July 2, 2020 at 6:35 am #360227NancyParticipant
I am struggling with self worth and belief in myself.
I have never been sure about what I wanted to do in life. My expectations out of a career were just- respectable, comfortable, interesting and ethical. However, I have always considered myself driven. With these broad requirements at my hand, my career choices have been through rejection of options rather than selecting any option. It’s as if I don’t know myself.
Given this, my parents rightly guided me towards giving an exam for my country’s Civil Services. This career path definitely has all the requirements I desire and also is very flexible, giving me the choice to explore diverse fields.
This is a very Indian Competitive Exam scenario. The goal being set, I just had to graduate in any subject to be able to give this exam- so I completed my Bachelors in English Literature last year. The plan was to give my best to this exam as soon as I am eligible to sit for it. So it was decided that June 19- June 20, I’d sit at home and prepare for this exam.
However, last whole year has been a disaster instead. I have studied so inconsistently that it is almost equivalent to not having studied at all. The loss of how it has messed up my attempt is still less than what it has done to my belief in myself.
Throughout last year I have seen myself repeat the cycle of starting things up, studying okayishly, not meeting targets, still trying, getting demotivated, then a huge gulf of a month (or even two!) of nothingness and worthlessness, then starting again, making up plans (knowing that they will most probably not be attained) and the cycle continues. I have almost come to hate my lack of will and determination. I cannot even hold true to my plans.
This cycle has taken out all self worth from me. I know this cycle well, and know the tools to help me maintain it too- exercising, meditation, consistency, some degree of stubbornness. And I try them out, too. But I somehow know that even all this wouldn’t last.
It’s not as if this career path is to blame for this inconsistency- if I were to do anything worthwhile, it would require all this dedication from me anyway. And I think this is the best of all options available right now, and I will regret it later in life if I don’t give my best. There is no dearth of reason why I should go in for this career choice in particular.
This career path was “The Plan”, for at least last 6-7 years. I have left many more traditionally lucrative options for appearing in this exam. It just crushes you when it doesn’t seem to work, and only you are the sole cause.
I talked to someone about it and they said that such dedication and perseverance can come only if I desire it from deep within my gut.
But the problem is- that I don’t desire it from my gut. Anyone’s response to this would be- “So what do you desire?”. My response is again, “I don’t know!”. I used to have this image of myself as a driven person. It is frustrating how that seems to be shattered. I still want to be driven, and that too, toward this exam, but it’s just that “you can’t will what you will”.
Someone reading this might think, “Oh maybe it’s too much of pressure”, but it isn’t. I haven’t done even 40% of what is required out of a serious candidate for this exam.
I am not even sure what to expect from any response to this. Because fundamentally the problem lies in my inconsistency and lack of hard work.July 2, 2020 at 7:10 am #360241
“I have always considered myself driven”- when you were driven, what were you driven to do at the time, and what was the social context of your drive (ex., a student going to school every day, socializing with other students)?
You shared that you completed a Bachelors in English Literature last year, and it was decided that June 2019- June 2020 will be the time for you to “sit at home and prepare for this exam”- reads to me that in the context of sitting at home preparing for an exam doesn’t work for you. Sometimes we make a plan that makes sense at the time, a logical plan, so it is the right choice in theory, but in practice it is the wrong choice. We can’t know ahead of time that it’s the wrong choice, so the best way of making long term choices is to evaluate it over time, to check if it is working for you in practice. If it’s not working for you practically, then adjust or change the plan.
“However, last whole year has been a disaster.. I have studied so inconsistently.. I have seen myself repeat the cycle of starting things up.. getting demotivated, then.. nothingness and worthlessness, then starting again”-
– the plan to sit at home June 19-June 20, was a quick decision to make. It took me a few seconds to type what I italicized here, these few words. But to follow this plan in practice takes much longer than a few seconds. It takes hours in each and every day, six or seven days a week, 30 days a month, month after month… the plan was not a good plan for you. It should have been changed instead of you remaining stuck in a plan that doesn’t work for you.
This kind of plan (a difficult plan for anyone, I think) required a secondary plan maybe: a plan to help you study alone for so many hours, day after day: daily exercise routine, meditation, a social life.. but if you did implement these things and you were still unmotivated (“I know.. the tools to help me.. exercising, meditation”), then indeed the plan was the wrong plan for you.
Time to abandon the plan, I say. What do you think?
anitaJuly 4, 2020 at 10:55 am #360533NancyParticipant
Thank you so much for replying. Your response has really helped.
When I wrote that I considered myself driven, I meant it in the context of all stages of educational institutes- trying to be on the top of the class, and also values-wise – being aware and committed to some social and environmental causes. These both, I think, constituted a major chunk of my identity.
Also, when you talk about abandoning the plan, do you mean abandoning this career or this particular strategy of sitting at home and preparing?
Looking forward to your reply.
Thank youJuly 4, 2020 at 11:12 am #360536
I will reply to you when I am back to the computer in a few hours.
anitaJuly 4, 2020 at 1:08 pm #360546
By suggesting that you abandon the plan I meant abandoning the “strategy of sitting at home and preparing”. It is very possible that your drive to do well throughout the years you spent in school was fueled by social interactions with peers and teachers. We are social animals, and therefore, social interactions fuel our drive.
Of course, during this pandemic, depending on location, social interactions are quite limited.
anitaJuly 5, 2020 at 7:25 am #360551manishParticipant
@Anita- But what if even socializing like enrolling in a classroom course doesn’t make any difference.I am in exactly the same situation which Nancy is going through. I am already pursuing a classroom course but still no difference.July 5, 2020 at 9:26 am #360695
* Dear manish: you are not “in exactly the same situation” as Nancy as no two people are. You are welcome to start your own thread (go to FORUMS at the top of the page, choose a CATEGROY, click it, scroll down to the empty boxes). I will be glad to reply to you there.