The Big Question
Someone had rightly said, “ Everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.”
These times of preparation are the apt times to absorb this subtle saying in your lives. You are actually working towards your happiness and in between if you meet pain; you want to embrace it rather than taking steps away from your happy place (to be).
Surely, many of you might have had several, tedious rounds of identifying what IAS is all about and then analysing why you want to prepare for it. Whatever might have been the process, the decision was taken. And many of you might have faced a similar scenario like; got admitted to coaching and finally became one of the many “Oh! Where is your daughter/son these days? Arey! Dilli gai/gaya hai, civil services ki “taiyaari” karne. Few days into the coaching and with each passing day, as you came to know, oh! This is also to be done and this is also to be done, you started to lose track of what is actually to be done. And this one fine day, when you might be reading about the ‘meaning of life’ somewhere in ethics, while in those moments, you were lead into thinking about, “what is the purpose of my life, why am I doing this? Should I even attempt?”
These questions were nothing but the fear of the vast syllabus, disguised as an existential crisis. Fascinated by the life of an IAS officer, the power, the impact, you had asked yourself this question, is this what you want to become? The answer was a trembling yes (trembling ; owing to the magnanimity of the syllabus). But you had forgotten to ask yourself the big question, whether you are “ready for this struggle? Whether you wanted the struggle of hard work or not?”
The thought of becoming an IAS officer would’ve been elating! It made you happy, but the parallel thought of working day in and out sounded depressing? Whatever be the case, it is crucial to know that happiness requires struggle. The question is not the happiness, but the struggle! Do you want the struggle?
When you keenly watch the IAS rankers and toppers describing their success strategies, do you notice the undertones of toil, determination and patience in their journey? These people have reached their happy place, is what you see, but do you see behind the scenes too? Working each day consistently and diligently, persisting through the long process of this exam and keeping belief on oneself in the face of uncertainty and demanding times, is what took for them to reach the place where they stand today. Their journeys make it evident that, happiness and struggle go hand-in-hand. One must learn to persevere through the struggle.
So, what is the takeaway?
It is the ‘big question’.What determines your success isn’t the answer to ‘what makes you happy?’ Pleasure is an easy question. The real question is pain. Ask yourself; Are you ready to take the pain of hard work? Are you willing to choose the struggle, to reach your happy place? And probably, the answer to this will actually get you somewhere in your journey of cracking this examination.