While most people perceive challenges as a gigantic physical task or one involving immense labor, no one recognizes the quest which most of us have with ourselves at an age when we hardly know anything about the real world and its harsh realities. The title may portray me somewhat like a sage but I was just eighteen when I was facing one of the hardest decisions in life. I was a naive, timid and introvert scholar during my school days who didn’t even know what communication skills meant, but yes, I was a scholar and I knew how to fight, struggle and win. What I never knew was, how to lose, and that is what made me face the biggest hardships of life and gave me valuable lessons which I impart to everyone.
I was an all-rounder at school, brilliant in academics, great at sports, especially Boxing, I just loved the hustle I used to put in my daily practice, punching a fictitious opponent in the shape of a punching bag. But I never knew I was going to be hit the hardest by life because I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life after school ended. Fortunately, I scored good marks and joined the University of Delhi and started pursuing B.Com(Hons.). Sounds fancy, but it wasn’t, at least for my parents who were more ambitious than I was, and quite disappointed by the college that I had taken admission in. Upon their persuasion, I started with my coaching for Chartered Accountancy, now it looks fancy. I didn’t retaliate because I was highly confident of myself and thought it would be a cakewalk. But as someone said, “John Snow, you know nothing !!!”. No one was told me that winter was coming and that I was over-evaluating myself without thinking what blunder I was about to make.
I went for college in the morning, coaching in the evening, stayed in the hostel, not even thinking why I was doing all that. I never thought of the trade-off and put in all my energy into what I never wanted, although I never knew what I wanted. I failed the CA exams, although I had put all my efforts. I was shattered and started questioning my abilities. I had never lost to anything in my whole life and didn’t know what to do in this situation when I was far from home, all on my own, without any friends and sobbing on the inside. This sudden blow was much stronger than any punch I had ever received in the ring and I felt knocked out in the first round of life. With every challenge, there was only a déjà vu of what blunder I had made in life. Trust me, you know you are defeated when you start questioning yourself at every point of life. I was highly vulnerable and unsure of everything. Losing hope and falling apart, I thought I must quit Chartered Accountancy. Going to the coaching, carrying a heavy bag full of disappointments was one of the most difficult tasks, but I was not a quitter, I never lost to anything, how could I lose now.
With a drenched pillow and a heavy heart, I used to ask myself what happened to me in just one year, what wrong I had done and I had no answers this time. The struggle was real but I couldn’t understand what blunder I was doing. Soon I was just a guy noting down every question discussed in the class not bothering what was going inside my head, constantly scrutinizing my decisions and proving myself incorrect. My mind was in the clutches of negativity and heart hoping to be set free from the shackles tied for no reason. I left the class there and then, in a hurry to just escape the turmoil inside my brain. Finally, I asked myself the right question, whether I really wanted to do what I was doing it, and if I had any interest in it or not. After a complete year of hustle, starting from hostel to college, to coaching, to class, skipping meals and abandoning friends, I realised that all my sacrifices were worthless because what I was running for was what I never wanted.
It took me some time to convince myself that I was not meant to do what I was doing and that I should start searching for myself, my interests, my ideals. The task wasn’t easy but I had to accomplish it. I started following my heart blindly to learn and experience whatever pleased me, but this time I asked myself the most important question, “Do I really want to do this?”. Every yes made me confident about what I was doing and when I started achieving those small tasks, I started becoming what I was earlier. As Steve Jobs once quoted, “The only way to do great work is to love what you to, if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.” That is exactly what I kept doing and faced bravely what once seemed to be a challenge and finally knew what I really wanted to do. Again, the choice wasn’t easy but it was informed unlike earlier. Many students in India, just like me, are clueless about what they want to do in life and end up doing what they never wanted to do. They take decisions because of peer pressure, parental pressure, unawareness and what not. The most important task before achieving anything is asking what you want to achieve and then following your heart in consultation with the brain. If I could do it, anyone can.