FOCUS WITHOUT ACTION:
It was a scorching hot day of June 1969. In other words, the heat was just unbearable. However, for M.B. Vyas Photo Studio in the dessert city Jodhpur of Rajasthan, it was a day to realize the blessings of godess Laxmi. Their focus was on extra earning today. Ajmer Board had declared the result of class X at Ajmer in the early morning. Therefore, Mr Vyas had picked the result of Jodhpur students at Ajmer. After that, he travelled 200 kms in his Ambassador car to Jodhpur. And he was now ready to announce the result. His focus was on a great income today by declaring the result of thousands of aspirants from the city.
I scribbled my roll no. on a slip, paid 50 paise through a small 6 inch window and submitted the slip. Then I was waiting for my result. Announcements were made on public address system continuously. However my turn came after two hours of long wait. Finally, they announced my roll no. with name. And the result was announced as second division. I was shocked because I was expecting first division. I ran away to my home. A telegram was waiting for me. One of our relatives at Ajmer had sent this. He managed to get my marks in individual subjects from Board office. Then he sent the same to me by a telegram.
THE CAUSE OF MY WORRY:
I got 56.72% overall. And I can not forget this figure through out my life. I got upset because this was a reflection of my present standing in studies. With this background, how shall I prepare for my XI class studies? For admission in Mechanical Engineering, score in XI has to be more than 75 %. If I do not score that much, what will happen to my future? At that time I recognized that in the depth of my heart my focus was to get admission in Engineering College. However my efforts did not match the focus. All relatives and friends were congratulating me for getting so called high second division. However, I was practically crying. Kamal bhai saheb, my elder cousin, took me to movie, Mahabharat, so that I can cool down.
In 1969, there were only 3 engineering colleges in Rajasthan. Jodhpur, Jaipur and Pilani. My father was Administrative Officer in Jodhpur Engineering College. His dream was to see me as an engineer. I had seen my relatives who were engineers and enjoying life. I also wanted to be like them. But how to make this possible? 56.72 % was quite disturbing. I must do something.
FOCUS BRINGS LIGHT OF HOPE:
Dr KC Mathur, my eldest brother in-law came to my rescue. He was a scientist with Ph.D. in Maths and was working in Defence Lab. He taught me Maths of XI during remaining days of summer holidays. I mastered my Trigonometry chapters before opening of school.
Now, my strong focus was on admission in Engineering College. Since last few years my focus was on becoming an engineer. But I never thought how it will happen. Somehow I had a feeling that it will happen automatically. I did not plan the course of action. The result of my X class was a blow to bring me out of inaction. I understood that dedication and hard work are essentially required to achieve goals. My goal was clear. After this, I planned my course of action.
I had lot of apprehensions at the start of new session . My base was weak. First of all, I should master my IX and X class syllabus. Only then, I shall be able to understand Class XI subjects. Teachers were not giving me any special attention as I was a second division holder. I knew that something had to be changed.
Our Maths teacher, Mr KR Mehta, also started with the same Trigonometry chapters that I finished in summer holidays. He used to give home work and take test everyday. I was performing great and found myself better than other students even the toppers. He started liking me. This gave me a clue. If I can do advance study of all subjects, I can perform better. This way, I can also make some place in the heart of other teachers. So, I started preparing chapters in advance and prepared a plan of action.
My action plan was like this:
- Revise IX and X class course every day for at-least 2 to 3 hours.
- Prepare chapters in advance with the help of concerned teachers, Dr KC Mathur and Kamal Bhai saheb.
- Solve each problem or numerical question by writing each step.
- Draw diagrams and sketches where ever required and practice to reduce time in doing so.
- Solve personally all the questions that appeared in last 5 years in Board exams after finishing each chapter.
- Solve all the concerned questions that appeared in NTSE exams in last 5 years. These were considered very tough.
- Solve all the unsolved questions from the book as well as Ashoka Guide.
- Write down the dates when that complete copy was revised, on last page of the copy.
I started following above action plan. But, I found that this requires lot of time. I stopped all other activities viz. morning walk, playing outside, spending time with friends and relatives etc. This gave me enough time. I started competition with my younger brothers. We used to record everyday time for studies and compete. I used to play tricks to win. I used to sleep when they were reading, showing them that I am tired. But then, wake up when they slept and study for rest of the night. There were several days when my study hours reached 20.
FOLLOW UP OF ACTION PLAN:
Planning and the executing the plan helped me to develop confidence. After 6 months of the session, I realized that self study at home can give me better results. I stopped going to school. I started doing study at home. This was considered rare at that time. My Maths teacher got upset. He sent message and called me. I explained him that I am not wasting my time. Doing hard work at home. He took my test to confirm. He gave me a paper of NTSE and asked me to solve it then and there. I did it nicely. He was happy and assured me help for all the subjects. Imagine friends, how much caring attitude he had.
I carried out all the steps of the action plan. Then, I finally appeared in exams. And as a great surprise to my school, I got excellent marks. With just one mark, I missed the merit list of about 30 toppers in the XI Class Ajmer Board. Around 200000 students had appeared. I was excited and thrilled. My father and other family members were happy. I was second in the list of admission in the Engineering College. Above all, I got Mechanical Engineering branch of my choice. I reached one of the milestones of my life. In the process I learnt lot of things. And this learning has been helping me at each stage of my life.
MY TAKE AWAY:
In conclusion, following is the learning:
- You must have a goal in life and should have strong focus on it.
- A strong focus can stop you to deviate from the goal even under adverse conditions.
- A goal with focus is of no significance if there is no planned action. A plan with step by step procedure for execution is necessary for success.
- Success in student life can only be achieved through mid night oil burning.
- Keep testing yourself at each step. For instance, win small battles before winning a war.
- Time is an important entity. Therefore, learn to use it wisely.
- Keep your plan flexible. Corrections can be made when results are not as per expectation.
- Monitor the progress on daily basis.
- Take guidance from those who can help you.
- Postpone all other activities till you reach your focused goal.
- Practice is essential for achieving proficiency.
- Failures should be taken as stepping stones
- Stay positive always, even in negative situation. Maintain your cool and calm.
Success is a planned event. Hard work is the key element in the process. You need to be passionate. Keep your goal in your mind always. Tough times will come. Learn to overcome challenges. You will win the race.
All the best, friends!
Dr Lokesh N Rai