I see every chunk of my work as a project and I concentrate on one project at a time. After every project and before getting into another project, I treat myself with long drives. These long drives of mine have no agenda. I will eat anywhere, drive anywhere and return only when I feel like. This chosen distraction helps me concentrate better on my attractions. After all, distractions enhance attractions.
It was one of those days and I was on my long drive. The ringtone in my mobile intervened. I picked up and the voice at the other end said, "Hi Paraman! This is Neha here. I want to talk to you urgently."
One of my just completed projects was 'Subject +'. Once upon a time, while the schools focused on the academic excellence of the child, parents focused on the character, morality and personality development of the child. However, owing to competition and academic pressures, now the schools, parents, extended teachers, peer groups, and everyone focus only on the academic performance of the child. In the whole process we are ignoring a very important dimension of the child, which is the personality of the child. 'Subject +' is a project, where all the like-minded people trained by Alma Mater, work with schools and colleges in developing the personality of the students who benefited from 'Subject +'.
So I stopped the car and told Neha, "Happy Morning Neha. Go ahead. I am listening..."
"Paraman, thank you for 'Subject +' and the studying techniques that you shared in those sessions. This time I have completed my whole syllabus much before my exams. In fact, I have finished revisions thrice. It's amazing. But I have my exams in twenty days time. Even though I have finished three revisions, the moment I think of my exams thousands of butterflies flutter in my stomach. Even after methodical preparation, I am still nervous about my exams. I am only an average student. This time I want to raise my standards. Every night I am crying. Help me. Do something."
I replied, "Hey dear! What is making you nervous? You have prepared well in advance. You are confident about your preparation. Then the issue is not about preparation, but about facing exams. Why fear of exams? What is an exam? Questions, right? So the fear of exam is actually the fear of facing questions. Though you are very confident about your preparation, your mind is wondering, 'What sort of questions I will have to face?' 'Will I know the answers?' It is this factor that makes you nervous."
"Listen Neha," I said, "Take a chapter or a page from your syllabus. Ask yourself, 'What are the possible questions that can be asked from that page?" and pen them down. Resolve your own questions. For example, first lesson is on Mahatma Gandhi. What can be the possible questions from that-what is the full name, what is his father's name, where was he born, what is his date of birth, where did he study, etc? Now answer all the questions. Do the same for all chapters and all subjects. By facing all these questions, you will overcome the fear of facing and as a result you will not have the fear of exams. In fact, examination will now become a game for you. On the day of exam, the moment you get your question paper, I am sure you will murmur, 'Wow...Super questions or what questions they have asked? I can ask better questions!' Examination needs enough practice and mental composure. By resolving your own questions you will be more confident, have greater composure and will no more fear exams. Resolve your own questions. Love you and all the best Neha."
I hung the phone and resumed my drive. My Honda City was floating through the national highway. The words I communicated to Neha, "See what are all the possibilities and resolve your own questions," kept lingering. I wondered, "Why is it only for exams. It is true with life too. I can practice it everywhere." The realization was hard and deep.
I was back to work and my next project was ready. A sales seminar for 100 sales managers! My mentor has a practice for me. He will give a project and will not help me in any aspect. What is to be covered in the session, what should be the opening, what should be the closing, what examples should I quote and where should I add humour - it is all up to me. This is his way of creating me.
Those magic words, 'See what are all the possibilities and resolve your own questions,' guided my preparation. How to get them involved straight away? When should I be intense and when should I be soft? Where humour and where stories? Where should I add personal examples and where should I quote others for inspiration? I began to see all possibilities and I resolved my own questions. On that day, on the dais, here I was prepared for all possibilities. I was cool, I was composed and I was at my best. Few of them still call me and mention that the program was a turning point in their life.
Months later, again the ringtone of my mobile intervenes. I pick the phone and hear an excited voice, "Paraman, this is Neha here. Thank you so much. I scored 97%. No more butterflies, no more examination fear and no more the world can call me an average student."
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