It’s the most dreaded season of them all. Not summer, not rainy, not even winter. We, in India, can actually call it the “result season”. Tenth and Twelfth results to be precise. And if you are born to Indian parents with traditional (educational) values, then the pressure on you is nothing short of humungous! The pressure can be compared to a World Cup final match featuring India. The whole world will watch your performance (in exam: all relatives, neighbors, family friends, teachers and even your society will be keeping an eye on you). Good performance and a favorable result – you will be elevated by one and all. One bad step and an unfavorable result – you will be severely scrutinized, perhaps for the rest of your lives.
Is it really that bad? No. It’s not as bad as society and media makes it to be.
Can we form an analogy between Life and Cricket?
In Cricket, a batting team has resources up its sleeve to achieve a specific target. In doing so, they may lose out on some resources. Losing a wicket is losing a resource. Assume an ODI match is about to start. The opening batsmen are ready. A wicket goes down early. What does the one-down batsman do? He approaches the crease, looks for any uneven spot on the pitch, tries to even the surface, does his before-facing-the-first–ball routine, focuses on the immediate task at hand (and not the eventual target) and ensures he handles the initial friction well. I think this is what one needs to do in life too, especially after an exam result. Once we get hit by a hurdle, we need to slow down and contemplate the next course of action with caution. After the result, the world would want to know how much you have scored and congratulate or empathize with you based on the outcome. If you are the one anticipating empathy, watch out for friction and a bumpy road ahead. Overcoming this phase with caution is the key. Wait for the next phase to begin.
In Cricket, the new batsman will try to form a partnership with the other batsman and start “rebuilding” the innings. He never laments for the wickets lost. What’s past is past. He may or may not be compatible with the other batsmen, but in the interest of his team, he “adjusts”. Shouldn’t we also follow the same principle? Once you start going to college, focus should be on present and the future and not the past. The result has come and gone. College life beckons. Also, you may not get the college / stream you want. But just like a partnership in Cricket, you need to “adjust” and form a partnership.
When I was in tenth, I attended a send-off function hosted by school authorities. I happened to top the prelims (exam conducted just prior to the one that matters). So I was given an opportunity to share a message (motivational one) with the 9th standard batch-mates who were also present at the function. Since it was impromptu, I decided to say what I felt like without worrying much about the repercussions. This is what I told them – “Don’t compete with your friends / batch / university. Compete only with yourself. If you feel you can achieve 90%, go for it. If you feel 60% is the limit for you, strive to achieve that. Compete with the target you set for yourself and try to outdo it.” Post the function, my principal called me and asked me regarding the message I gave. I said, I conveyed what I felt was correct. The principal was of the opinion that I should have motivated them to achieve 90% and beyond. The message should have been the means to overcome all odds to be the best in our city. Although I had a sudden disconnect with what was being discussed, I realized that the society in which we live, judges us by the marks and not by the effort we put in.
It’s now 16 years past that incident but sadly nothing much has changed. The only thing I feel has changed is that in those days, even 75% was considered great. Now 90% is only considered “decent”. I am not really sure why. Are the kids now well versed with what they study or is the evaluation now more lenient, who’s to say?
It’s just a wicket that has gone down. The match (your life) is still up for grabs. Introspect the situation, learn from mistakes / shortcomings and do better next time. The only difference between Life and Cricket is that in Cricket, your success depends on your opposition losing. But life is much better; you can still win while celebrating your opponent’s success.