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MOTIVATION: Don’t Give Up Yet (Especially Looking at UPSC Civil Services Exam 2018 Notification)



Finally, UPSC civil service notification 2018 is out. The number of vacancies are less. There were 1291 vacancies in 2014 and this year it is 782.

This must be depressing. Add to this the element of ‘uncertainty’ that this exam has (new cadre policy, 2017 Mains result etc). But, should you be worried?

You must be thinking to skip this attempt; you may be contemplating giving up civil services exam and look for another job; some of you may be thoroughly discouraged with 2017 Mains result and mulling different options; you may be too anxious and nervous right now – not able to concentrate on studies, not able to prepare with the same intensity as you used to few months ago.

There were speculations that optional would be removed, hence you might have stopped preparing for optional subject since past one month.

When you started this journey, there was so much energy and hope in you. As months and years have passed, with failures and disappointments as constant companions, you may be losing hope. You may be even experiencing depression.

When you have bet your life on this exam, when you have made many sacrifices, when you have taken risk  despite uncertainty – what should be your next course of action? Should you give up? Should you continue trying again and again until you exhaust all your attempts with the hope of seeing your name in the merit list someday?

There is lots of pressure to get married. To get married, you need to have a job. So there is even more pressure on you to get a job.  If you are a girl above 25 years and unmarried, parents must be tacitly forcing you to give up this exam and settle with a well settled groom. They might have lost hope that you will clear this exam.

If you are a fresher, fresh out of college and trying to give your best attempt, you might be discouraged by looking at low number of vacancies and many failures of your seniors – especially looking at those brilliant candidates not making it to interview in 2107.

Add to this the rumour of higher cutoff in prelims 2018 and how low number of vacancies are disadvantageous to freshers!

Many of you must be feeling low right now. You may be frequently checking WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and other social media apps to see some hope, or a way to escape from hopelessness. You may be fighting frequently with parents, or boyfriend/girlfriend. You may be wasting time going here and there seeking suggestions, advices and hope. If you are doing this, definitely your confidence is low. You need motivation to move forward. You need faith to continue in this journey.

Firstly, if you have any symptoms of depression, immediately see a doctor. More than anything else, health is extremely important to reach your goal. If health is not with you, you will certainly find it very very difficult to make progress in this journey. Therefore, no matter how much low you are feeling right now, get up and see a doctor.

Secondly, if your confidence is low, go for a movie today or just get out and do something other than studying. Go to some nice place tomorrow (theatre, pub, sports..or a short trip to nearby hill station). Don’t worry about wasting 2-3 days. Right now, getting back with full of energy is more important. Forget about exam for 2-3 days. Focus on your wellbeing. Your health is very important for people who love you too.

Emotional intelligence plays an important role in this exam preparation. You should not dwell on problems, especially failures and that baggage of past. You should be able to sense immediately if fear is going to affect you mentally and physically and stop it then and there itself. Stay positive no matter how bad is the situation – for this stay with positive people. You should focus on what matters to you most – stay away from anything that distracts you from achieving your goal. You should be aware that in the past you have faced uncertainties and you are strong today to face new challenges. New challenges are just the old ones in new garb. 

Now coming to the question of whether to give up or not to give up, here is a dose of motivation.

You must always be aware of one supreme truth – that failure is part of our life. There are only two outcomes in this exam – either you will pass or fail. Before you embark your journey, you must be aware of this fact. You must also know ground realities – such as there can be only one topper and you are fighting for something that’s been fought for by thousands of people elsewhere –  before you take risks. 

Before the start of any journey, you must be ready to face and embrace failures. You should know that the road is full of uncertainties and journey is not going to be smooth. Unfortunately, we start our journeys only to win. We keep imagining success and immerse ourselves in the glory associated with our successes. We don’t prepare our minds to deal with failures. If you are ready to embrace failure, you will have won half the battle as you are not scared of losing anymore.

Ask yourself again and again – can you reach this goal? Do you have that potential? Even if you listen to that faint YES, don’t give up. Stop listening to all other voices and prepare yourself to defeat all odds to clear this exam.

Never doubt your abilities no matter how many times you fail. Failures shape you. Even if you fail in this exam, this failure will help you somewhere else to achieve something bigger in life. 

This exam needs a different attitude. You should be fearless. In this atmosphere of uncertainties, you should have courage to try your best and win the battle. It’s uncertainties that make our lives worth living. If everything is predictable, that life is not worth living. Such life will be boring and meaningless. 

To clear this exam, more than knowledge, smartness is needed. Badass attitude is needed. Yes, luck is also needed. But as they say, luck favours only those who prepare well, it is true to some extent. But it’s ruthless confidence that gets you where you want to be. You must know that you can acquire everything – knowledge, skills and luck – when you are brutally ready to face anything on your way to success.

Being ready to face failure doesn’t mean you have to fail or you will fail. You should envision a positive outcome and work hard towards it. More than anything else, you must give hundred percent to reach your goal. You may reach and you may not – even after trying your maximum best. This definitely means there are better things that are waiting for you. This might sound like cliche – but this is true. You should be a person who should not settle down for lesser things in life. If not IAS, there must be something that’s waiting for you. Imagine bigger things in life and work towards them no matter how long it’s going to take it to reach there.

There are 110 days to go for prelims and 230 days for Mains – 2018. Even if everything is against you, wake up and give your best. Once more give everything you have. Yes, you deserved success in previous attempt and you didn’t get it. Yet, don’t give up yet.  There are people out there who have achieved extraordinary things in life against all odds. This exam is nothing compared to what you can achieve in your life.

For now, don’t give up. Whether fresher or veteran, despite past disillusionments, this attempt give it all. When you want IAS, it doesn’t matter how many vacancies there are. Anyways you have to be in top of the list to get IAS. Competition might become fierce. You up your game and become even more fiercer.

If you are already preparing for 2018, it’s time to focus on how to make your preparation better rather than thinking about what others are saying or doing. Don’t measure your worth by comparing with others’ progress and achievements. Be yourself and have immense faith in your abilities. It’s all in your mind. It is very true that you become what you think. Today you may be a slow learner, but tomorrow you may become an expert in reading and retaining information. Today you may be scoring less in tests, tomorrow you can score highest marks in these very tests. 

Before you again start this journey, make sure that you are moving in the right direction. Talk to right people and assess your position. Get good guidance and move forward. 

Even if you have everything it takes to clear this exam, moving in wrong direction can ruin everything. Wading in uncertain waters in the dark will take you nowhere. 

Finally, as mentioned above, life is more important than these exams. It is full of possibilities. Only a person who has simple, uncomplicated approach can see these possibilities. A person who understands himself better will know that he/she can achieve anything in life. Also remember that our achievements are meant to bring us joy. If you can stay happy without being an IAS or an Astronaut, or the PM of India or the President of the USA, then you have achieved more in life than anyone in this universe. 

In all these uncertainties, find a reason to stay happy. IAS or no IAS life moves on. If Trump can become the President of USA, you with immense knowledge can become whatever you want. 

Hope still exists in this world. For now, give your best to crack this exam. Move ahead with confidence.