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Coping With Civil Services Failure - Some Practical Suggestions

edited April 2015 in Preparation FAQs
I would like to share something I learned in psychology and have applied successfully in my life on various occasions. It is about handling depressing times. The caveat is that you must CONSCIOUSLY attempt to tide over the emotionally challenging situation and not be helplessly tied up by it.

There are three ways of coping with such situations :

1. Emotion-focused : You focus on the emotions as they come. You just 'feel' it. You feel bad and then you feel worse by realizing how bad you feel. Freewheeling emotions may be fine only to the extent that they help you vent and express your outrage, disgust and disappointment. But if prolonged, it is an endless cycle of doom and gloom. Get out of it asap.

2. Problem-focused : You focus on the problem in a rational manner. Look at it 'from above'. It is a perspective that you need in order to see where exactly you and your problem lie in the larger scheme of things. So in our case, we can think about the knowledge we have gained during preparations, how we at least made it to the mains, how we can use this experience for something greater in life that we may not have even thought of. Think. Most importantly, remember how small we are in this universe. Insignificant. On this planet, we are transitory, for a short time. So above everything, life is about enjoying it while it lasts. We should not get tied up by artificial social pressures and agonize about our failures. So, think 'correctly'.

3. Social-support focused : Consciously surround yourself with people. Friends, family, loved ones. Don't be alone too much. A few days, weeks or months and BAM! you'll be surprised that you have healed so magically. You can also help others in need. Distribute chocolates to kids on the street, give them balloons, teach them, laugh with them. You'll realise how good can life be. Most importantly, when you have healed, help others heal and look out for people who may be in need of your support in their bad times.

Life is good if you look at it the right way and make an effort to make it better!
When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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Comments

  • About Point Number 3

    The natural tendency at these times is to shut ourselves off. That's instinctual, especially because many of us are introverts and become more so during preparations because we cut off social linkages as we consider them 'distractions' in our preparations. Hence, social support has to be cultivated as a "conscious" effort. It doesn't necessarily mean talking to people about your problems. It simply means not being alone all the time. Just 'surround' yourself with people. It's a highly individualistic society that we're creating nowadays because nobody has time for another. But remember that community is essential for our emotional well being. So, get out of that cocoon, that shell, even if you don't feel like it. Tough at first but it'll surely be rewarding.
    When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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  • edited April 2015
    The problem with failure is not just the disappointments that we have to face, what hurts most is the feeling that we have failed our parents our loved ones who have counted on us who believed in us when no one else did.

    I still remember the look in my dad's eyes when I told him I failed prelims(2nd time). The pain still lingers in my heart the pain of witnessing the loss of hope in my dad's eyes. The smile which was always present on his face even after all the sufferings in his life somehow vanished the moment he heard the news.

    This one thing that has forced me to work harder in life so that I never have to witness the same. This is what keeps me going.

    As for a person belonging to lower middle class I would say secure your financial avenues first. This will not only benefit you financially but more importantly it will take the huge burden of your shoulders which eventually would help to concentrate on the goal(upsc).

    Once again I will say " once a failure does not mean a failure for life".

    Introspect, understand your faults and mistakes, more importantly work on it. And soon you will find yourselves on the other side. Good luck. Tc :)
    Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles...
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  • @czar sir
    Hope you dnt mind me barge in on your thread.
    Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles...
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  • You're right @Woodpecker. Financial security takes the pressure off but it can also consume precious time.. In my case, thankfully, I have started off on my JRF. That has taken the financial pressure off but it also requires me to double my efforts because the work just got doubled.

    I guess there's one word that should sum this all up. RESILIENCE. Resilience is a trait that keeps us going after all.
    When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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  • Failed for d third time. Life is in a conundrum. Dnt knw hw to handle all these prrssures.
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  • guys if u want to give 2015 this is best time to find out what upsc wants.i have seen my close frend thru without even studying.....and i have seen my senior passing mains everytime,,,,,so guys leave futile discussions and find out what they want....i have heard that rks bhai is also out after writing good answers.....so guys plzz i request all to solve this puzzle
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  • Failed for d third time. Life is in a conundrum. Dnt knw hw to handle all these prrssures.
    There's a reason UPSC provides more than three attempts. Pursue your dreams. In any case, our failures are greater than those who dreamt mediocre dreams and achieved them easily. Just have conviction that things will turn out well. But go out and take chances. The more we venture out the more opportunities we find. It''ll all be well, my friend.
    When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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  • Bookish terms may provide some solace,,,,,, bt wat to do when the failure affects our parents the most,,,,,,,,
    It is worst thing in this world one has to deal with,,,,,!!!
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  • Tell them that you're cool with it. Tell them that failure doesn't affect you any more because you've learned that success means many different things. Put up a brave face and have conviction in what you say. Smile and stay happy. If they're happy in your happiness, you've done it right.
    When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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  • Hi guys, this was my third mains and hopes definitely rise after interview in last attempt, more so of family members and peer groups. For them, its best that you show a brave face to this defeat and for yourself, its time for contemplation, there must be some flaw in the strategy which must be tackled, if we have to appear again. Otherwise, life is much more bigger and beautiful than upsc and its exams. All the best to everyone :)
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  • Anybody has any idea ,,,,how to get hold of a copy of our answer-sheets??
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  • guys if u want to give 2015 this is best time to find out what upsc wants.i have seen my close frend thru without even studying.....and i have seen my senior passing mains everytime,,,,,so guys leave futile discussions and find out what they want....i have heard that rks bhai is also out after writing good answers.....so guys plzz i request all to solve this puzzle
    rks dint qualify? He wrote excellent answers


