Heart to heart: To everyone who reads this blog.

Hi people!

Today I have nothing much to say, but I thought let’s talk anyway! It is nice to sometimes have unplanned conversations, right? 🙂

I have been wanting to apologise for not writing regularly – training has been much, much busier than I expected it to be. And rightly so. Therefore, it is taking a while for me to settle down in my schedule, and just when I think I have settled down, something new comes and throws it off. Last week, we went on a week-long trek and now the whole time table needs resetting. We have exams next week and so sometimes, any activity other than studying starts making one feel guilty. As an aspirant, I am sure each one of you identifies with that on so many levels.

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#8 Civil Services and Essay – Showing who you are, on paper.

Hi everyone!

Coming to Essay preparation, let me begin with two caveats:

  1. Essay is a subjective thing. It is completely possible that with a different examiner, I might have got very low marks. So if you differ strongly with something I tell you, please feel free to pay heed to your own opinions of things. Inner voices are important.
  2. There are no shortcuts to anything, and the least of all for writing. When I say that I did not prepare for Essay, it only means that I did not really buy a book on “How to write an Essay” and read it, but I was consciously thinking about what to write about many things. The thinking part is the most essential part, always remember that. What you are doing when you don’t have the book in front of you is an important component of your preparation.

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#7 Civil Services and Second steps: Of Mains and Mindset.

Hi everyone!

Since I have already written two articles on Insights about Mains and Essay, I will be sourcing the same articles here. I don’t think I have any new thing to add to what I have already written.

Please feel free to ask questions, and I will try my best to answer them.

When it was my Mains, I went under depression, it is a hard time after all. I read a book called “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen, and this was what really helped me. I am telling you this because many a times we are at a point where we don’t know who or what to ask anyone or even yourself. At times like these, it is important that you relax, be patient and tell yourself that you aren’t doing this because this was easy. Whatever be your opportunity cost of doing this, whatever your dreams, vision, insecurities – right now, just focus on the immediate next of it. Put everything else in a tiny bag and fold it to keep it in a corner of your brain. Take it out when you have done your karma. And before I start with the article, I just want to say that this power to choose what we think is with no one else but ourselves. That is a very, very powerful thought – think about it. Until then, Stay very strong!

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The journey of Civil Services – A talk and Q&A.

Pondicherry University, quite large heartedly, invited me over for a talk with the students of the School of Management. I just wanted to share the talk, in case it might benefit someone. We had a wonderful Q&A session afterwards, and while I don’t have the complete video, I have uploaded the one I have. My sincere apologies, also, for the occasional tumbling of the video. The audio is intact, however, and that is all that matters in my opinion.

Here are those videos. I am saving them here both for my own record and comfort, as well as an endeavour to make it reach to someone who might identify with my journey and struggles. If you do, please don’t forget to tell me.:) I welcome disagreements!

The world, after all is not made of only atoms – it is made also of tiny little stories. Each of which is equally important.

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#4 Civil Services and the Social Media: What lies beyond the Internet?

I want to start by showing – with the use of words – how most of us study now-a-days. And just to give my readers a relatable example, I used to be at least almost this same person two years back.

Let’s call this gentleman Mr. X. X wakes up in the morning and the first thing he reaches out to, is his phone. Facebook, check. WhatsApp, check. Telegram, check. E-mails, check. And if X is a civil services aspirant, his day thus begins with a distraction. Finally, when he does sit for studying, he writes an answer on Insights Secure, but wait. Someone commented something on Disqus for his previous comment. That needs to be checked and replied to. Then two hours later, boring study feeling creeps in, and he opens the discussion at Forum IAS. Someone made a joke about something, and he laughs. His clever, witty mind thinks of an answer, and so he types it there. If he is a “real dude”, maybe he takes out time to check his Instagram and Twitter accounts too. Back to studies. But, now, what would people be thinking about what he wrote? Did they at least understand it? Idiots, they don’t get a joke, he thinks. Open Forum again. Someone said something again, he laughs or doesn’t laugh at it. Who cares!

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#3 Civil Services and a Job – Chasing your dreams while working.

Amit Kumar 20170426_223918

I wrote this contributory article at insightsonindia.com, and I am reproducing it here on my blog. This is in continuation to my previous posts.

I work from 9 to 5 in my office. I have to work to be financially independent. I have to work to support my family. I am too old to study anyway. So many people are sitting at home and studying, it is not even possible for me to do this.

I work from 9 to 5 in my office. So actually I value my time so much more. I should have less anxiety, less insecurity since I am financially independent. I have people around who I can talk to when I need to. I am old, and therefore, I comprehend and understand a perspective in a much mature way. I know other people are sitting at home, but I have my strong points, and I must focus on them.”

If there was to be a short version of this article, the difference between the thought processes above is all one needs to observe, understand and adopt – if one is preparing for the Civil Service Examination(CSE) with a job.

In the last few days, every third query email that I read asks me the same question – Can it be done with a job? So I thought this is a very pertinent question, especially since the age limit is increased now, and many working professionals want to write the exam. Since I cleared the exam while in a job, here are a few things I want to put across: Continue reading

#2 Civil Services and The Real Game: Conquering the battle in the Mind

I want to tell my readers at the outset that this post, this article in continuity of the last one, is not supposed to be your motivation. It should not be. And there is a reason for it.

There is a lot of difference between Motivation and Discipline. Motivation may start you off, help you on a given day, in a given moment; but Discipline – the Habit, my darling, is what me and you should be looking for, striving for, working for.

“Inspiration is for amateurs”, said Chuck Close, “the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Last week, I was reading a query sent to me by a gentleman – via email – in which he told me that this was his fourth attempt to the exam, and asked how should he take out the fear of failure out of his mind? Aah, that, my mind said in a nostalgic tone. I think this is a question that a lot of us had/have, but we deal with it in different degrees of resilience.

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#1 Civil Services and You: What drives you?

A very famous quote of Jim Carrey goes like this:

‘I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.’

Let me begin by telling you something that I have learnt in the 30 odd years of my life and from the books of Psychology – you do not know yourself as well as you think you do.

Freudian theories are discredited today, but the idea of subconscious remains. You have a part of the brain that is manifest and a part that is hidden from your own knowledge. The latter affects the former, and thus, your desires are moulded by your latent fears, insecurities and sometimes embarrassing desires.

Not only that, we are in a constant state of flux. You might want something yesterday, get it today but not need it tomorrow. We are ever changing, ever moulded by things happening around and to us.

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