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On the day of my IAS interview

On the day of my #IAS interview - I was sleep-deprived, overburdened with my office work, and was clearly underprepared.

Unlike my friends who had prepared full time for civil services, I had prepared along with a full-time job, and therefore, could take only 2 days off of my work to prepare for the interview.

To make matters worse, a week ago - my then-girlfriend had broken up with me. And there were a million emotions running through my mind on how I should handle the #UPSC panel on that day.

Long behold, my interview scores were amongst the highest in India that year.

What worked in my favor?

1. Confidence: I am thoroughly convinced that confidence always supersedes the content. No matter how well versed you are with the subject, if you can not confidently articulate it - you are doomed to perform poorly in an #interview.

2. Calmness: Imagine how productive you would be, if you weren’t anxious all the time?

Since, I had a great #job to fall back on - I was a billion times more productive and calmer than the other aspirants - who were treating this exam as a do or die situation.

To be brutally honest, it was because of my diverse experiences I was able to meticulously handle the stress of both interviews and the mains cycle.

Many youngsters preparing for IAS in India quit their jobs, take multiple years of sabbatical, and thoroughly screw up their 20s - in anxiety and depression with a hope of getting into civil services (that has a yearly cycle, less than .5% success rate, and an archaic curriculum).

There is no better way to screw up your life than prepare for government exams in India (without any backup plan).

From a career in the United Nations to social impact, to getting laterally hired - you can do a million things to create a large-scale impact.

Do write to me, if you are crumbling under pressure because of a few bad decisions you made in your 20s. . Life is definitely more than an exam that the British created to recruit loyal servants.


Author- Naman Shrivastava, Cofounder Global Governance Initiative, Ex- United Nations, Former Government of India Advisor

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