

At present you must belong to either one of the following categories: Gave interview but didn’t see your name in the final list; Have given multiple attempts including Mains and now worrying about how to succeed in 2016; A beginner ardently reading topper’s interviews here and there and trying to be one of them next year; Have failed prelims 2-3 times or more and depressed thinking what’s going wrong in your preparation; A beneficiary of extra attempts and trying to win the battle at any cost as you know that both age and attempts are not on your side; Or a person who got rank but not at all satisfied with what you have got, and wants to figure in Top 50 next year.

The common desire is to get a top rank. You might have already dreamt multiple times about getting first rank and becoming a national celebrity. But somewhere in your preparation journey, this dream of getting a top rank wanes and waxes – with your level of commitment to the goal you have chosen and with the number of failures that you have faced.

Every failure that you have faced is a lesson. For some of you who never failed in life, these failure may be shocking and overwhelming. For some of you who have seen so many failures, this one more failure in this exam might be unbearable. Will you quit the race?

Some quit. They see no point in struggling for too long when they have some other opportunities in their life. For some, IAS or IPS might be just another good job and their interest in them will not last long. But for you, what’s the motivation to get into IAS/IPS/IFS?

Give it a serious thought. If your desire to get into these services is very strong, then have no self-doubt, even if you fail many times, you can still go for it and achieve it. Right attitude matters when you are after something that’s very dear to you. 

You know that you have that desire and determination to get a good rank in this exam, yet self-doubt keeps lingering in your head. Am I moving in right direction? Am I studying right materials? Am I following right strategy? Will I be able to score such a high Marks as scored by Tina  Dhabi and Ira Singhal? What if I don’t clear prelims? What if I don’t get good marks in my optional? What if I fail? Do I have ability in me to clear UPSC civil services exam?

Almost everyone gets these doubts. Topper will not know he/she would become topper. But, they will for sure know that they will get a good rank. They become better by working hard. Once they come out of exam hall, they know that they have given their best shot. They will know that their name will figure in the final list. This confidence stems from strong self belief, which in turn comes from very good preparation.

Every day you have a chance to follow the right thing. You have an opportunity to correct past mistakes and push yourself towards your goal. If you think you lack ability, work hard and harder. You will gain the ability. If you think you are weak in optional, put more hours into optional preparation. You will master it. However  you work hard,  you will still get self doubts – especially while preparing for UPSC Civil Services Exam. But have faith and keep working hard. Gradually, self doubts get defeated by your consistency in your hard work. 

There are many who fought many odds and got top ranks despite spending so many years into UPSC civil services exam preparation. What distinguishes them from others who can’t make it finally?

It’s ability to overcome failures and making course correction at right time. Don’t experiment all the time. Stick to the plan that’s giving you confidence and push yourself to improve efficiency and productivity.

To give an example, we have seen students who used to complain that it used to take 4-5 hours to answer 2-3 Secure questions. We told them that in the beginning it will consume lots of time, but if they push themselves and stick to writing for 15-20 days, they will get better at it. Some quit. But some who didn’t quit are today writing answers to all Secure questions in just 2 hours.

Shed cynicism. It’s a very dangerous attitude. Someone might tell you – he/she was the best and tried their best in this exam, yet failed. This might discourage you. But, you are not he/she. You are you. You should know what’s your weaknesses and strengths. Work hard to overcome your weaknesses. Try to improve your strengths. Follow one strategy that worked for most toppers, or that’s working for you, and no matter what people tell you, stick to the strategy.

Don’t get lured by overwhelming amount of sources that are released in the market both online and offline. Everything seems important. But, can you digest everything? Whatever you see in market are just different shades of same colour (You will get current events and other stuff from so many sources, follow any 1-2 sources only). Go with the one you like and trust most.

There is nothing wrong in aiming for a top rank.  To get there, you must be a ‘Serious Aspirant’. Most people mistake serious aspirant for the guy/girl who spends more hours ‘reading’ all kinds of books; or the one who appears very serious, always  roams around with 2-3 books in his/her hand; or the one who pretends to know everything.

Appearances and attitudes can be deceptive. Don’t get disheartened by looking at thousands of ‘Serious Aspirants’ around you. A serious aspirant is the one who is determined as hell to win this battle at any cost. They are people of actions – they write whole year, they revise at regular intervals, they know their strengths and weaknesses, they know that with each passing day, they are getting closer to their goal. They are least worried about failures. They not just dream of becoming topper, they work towards achieving this goal. And their number is very less.

There are very few serious aspirants around you. Their number may be less than 5000. Be one of them. You can be one of them. 


It doesn’t matter where you stand now in terms of preparation. You can still push, push and push yourself harder and inch closer to achieving your dream. You don’t know what are your limits unless you try to push them. Everyday push your limits. You will go on gaining confidence, and one day after writing mains, you will say – yes, I will see my name in the list even if I get 130 in interview!

Yes, there are uncertainties in this exam. Even after giving your best, you might still not get a good rank. Will you quit? 

Unless we try our best again and again, we will never know what the future holds for us. This year you might have missed a rank by 1 mark, or failed prelims by fraction of a mark. Who knows, you can be a topper next time. So, never rest or quit. Neither complain nor protest. Silently work hard. 

Even though there are just 70 days to prelims, believe us – if you push limits, even if you start now, you can clear it. Gather all your strengths and go ahead. Right now, there are so many hopes on you by so many dear and near ones. Don’t disappoint them this time. Overcome inertia. Start again. 

If you rest, someone will take you rank. At the end of the day, it’s just competition. You have everything to win this competition. And you know what to do. 

Just do it.  🙂