Feeling dead? Stressed out? Too much to study and not much time left? Feel like giving up?
So, you are under a lot of pressure? To top it all, your marks for the previous test has just arrived and has robbed you of your happiness.
This is the life of most Civil Services Aspirants. They think that it is more or less impossible to be away from these frequent bouts of intense stress.
But do you know the difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t?
My dear friend – it is not whether or not you suffer from this stress, but how you deal with it when you feel like giving up.
Cut out some slack: Be willing to look at your mistakes or failures not with anger but with kindness and understanding. Harsh criticisms can never lead to success. Being self-compassionate while dealing with oneself will make you happier, more optimistic and less anxious.
Maybe not that surprising a fact for you, but here it is: Turns out that self-compassion prepares you better for success than harsh criticisms. It is when things are most difficult that you need to understand your limitations, accept them and work on them.
Envision the ‘larger picture’: Here is a simple fact – anything that you want to achieve can be thought about in many ways and not just one. Envisioning the larger picture will help you link smaller actions to a greater meaning and purpose. This will help you face the stress of performance better.
Importance of Routine highlighted by Barack Obama, Vanity Fair: “You need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day… You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
Add ‘ten minutes of bliss’: C’mon now! You are working hard. You might now (after reading this piece) cut yourself some slack at times, and also follow a routine. Add one more thing now – Doing something interesting everyday just for 10 minutes. Think hard. Think fast.
What do you love? Do you love walking? Take a stroll in the nearest park. Do you love reading? Switch off your phone and take out that new book that you have kept away because of your preparation.
This ‘ten minutes break’ are actually a source of your energy replenishment. And this replenished energy will surely flow into your preparation time.
Be proud of your ‘small wins’: The single most important thing that will determine your success is not the hours of study that you put in but the amount of meaningful study you have done on that day. This is a small win if you look at it on a daily basis. And these “small wins” are what that will always keep us going, particularly in the face of stressors. What determines our success rate in this exam is how are we exactly closing the gap between where do we stand now and where do we want to end up.
So take a moment and reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far before turning your attention to the challenges that remain ahead. We are sure that if you work on the points mentioned above, you will start noticing real changes in the way you approach CSE and your life.
Late Joiners of ILP/AIPTS or 2018 Aspirants
Starting anything afresh is difficult; maintaining the momentum is even more arduous. Enthusiasm and initial vigour wanes down with time. It is natural and happens with almost everyone. However, it is important that the cycle continues. For every new moon, there is a full moon. The same goes with your preparation also. The phases of low energy and inertia must be replaced by a phase of renewed vigour and determination. Ultimately, it’s not the effort that you put in your studies that matters; rather it’s your willingness to wake out of slumber and prolonged despondency that makes you successful.
Our energy levels fluctuate and a dip is observed when we get bored or we have doubts in our mind. However, the worst of this lot is complacency. Even if a great player like Virat Kohli gets complacent and stops his training, he will be out of form soon. Similarly, even the legends like Sachin Tendulkar had seen the blues in his career because of doubts.
We urge you to identify the cause that is creating the inertia of idleness and despondency for you. Let us remind you that the race you have decided to participate in, is a tough one and there are many contenders who are better placed and are putting their 100% right now. You have got a lot of catch up to do and at the same time maintain the lead that you have over others. That requires sustained efforts and the willingness to put that extra bit that will push you to reach your potential. See, preparing for civil services examination is just like a test match. You have to be patient, alert and consistent to build your innings. You can’t afford to be adventurous and start slogging in the middle. Of course it takes time but the end result is sweet.
We are getting many queries regarding Integrated Learning Programme (ILP) and All India Prelims Tests, AIPTS. We have tried to address those queries personally. However, here, we are trying to dispel the most prevalent doubts that we have received from our followers. We hope that these clarifications would make you take the right decision and you would start with a new zeal and energy.
It is already December and I haven’t even covered half the syllabus. Should I join ILP/AIPTS? How will ILP/AIPTS be beneficial at this stage?
How do I go about my preparation if I join ILP/AIPTS now?
ILP is an intensive programme having daily coverage and regular tests. I am already lagging behind. How should I go about this?
ILP is not a Prelims Test Series only. It consists of
- Micro-level Plan- Both Prelims and Mains- Block Wise Manner
- Prelims Tests
- Prelims Value Add Notes to be provided for each block
- Mains Value Add Notes topic wise as per block
- Babapedia- Current Affairs for prelims
- Mains Mocks and Synopsis
- Our guidance and push all the time through motivational and strategic write-ups
- Dedicated Platform for all ILP users having Forums and Confession forum where they discuss their daily strategy and achievements of the plan and help each other.
Essay through Mind Maps and Directives
Basically, in ILP- You will get a lot of content support for Prelims and Mains.
Irrespective of the situation, if someone is determined to attempt UPSC 2018 at this stage, will have to work equally hard and compete with others who have started the preparation earlier. UPSC’s parameters remain the same and whatever be the case, one has to equip him/herself with everything that is required to crack this exam.
The only way to compensate the time factor is more effort with sincere commitment and dedication. Nothing else will come to rescue. By being part of ILP/AIPTS you already have got that extra support for quality content and guidance. You need not spend much time in developing content. Cannot you focus on it and be more aggressive in covering the syllabus in whatever time you are left with?
You are still in doubts, pondering over things not in control and busy in speculations. Why not focus on preparation instead? Is it too hard to follow your dream? Yes, it is. Not everyone has guts to follow their own dream (though everyone is blessed to dream)
ILP and AIPTS will play a vital role in your next attempt provided you are honest with it and your effort. And if you want to regret later, then most welcome to be in the state you are in.
We want to convey only one thing in the last- every moment in the life is a fresh beginning. Don’t lose your precious time in thinking too much about your past efforts or the lack of it. Just focus on the present and make it count by giving your 100%.
Are you prepared to embrace the sunny side of your life and flash it to the world?
Oho, just get going already!
Your friend, philosopher and guide