With the CAT exam being around the corner, I know how you would be feeling – fairly nervous and a little afraid. I feel you. I have been in your shoes. Having been in touch with you all this while, I know most of you have truly burned the midnight oil, I know you have grappled hard with all the three sections, and have done all you could have done.
I understand your anxiety and overwhelming emotions at this point. I understand your fear. Fear of failure. Fear of the possibility of getting stuck in the job that has been sapping you mentally and emotionally. I understand your fear of instability. Fear of joblessness and being called a black sheep of the family. Fear of others calling you mediocre. I understand it all. I have been through all.
In November 2017, I had been going through the same state of mind, and then, on November 21, I scribbled one note in my diary that I am sharing below.
November 21, 2017 | 12:30 AM
So, with D-Day just five days away, here I am,
in the last leg of a scintillating endeavor.
Not so nervous, but yes, a bit afraid. Fear of failure, you know. But I am ok with it. I know how much hard work I have put in, and I completely back myself no matter what the results will be.
In the first place itself, I told myself what is more important is the process, not the results. And I can contend that I have succeeded. In the first place, I promised myself that I won’t give up midway. I promised myself that I would embrace everything that comes my way. I promised myself that I would take everything in my stride. And to this day, I have been successful. So, whatever destiny has in store for me, I am ready to embrace it.
As I look back today, I can see a complete turnaround in me as a person. This is what I took the challenge for. What this pursuit has made of me is truly satisfying. My Heart knows what all I have been through in the last year, and I feel it was all so damn worth it.
6 AM to 11 PM! Work and study! For days and months!
I have truly savored this year-long odyssey; a transformational journey of patience and persistence.
Have witnessed failure. Have cried. Have witnessed excellence. Have smiled. Have witnessed unwavering patience. Have realized strength. The strength to endure. The strength to wait.
Now it’s time to hold my head high, keep my chin up, and walk with impunity because I have done all I could have done. No regrets. My results won’t define me, but my effort does. Period.
Do you know why I have shared it?
Because I want to tell you that the result of one exam does not define you but your effort does. This whole process is more important than the end result.
Do you know why?
It is because this effort, this transformational journey, and the whole process shape your character. It is more important than the CAT result because the CAT exam is just a means, not the end. But this process makes you stronger and wiser. It teaches you the value of patience, persistence, and perseverance. And these traits will help you achieve your goals eventually. Once you learn to be honest with your efforts, you will be better off in your life eventually.
And so, I want to tell you –
It is okay even if you don’t get the desired result this time. Don’t be too harsh on yourself by judging yourself by a single result. Be kind to yourself and keep learning. Don’t fear failure because there is no failure in life. There are only setbacks that give you experiences and learnings. These setbacks only make us wiser and stronger. We learn more from setbacks than from success. Failure is powerful. It has the power to inspire us and transform us from within that is imperative to make difference. Every single disappointment and setback can be a fierce source of inspiration. So, embrace failure because in doing so, we will no longer fear it.
In fact, we should look at setbacks differently. A setback is good. It makes our success even sweeter.
After all, what would you cherish in retrospection if you don’t come through any friction?
In my life so far, I have learned more from setbacks and disappointments than from anything else. I fail. I feel bad, and I move on. And I think that’s the way it should be.
My final words:
All that being said, I want you to have a positive mindset. Focus on giving your best on D-day. Do not think about the result and the what-ifs that follow. I tried doing that, and so, despite never crossing 120 marks in mocks, I scored 158 marks in the CAT exam. So, focus. Those three hours, if spent with full focus and a positive attitude with your heart in the right direction, can be a gamechanger because hard work never goes in vain. In some way or the other, it pays off. Hard work works. Period.