As India successfully battles the Covid-19 pandemic and the country seems to be moving back to the desired economic trajectory, it is important for you to seize this opportunity and move ahead in this age of heightened competition. Some of you might be beset with a natural shyness or diffidence that is a result of an education system that encourages rote learning and theoretical clarity but lacks the important component of speaking skills and presentation skills. However, when you go for various GDs and interviews, you realise that being shy can become an obstacle on the road to success.
Ms. Claudia Lady Bird Johnson—the First Lady of the USA from 1963 to 1969—had wisely advised young people, “The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” She was suggesting the method of distraction so that you become so engrossed in your studies and your preparation for various competitive exams that you become too busy to remain shy! In unfamiliar social situations, take the initiative to become a genuine conversationalist. Ask questions that open up easy dialogue, such as “How are your exam preparations coming along?” or “How was your weekend?” Let go of the pressure to be perfect. Whether you’re going for your Civil Services interview, coaching classes or normal day-to-day activities, you don’t have to dazzle everyone with your brilliance. You can start by just being nice. You should gradually push yourself to be more visible—you may end up uncovering hidden opportunities. If you’re scared to speak up in class, come prepared to ask a question in advance or make the effort to speak up with a thoughtful comment when the teacher throws open the class for discussions. Remember that you are worthy and unique. Working on your self-confidence is the biggest situational shyness buster because when you realise that you are valuable, you will be less inclined to look up to your peers in the first place.
Having overcome your shyness, you should try to build your personality around essential qualities like developing effective intelligence, reasoning ability, organising ability, social adaptability and cooperation. Effective Intelligence is Adaptive Situational Intelligence—how you utilise your intelligence in different situations to produce positive outcomes. You should try to work out the best and simplest way to solve any day-to-day problem. Gradually, you will see that you are thinking in the correct direction and that results are coming. Reasoning Ability is the ability to grasp a piece of information and to arrive at a logical solution with a rational mindset. My advice to you is to read CSR, General Knowledge Today, opinion pages in newspapers and listen to television debates in order to make up your mind about current affairs as well as develop a rational approach in your analysis of current issues. This will stand you in good stead whether you are writing the Civil Services Exam or appearing for a GD. Try to converse with learned and erudite people in order to further sharpen your views. Organising ability is the capability to put things in correct places and utilise them to your benefit. You can develop organising ability by taking part in organising various events in your school or college. Try to make your room and your surroundings organised. You can then try to organise your life by writing down your career goals and the milestones that you wish to achieve.
Social adaptability is very important. It is the way one adjusts in different environments that comprise a wide variety of people. An easy way to develop this is to talk to different people and try to understand their culture. You should also travel widely in order to observe demographic diversity. If you develop the quality of cooperation, you will improve your chance of being selected in GDs and other group tasks like the ones you need to participate in during SSB interviews. It is your willingness to work in a group and play your part as a team member that is tested during such selection processes. In order to succeed, you have to subdue your ego and coordinate with your team members in order to arrive at a solution. Whenever you are in a team, try to work selflessly towards the objective without worrying about getting acknowledged. If you follow these tips, you will soon be able to shed the last vestiges of diffidence and emerge as a successful candidate in group discussions and an interviews.
As always, I wish you a bright future and every possible success in life!