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  • who never climbs, rarely falls

    Realize this is a worthy fall, atleast God provided us with this opportunity to write mains for chosen few (17000 out of over 4.5 lakh people). I would say that half of our problem relates to our fear regarding what future holds for us. If u r sticking with UPSC, be assured that from now onwards you will do incremental studies over n above u already know, so it wont be a very difficult task like the one you made earlier. Stay focused n hit the areas u lacked preparation.
    “It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.”
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  • Failed for d third time. Life is in a conundrum. Dnt knw hw to handle all these prrssures.


    There's a reason UPSC provides more than three attempts. Pursue your dreams. In any case, our failures are greater than those who dreamt mediocre dreams and achieved them easily. Just have conviction that things will turn out well. But go out and take chances. The more we venture out the more opportunities we find. It''ll all be well, my friend.
    Thanks for d reply, bt its easier said dan done. Preparation for UPSC not only is fraught with uncertain results but it invariably affects personal life, social & familial relations as also being in a job compounds d issues. Take me, a 28 - year graduate hailing from a small town in bihar, having a mediocre govt job, has to go thru several pulls nd preasures. Hopes hinging on success in upsc otherwise a lower-middlr class lifr with no opportunities is what is waiting for me for d rest of my life.
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  • Just now told my dad about the result over phone. Even he was wondering when the next notification will be out and all that. I reaped the reward of keeping the expectations of my parents low all the time. I always told them that my exams went 'just fine'. Never raised their hopes. So here's my dad telling me that "karma" matters more than the reward and the main thing is the effort, not the result. I told him that it didn't affect me much this time because I have thought about alternatives too. He told me to have a free mind and not be worried. All good.

    Meanwhile in my university hostel, I took a cold water bath, wore my best t-shirt just to feel good, had a strong coffee and picked up today's The Hindu.

    Just another day in the life of a dreamer!
    When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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  • If we have written mains, it means

    1. We dreamt big.
    2. We cleared the first hurdle.

    In my dictionary, these two count as successes. I know the society sets different parameters, but at personal level, I don't know why, I already feel successful. But hungry for greater successes too, no doubt.
    When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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  • Plz can anyone provide info regarding the increased number of attempts that upsc had provided. Is it valid till 2015
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  • I m asking coz i m already 30 and have used 3 attempts..thnx in advance..
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  • I guess I am satisfied that I gave one of my best shots at anything. Failure was not an option I was considering but life has a way of its own sometimes.

    I know its hard to come to terms with such collosal failure, but we must be brave in front of tragedy. I know it sounds hard to pick ourselves up and give another year of our life to uncertainity, to maintain the rigor of preparation, but one can be brave only when one is afraid. Courage is when one rises above and beyond mere failures and successes and doing things just because you would rather face repeated failure than not havung tried at all.

    One must also be honest and gracious, there are far too many people including family, loved ones, friends etc. who unconditionally support us whether we are a mere failure or IAS. Its important to thank them for their support. Its equally important, perhaps the most important thing right now, to not loose our confidence and self-worth at this juncture. You are all intelligent and able people, trust me on this.

    When I did not make it to the final list last year, I was sad but there was a feeling that UPSC perhaps found better people than me who'd serve our society. There is satisfaction in that.

    I am not sure what I'd do next. I guess its too soon to think about that right now. Right now is the tine to put a brave face and not let it affext me.

    You all amazing people will be in my thoughts, I am not a religious man but I'll ask my mum to pray for you all as well.
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  • Just now told my dad about the result over phone. Even he was wondering when the next notification will be out and all that. I reaped the reward of keeping the expectations of my parents low all the time. I always told them that my exams went 'just fine'. Never raised their hopes. So here's my dad telling me that "karma" matters more than the reward and the main thing is the effort, not the result. I told him that it didn't affect me much this time because I have thought about alternatives too. He told me to have a free mind and not be worried. All good.

    Meanwhile in my university hostel, I took a cold water bath, wore my best t-shirt just to feel good, had a strong coffee and picked up today's The Hindu.

    Just another day in the life of a dreamer!


    Hi Czar
    I have been going through your comments and I really appreciate your selfless efforts to motivate us. What your father told you is same what my father tells me. He was services player in Air force, always teaches me not to give it up and face events like these with a sportsmanship quality. Though I am a constant failure yet I am trying my best to make him proud of me. I am feeling good by reading your comments after last night murder. Only thing that is worrying me is that when I look back I see I am walking with nothing in hand, all my friends are in foreign soils or in big MNCs in big position and I left my job and everything for this exam. Though there is no pressure on me it is just like I just now dont want to become financial burden on my family. Pinging my seniors to help me to get some job in or around delhi. With that at least I will get some confidance and will continue to wrok for my dreams. And yes I will wear my fav t shirt too and eat my fav aaloo ke parathes and of course, read The Hindu :)
    Now, why did you have to mention aloo paranthas? That makes me miss home.
    When the Czar has a cold, all Russia coughs.
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