Taking on IAS exam - one of the toughest recruitment tests in the world presents itself with its own set of problems and challenges. Among the many challenges faced by IAS aspirants, the most common and probably most exigent one is of motivation. All aspirants would be aware of the fact that IAS Preparation is a long game, in fact very long and taxing game. The only thing that keeps aspirants going on this difficult and perfidious path of IAS preparation is motivation. As a word ‘motivation’ may not sound all that important, but it plays the role of a game changer for aspirants, when it comes to IAS preparation.
What is Motivation?
As a literary term, motivation means ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way‘; and in the case of IAS preparation, the reason for committing yourself to working very hard lies in the reward of clearing the UPSC exam and being an IAS officer. While being an IAS officer remains the ultimate motivation for the aspirants, but it rarely inspires the kind of commitment and hard work that is necessary to take on the daily challenges faced during the preparation phase. Like all other factors, motivation also has a shelf life, so while being an IAS officer may be the ultimate goal; its shelf life and effectiveness in tackling the daily challenges is quite limited. Therefore, aspirants must look at other factors and reasons that can help them focus and stay on course to crack the IAS exams.
Tips to stay motivated for IAS Preparation
While there are many articles related to practical aspects of staying motivated during the IAS preparation phase, not many focus upon the psychological aspects. Below, we shall discuss how you can shape your psyche to help you stay motivated and inspired during the course of IAS Preparation.
Avoid Day Dreaming
Most of IAS aspirants being their preparation phase with the expectation of a fairy tale ending. Having dreams, ambitions and confidence to achieve them can be a very good motivator to start off things, but when it comes to actionable steps, such factors fall short in putting things in perspective. For the majority of the time, aspirants end up dreaming about the fairytale ending of achieving their goals rather than building a reliable path that leads to it. Merely, fantasizing about being an IAS officer is not going to change things, it would require proper planning and executable preparation strategy.
Build an actionable IAS Preparation strategy
The second and probably the most important motivating factor for an IAS aspirant would be devising an actionable preparation strategy for IAS exams. Building a strategy that takes care of all the challenges that you would encounter en-route to IAS success will act as the best motivating factor for candidates. Moreover, having a strategy that is effective and shows its results immediately also boosts the confidence of candidates helping them to devise innovative solutions for unique problems.
Remove the pressure
One of the first steps in being motivated for the long term challenge of preparing for IAS exams, is to be free from any kind of pressure; be it social, peer, familial or any other. It may not strike as a direct form of pressure, but opting for IAS examination to prove a point or show your abilities to other is also a kind of pressure. While aspirants may not realize it, but constantly comparing yourself to others is also a kind of peer pressure that keeps you focused upon merely matching the competition rather than competing against yourself and improving your abilities from the point they stood at yesterday. These are the factors that will let you down soon and have you searching for the reason you opted for the tough choice of IAS exams in the first. Therefore, the first thing, any aspirant should do to get rid of any kind of pressure they may be facing, which may have compelled them to take up IAS as a career choice.
While it is obvious for IAS aspirants to pitch cracking the coveted IAS examination as their ultimate goal, it doesn’t serve the purpose then it comes to being an inspirational factor. Like any other examination, the IAS exam is just another test – a means to an end; and until that end is etched clearly in your mind it wouldn’t help you to focus and workout all the modalities required to clear the exam. For some the end might be to serve the country by being part of the bureaucratic setup at the highest echelons, for some it may be to prove a point to someone, for many others it may be something as simple as cracking it because people say it’s very tough. Whatever the reason may be, finding the purpose for which you want to clear the IAS exam, will act as the best motivator, whenever you feel down in the dumps. While, many may find it contradictory to the earlier point about eradicating pressure; the fact is, as far as it works as a motivation and doesn’t lead to performance pressure, such pressures can work in your favour.
Make today’s goals your top priority
The best way to tackle IAS preparation is by looking at it as a large project divided into daily tasks and goals; rather than a one long and extensive on-going process. This essentially means, setting daily goals and task list that needs to be achieved in terms of preparation details and strategy. Committing yourself to fulfilling your daily tasks and goals at hand will help you gradually chip-off the rock and give it a shape of your choice. The more you work, the more tasks you complete and the more goals you achieve, it will have a spiral effect and you will get the necessary confidence and motivation to continue doing so every day. However, aspirants must keep in mind that this strategy will work only if you have clearly outlined your IAS preparation strategy with daily goals. While focusing on daily goals is very important, it is also vital to evaluate and self-inspect if the goals you are achieving daily are helping your long-term cause of cracking the IAS exam. Therefore, aspirants must also decide in advance time to self-evaluate the preparation strategy and daily goals and what is their impact on the long-term goal.