|Image Source: www.synnovatia.com|
All people who are close to me have some good things to say about me. For many, I might be a pillar of support, and a source of good counsel, or honest feedback, or someone they can expect unwavering loyalty from. However, if they were to be asked about me, each and every one of these friends would point out the same negative trait, and that is super pessimism. Although for certain situations, I can vehemently say that I am more practical than pessimistic, it would be absolutely dishonest on my part to deny this. In fact, I am an eternal pessimist (well, almost).
If you were to ask me what I think makes pessimists turn out to be so cynical, I think it could be because of an abject fear of failure. This fear can either be by inherent nature, or due to a past experience of failure that resulted in dejection and humiliation. Also, the greater the degree of effort and toil that went into an attempt before the failure, the bigger the degree of cynicism.
I've had my share of failures. I wouldn't say that I always got a raw deal, but I guess it wouldn't be wrong to say that there was a stage in life when every time I failed, I was made to feel depressed about it. To get humiliation instead of encouragement at every fall tends to make you avoid walking on certain paths. And that is what happened to me. I avoided trying too hard, since I always thought I would fail and face humiliation.
There was this professional course that I had attempted many times, but somehow failed to crack. Loved ones who were initially supportive eventually lost patience. Loss of patience soon translated into taunts and jibes, which would make me really depressed. Also, since the course was what was keeping me from a full time job, I began to feel like a burden. Eventually, I took up a low paying job, just to keep myself busy and to stay away from the feeling of being a black sheep. I avoided meeting friends, thinking I was embarassment personified.
One day, I met a friend after a long time. During the course of our conversation, I learnt that he had joined a coaching class for management course entrance exams. Out of curiosity, I asked him to show me his study material. The books covered interesting stuff like English, visual reasoning, logical reasoning, maths, and so on. It didn't look hard at all. He told me that although the study material was interesting, scoring well enough to secure admission at a premier institute was not an easy feat. A candidate needed to firstly score well in the written exam, and then also do well at a round of Group Discussions and Personal Interviews (GD-PI). He then asked whether I would consider attempting the entrance test myself.
I wasn't ready for another potential failure yet. My response was a quick "No", without thinking too much about my chances.
My friend, however, was not willing to give up without trying. He said, "Look dude, you're intelligent. Maybe you've had bad luck with your professional course, but hey, maybe a management course will help you turn the tide. Why don't you give it a try?"
"Nah", I said, determined to keep my resolve intact.
"Look, even if you don't do well, you have nothing much to lose, right? Also, enrolling yourself for the entrance exam isn't very expensive. Why don't you try it out?"
"What if I fail?"
"What if nobody knows you've attempted such a test?"
"How am I gonna join this coaching class?"
"Why don't you take photocopies of my study material for yourself and read up in your spare time?"
I smiled, "Thanks dude."
"Don't worry dude", he said. "We're together in this"
I promised my friend that I'd give it a try.
Well, I ended up doing reasonably well in the written test. I messed up the GD-PI a wee bit, but it was enough to get into a well-known institute. I mustered up courage, informed my folks about the test.
The best thing is that my family supported me, both emotionally and financially, and I ended up with a Management Degree in Finance in 2010.
All this was possible because of the pep talk, encouragement and advice of my friend. He brought out within me a ray of optimism that had somehow gone below the surface.