Motivation for IAS series: #1 Inside the mind of an aspirant

Different kinds of aspirants

All aspirants of Civil Services are different. They have different personalities and exposures. They have different financial and domestic backgrounds. The reasons for their pursuit varies and so does their resolve. In the first episode of our new series “Motivation for IAS” , we will discuss different kinds of aspirants, their reasons and the psychology of their choices.

1. Those who take it up by choice – They have thought rationally, fully aware of the perks and responsibilities they will have as a civil administrator. The main driving force for such aspirants are either power, prestige, status and a meaningful life, or else they may have realized that those who can, must try and get into a position where they can help the weak. These kind of aspirants have strong reasons as their driving force and can persevere.

2. Those who leap into it out of passion- They have no particular reason. They just want it. Never dreamt of anything less, nor anything more. If you ask them why IAS, they will look at you as if they are feeling sorry for you and turn the question at you “Why not?” These type of aspirants have strong emotions and feelings to drive them.

3. Those who are coerced into it- The coercion can be of many kinds. It may be explicit. Your parents may have decided the career path for you, just the thing they had been doing up till now. Or it may be implicit, as in case when a distant relative qualified the exam. Your parents make it a point to bring up his/her name just when you thought they were past their fascination for IAS. This is kind of a tricky situation. You may either feel terribly undervalued and begin to hate the exam as well as your IAS cousin and eventually one of the following happens- your parents stop pestering you, or you may learn to feign a deaf ear.

It is however also possible that you feel inspired, get in touch with your celebrity cousin and decide to try for yourself. The way you will take the pressure will only be determined by your nature and personality. If you decide to work as diligently as it takes and appear for the examination, you will have a strong support system of family. If instead you decide that you must hate everyone and everything which reminds you of your haughty cousin, it is because of your nature. I can tell you to take it positively, raise your spirits, etc. but it never helps, so I won’t bother. Of course you can manage your nature and personality, just not in a jiffy.

4. Those who need it- The reasons can be numerous.

Perhaps your dad owns a huge company and your brother is a rising magnate, you lack business acumen or are simply not interested. What do you do to have an equal status as them without getting into business?

In another case, a fresh graduate may not be satisfied with a job that a graduation degree can fetch and also feel that he/she lacks necessary skills/grades to go for higher education. What should this young graduate do to convince his parents (and himself) to leave the current job or turn down a placement offer?

Some aspirants do not feel the need to qualify. Instead what they need is some time. They are not enjoying what they are currently doing and want to figure out their lives. So what do they do to take a break and still escape the quacky aunties offering free advices? That’s right. They opt for Civil Services.

5. Those who want to try their luck- Strictly speaking, these are not aspirants. They have no idea why they want to qualify, they do not know the work profile or the responsibilities. All they care about are the perks they are entitled to as an officer. All they seek are quick black magic tricks to crack IAS. Since IAS is not a game of luck, we shall discount them from our discussion henceforth.

It is important to know which category you belong to. The classification is not sharp and your situation may be a mix and match of multiple categories. You need to understand yourself first and then only you can make a reasonable strategy.

It may sound like a spiritual message, but IAS preparation is more than just learning stuff. It is about growing on two different fronts- the span of your knowledge as well as the depth of your understanding. Introspection is the first step.