Self-confidence is 'sine qua non'
Many aspirants who jump into the fray with all confidence, fail to meet their own expectations because they hear too many 'noises' emanating from outside. Failure of friends or failure of a colleague, who they think was intelligent, completely dE-motivates them. A bogey of negative thoughts begins to be created in their mind about the invincibility of the Civil Services exam. Slowly, they become the victims of their own fear. Both, their concentration and output, deteriorate. Instead of a virtuous cycle, they become a victim of a vicious cycle. One good way of coming out of this mindset is by thinking about your strengths. As mentioned earlier, if you have picked up your Optionals based on your own strength, there is no reason to fail just because others are failing. In the long run, it is your strength and inner confidence that will hold you in good stead. Nothing else matters.
Preparation for Civil Services exam is like living inside a pressure cooker. You can gauge this pressure from any dedicated aspirant. These pressures are of various kinds. The top-most pressure is preparation related. No matter how much you prepare, there will always be areas that would require revision and further consolidation. You could call this the 'insufficiency syndrome' which affects just about everybody. The insufficiency syndrome is independent of hours of work and number of years of preparation. The idea, however, is not to scare the aspirants but to prepare your mindset to tackle the insufficiency syndrome.
Just Now Syndrome
The 'just now syndrome' can be seen in aspirants' panic-ridden faces every time you meet them. They are either in need of some urgent accommodation, books, notes, friends, guide or just about anything. They feel that once this particular thing is obtained, their way to become IAS is cleared. They forget the fact that the thirst for what is 'vital for this exam' never ends. It keeps shifting from one object to another. More important, the things that they link with attainment of goals, many a time, have no bearing on performance. You would notice that such aspirants after having obtained the said item forget it very easily. The book they would require would be left unread for months together or dumped in need of some other very important book.
Follow your Mind Map Intelligent vs Laborious Urban vs Rural Background
Some time back India Today carried a cover story on the growing ruralization of the bureaucracy. India Today had sent a team to LBSNAA, Mussourie to collect the information. It does not require an Einstein's brain to see that the conclusion arrived at by the magazine was half-baked. It is true that candidates from the rural background were being selected but it would be native to assume that rural background is equal to rural aspirants. There is a big difference between aspirants belonging to the rural background and the rural aspirants.
It is a commonly known fact that a large percentage of aspirants belong to BIMARU states. But if you were to go deep into their antecedents, you would notice that they may have a rural background but they are in no way rural. Generally, those aspirants from BIMARU region compete successfully who have received good education mostly in English-medium convent schools and pursued their further studies in reputed engineering colleges or have moved to metros for further studies. Thus, the so-called rural background no longer remains rural. In fact, the aspirants never were rural in the first place. They speak good English and one cannot point out any difference between them and the so-called urban aspirants. There are very few aspirants who are actually from rural areas.
The above fact does not make aspirants from rural areas less competitive than others. But, it is suggested that aspirants living in rural areas should not derive any extra meaning from the so-called triumph of rural aspirants. As far as the examination pattern goes, there is nothing to suggest that aspirants hailing from the rural areas have some advantage over others. Everybody enjoys equal opportunity.
Hindi/Regional vs English Medium
There is a general belief that English medium aspirants score over Hindi/ Regional language aspirants. The lure of scoring extra motivates aspirants to abandon their medium of expression in favour of English or vice versa. It is advised to the aspirants to exercise restraint in this regard. In Civil Services exam, your concepts are tested. Good concepts can be built if you are trying to learn in the language in which you are comfortable. In the examination hall, there will be many occasions where you have to formulate your answer based on your previous knowledge. Essay is one subject, which is written with off hand experiences. During such times it is always better that you express yourself in the medium you know the best. Switching mediums just for unknown benefits will affect your performance. It is advisable not to make language an extra burden.
Aspirants of Hindi/Regional languages sometimes face constraints in other aspects such as books, periodicals, journals, guides, etc.
For example, there is no substitute to 'The Hindu' newspaper in either Hindi or in any of the regional languages. So the information which you collect from 'The Hindu' will have to be translated to your choice language, which is time consuming.
Moreover, many candidates choose Hindi/Regional language presuming that the answer papers will be corrected by their fellow comrades from their own state. This is never true. Papers are corrected by senior professors who are above these small parochial considerations. If you are looking for some undue advantage, UPSC is not the place to get that.
Yet, if you are not at all comfortable in English and all through your career, you studied in Hindi/Regional language, then go ahead with your choice of language. Please remember that such candidates will have to put in extra effort to catch up with the rest. That is why, if we look at the top 50 ranks, a very few candidates from the Hindi/Regional languages make it to these ranks. In the bottom ranks we find many candidates from other languages But please remember, our aim is not to get these bottom ranks.
Once Begun, Never Turn Back
This is the story about the tiny frogs...
There once was a bunch of tiny frogs,...
...who arranged a racing competition.
The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer the contestants...
The race began...
Honestly, No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. Statements such as:
"Oh, WAY too difficult!!
They will NEVER make it to the top."
"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"
floated in the air.
The tiny frogs began collapsing.
One by one......
Except for those who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher...
The crowd continued to yell.
"It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"
More tiny frogs got tired and gave up... ...But ONE continued higher and higher and higher... This one wouldn't give up!
At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower.
Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!
Then all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it.
A contestant asked the tiny frogs how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal?
It turned out...That the winner was DEAF!!!!
The moral of this story is: Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic...
...cause they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you. The ones you have in your heart!
Always think of the power words have.
Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions!
Therefore: ALWAYS be...
Above all: Be DEAF when people tell YOU that YOU cannot fulfill YOUR dreams!
Always think: I can do this!