Anxiety is a very common emotion every human experiences some time or the other. The reasons for anxiety are so vast and varied ranging from an impending test, facing an interview, making an important presentation or a professional/ life decision. Even a child not returning home by 10 pm at night or travelling alone out of town causes anxiety in parents. When the reasons are so varied how does one find a single templated solution?
It is the fear of the result which causes more anxiety than appearing in the test/ interview. While passing a school/ college is a matter of preparation and should normally not become a cause of anxiety. Competitive examinations may still make candidates nervous but that doesn’t help in any way. Everyone knows when only 5 out of 100 candidates are to be selected than 95 will be rejected even if all of them get same marks. Even if all of them get 100 percent marks the selectors will work out some way to select only five.
It is well known that 95 will be rejected but our minds are not tuned to accepting failures. This weight of expectations of being one of five to be selected is what causes anxiety. In most cases become the cause of the failure. Candidate should believe in what Bhagwad Gita preaches “Do not worry about the result, just do your best”. The best among them will get selected. Too much of anxiety and expectations is what leads to corruption and mismanagement.
Soldiering and Anxiety….
How does a soldier control his mind in tense operational situation? What does he/ she do in operational conditions where it is nigh impossible to read the enemies’ mind? A commander may prepare his troops for 100 different situations, but the enemy may still come out with a totally unexpected response. Should that unnerve a trained soldier or be a cause of nervousness? Well, if the enemy has made you nervous by his actions, then in a way you have lost the game. Can a soldier or even a candidate/ professional facing a test/ interview let that happen? The answer is a definite No. But then there are times when you do lose. The failure results not from nervousness nervous but because the brain of the opponent worked better on that given day.
About two decades back as we were getting ready to move out for a military operation we were visited by a group of scientists. All of them had only one question to ask the soldiers “Are you nervous?”. They got a firm one-word answer “NO”. They found it hard to believe. I explained to them in soldiering, getting nervous in operations is not an option. Soldiers are rather excited as they move out of their posts for operations.
They are excited by the thought of doing something for the organisation/ nation. There is no thought of failure or ‘What will happen to me? weighing them down’. Soldiering is not about ‘me’ it is more about the organisation/ nation. This is the basic difference between a professional in the civil street and a soldier serving on the border. Every operation the soldiers carry out doesn’t bring in success. At times there are series of failures but still the soldiers move out for every new operation full of excitement.
How to avoid anxiety?
Youngsters should be taught in schools/ colleges that failures are part of life and should be accepted gracefully. The problems which life throws at people are not as simple as school exams which anyone can pass with some preparations.
Schools instead of focusing on just feeding information to the students should aim at making their mind capable of thinking, analyzing, being creative. People should not let fixated ideas/ choices bog them down. Why should a person limit his / her choices when options galore? Focus should be on what you want to do and how you want to do should not be a restricting factor. The aim should be to reach the goal using a logical and legal way. There are engineers who could not make it to IITs* in India so opted for other alternatives (NITs or private colleges) and are today way ahead of IITians. It does not matter from where one has studied, what matters is how well have you done in the college.
Be like soldiers, prepare well, keep the mind open for all contingencies and move out for every new operation with excitement. Let not a few failures divert you from your goal.
* IIT(Indian Institute of Technology) – Premier Engineering Institutes in India