Power of Self-Belief Can Help You Crack UPSC Civil Services

“Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” – Denis Waitley, motivational speaker


In track and field athletics, there used to be a term called ‘the 10-second barrier’, which referred to the physical barrier for completing the men’s 100 metres sprint in less than 10 seconds. That changed in 1968 when American Jim Hines ran 100 metres in 9.95 seconds. Now it is a regular feature to see athletes run the 100 metres race in less than 10 seconds. It was considered physiologically impossible for a man to run that fast and the prevailing wisdom was that a man’s lungs would explode in the process. But one man’s belief in his own capabilities showed the world that it was possible and there have been many who have followed in his path.


If you are aspiring to take the June 2017 UPSC prelims and hoping to crack the mains and the UPSC board interview following that, you would have already embarked on a journey most arduous and testing. As you would be aware, the UPSC civil services exam is conducted in three stages:

  • prelims
  • mains
  • Personality test/board interview

Each stage is a qualifying round for the next stage and the number of candidates who reach the final interview round is only a few thousand compared to the lakhs who appear for the UPSC prelims. The UPSC syllabus is so vast that at least a year of your life would have to be set apart for this purpose and this preparation time can take you on an emotional ride of ups and downs.


What do you need to clear the UPSC civil services exams?

Of course, utmost dedication, meticulous planning and preparation, long hours of study and sincerity. Despite all the knowledge and preparation, you can still doubt yourself and the one ingredient without which success is impossible in the UPSC exams or in any aspect of life is called SELF-BELIEF. The example of Jim Hines shows the power of self-belief. Everything is impossible until someone does it. History is replete with examples of great personalities who have defied the odds and achieved the impossible. A painfully shy lawyer who struggled to say two words in a court of law emerged as one of the most influential leaders of the world and went on to lead a diverse nation in its freedom movement against the powerful British. That man, as you might have guessed was Gandhi. What made him great and what made him stand up to the might of the British was none other than his conviction in the fact that he was right.


We all have been brought up to believe certain things. Even the wisest person on earth once believed that the earth is flat. Remember, perception is not reality. What you believe is what you get. If you want to become an IAS officer or an IPS officer, first you’ve got to believe that you have it in you. You have to believe that you can become one. Read the following story and you will understand the power of self-belief and how it can do wonders.


There was a young boy who went to school. One day, his teacher wrote down a note to his mother and told him, ‘Give this to your mother only.’ The boy did as told. His mother’s eyes welled up on reading the note. The boy asked her, ‘What has Teacher written, Mama?’ His mother said, ‘Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him. Please teach him yourself.’ The boy was then home-schooled. This boy grew up to be one of the greatest inventors of all time – Thomas Alva Edison. Years later, when his mother died, Edison found the teacher’s note when he was going through some old stuff. He opened the letter which read – ‘Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school anymore.’ Edison cried and wrote in his diary – ‘Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.’


This story illustrates the power of belief plainly enough. A woman’s belief in her son’s abilities propelled him to greatness. Similarly, belief in oneself can drive one to reach one’s fullest potential.


Also read | Tips to Remain Motivated Till You Clear UPSC Civil Services Exams


If you want to crack the IAS exams and be a successful change-maker of our country, you need to remove that self-doubt from you. Do the following:

  • Change from a fixed mind set to a growth mind set.
  • Eliminate negative and limiting thoughts.
  • Affirm your target. Tell yourself that you are an Indian civil servant. Talk to yourself like a champion. Don’t have a victim mentality.


How to affirm?

Write down on a piece of paper – your name and IAS or IPS (whatever you want to be) beside it. Remind yourself to show it to a parent or a friend only after you have achieved your dream.

  • Imagine that you are an IAS or IPS or IFS officer. Chalk out a list of things that you will do to bring about a positive change in people’s lives.
  • Motivate yourself by reading inspirational quotes or by talking to positive people.


“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”                  – Theodore Roosevelt

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