I am quite confident that many of us fear failure. In fact, a few aspirants have reached out to me and shared how their fear of failure holding them back. It happens. Whenever we invest our time and energy in any pursuit, we expect a positive result. But life is not that fair. Sometimes, we don’t get what we want, and if it happens multiple times, fear creeps in, and we stop putting in efforts to achieve anything extraordinary.
I have been through this quite a few times. There have been times when I underperformed because I was overwhelmed by the fear of failure and what others would think about me. But over a period, I have found a way not to let the fear of failure get the better of my nerves. Let me share one incident with you. Before I share that incident, I want to tell you that it is not any rule of thumb. It works for me. It may or may not work for you.
One intriguing anecdote:
A few months back, ONGC visited our campus for recruitment. By that time, I already had a job offer from one of the MNCs. However, the placement committee declared ONGC as a dream company. So I applied for it despite having an offer from another company. I applied for it because it was giving a relatively better salary than the other job offer that I had. After a day, I received an email that I was shortlisted for the interview. That’s when I felt I could make it to ONGC, and this made me very cautious and nervous. I started preparing for the interview whole-heartedly, which was scheduled two days later. When I informed my parents about this, they got very excited. After all, it was a PSU. They asked me to prepare well for it. Their expectation got me into pressure.
On the interview day, I was feeling very nervous. I was eighth in the list to be interviewed. This grew my nervousness. Whenever anyone came out of the interview room, I would ask him/her the questions that the interviewers asked them. And their answers grew my anxiety.
So, I called my mother and told her that I was feeling nervous. She said, “Take this interview with a free mind. You have nothing to lose as you already have a job offer.”
And this trick worked wonders for me.
After the call, until I was called for the interview, all I did was self-talk. I reminded myself of my abilities. I also tried to look down at the ONGC job saying that even if I get selected, I might get posted in the rural area. Moreover, the salary difference was also not much. So, I need not worry about the result of the interview. I told myself that I would go there and express myself.
And when I went into the interview room, I did exactly that. I remained calm and confident, and I just expressed myself. And it worked for me. I got selected. In fact, I was the only one who got selected for that profile.
So, how do I keep fear of failure at bay?
The trick is that I do not give too much importance to anything that I want. It is because if I do that, I start thinking a lot about the result and get myself into unnecessary pressure and eventually underperform. So, I say to myself – let’s put the effort. If it pays off, great. If not, no worries. Let’s not expect just too much. That’s not the end of life. I will have other alternatives. My learnings from this pursuit will help me in my life in some way or the other.
And so, I always believe that we should always have a backup, a plan-b. As someone has rightly said,
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
A word of caution:
When I say I do not give too much importance, I don’t mean that I get careless. No, I don’t. It is just I am ambitious and try to achieve goals, but at the same time, I say to myself that my goal is not the end of life. There is more to life than just one goal. It helps me remain calm and confident, which in turn enhance my efficiency and productivity.
Food for thought:
Why did India perform extra-ordinarily well in the 2007 T20 WorldCup?
Please, do not crumble under pressure. Don’t think too much about the end result. Enjoy this phase of preparation and always try to have a plan-b in life because there are no certainties in life. Back your abilities, and keep aside the fear and other negative emotions. Don’t be afraid of failure because failure is always an event, not a person. I hope you understood the crux of the story.
- From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey