Everyone wants to be a top ranker but what decides who gets that
June 2014: Results of IIT-JEE 2014 are out and though there are thousands of happy faces who made their parents proud and have a bright future ahead, but there also are hundred thousand others who couldn’t make the cut. Some of them will be writing the paper again next year while some will be joining other colleges. Most of the students are those who studied their heart out for 2-3 years or even more than that. Most of them are not much different from those selected and on some other day they could have been in place of those selected. But what decided that only a handful of students get into these reputed institutes?
People say getting into IITs is no child play and you should be real brilliant to even think of getting into them. Students whose performance is average during their school do not even dream of getting into IITs in such a high competitive environment. But do you think is this the truth? There are cases when ‘supposedly’ average students get into premiere colleges by passing just one entrance exam while some ‘supposedly’ brilliant students could not.
Recently there has been a lot of debate around the topic if there is something called as a ‘gifted child’. Well known authors have written books on the subject discussing the issue at lengths. Well known achievers’ life has been discussed to prove that even those who are supposedly gifted in their field have been so due to systematic training and hard work since their early childhood. Here we will limit our discussion to ‘intelligence and brilliance in academic field’.
Intelligence, in India unfortunately, is generally considered as how good marks a person can get in the class – better the marks, greater the intelligence. But does this mean someone who is excelling in something else, some other field – less intelligent than the other? Definitely, no! This simply means that he diverted and used his mind in doing something else, in some other direction, which is not at all wrong. He simply chose to be someone else during that phase of his life. How a person has performed in his initial life is mostly determined by how he has been brought up. A very obvious scenario is a person from musician family tends to become a musician or someone from engineer’s family, from starting good in Math. Is it some gene or just that family environment which causes this? It ‘might’ be true that one of those twenty thousand genes decided that but scientists still have to figure if such relation between ‘natural talent’ and genes exist. So, we come to an obvious conclusion where family environment helped shape a child future. Knowingly or unknowingly, the parents train their students in what they themselves know and the foundation of that child in that particular area becomes strong and solid.
Hard work and Practice
How important is hard-work in your success? In almost all cases you will see that lot of hard-work goes behind someone’s success but sometimes you see a lot of people who put much more effort and hours but unfortunately reach nowhere. Since childhood we have been hearing the saying ‘practice makes a man perfect’ but there is one major word which it misses that makes the saying incomplete. Confused… there is nothing to be confused here – its ‘perfect practice makes a man perfect’. Yes, you can work hard for long hours, keep on practicing day and night but if you lack a proper plan or if you keep working hard just for the sake of ‘putting hours’ – it won’t let you anywhere. A properly planned hard-work takes you to somewhere from nowhere.
But still as a student you always feel that there are some who always perform much better without studying much while there are others who despite working hard just can’t do it. Isn’t it? To answer this we’ll again revisit the term foundation. Sometimes, it happens that your basics or fundamentals are not as strong as that of other person. In such a case you need to put in more hours before coming to the level of another. Something which is quite possible in Indian scenario is student becoming class toppers by, knowingly or unknowingly, just mugging up rather than trying to understand the basics and building up a foundation. In the end, especially, such students face difficulties in competitive exams when they are not able to understand what had really happened to them. Anyone of us can fall in that bracket as there is no way at such an age to identify that – but once you know that you should try to work hard to brush up your skills and try to streamline your study process.
One of the most misused word to justify one’s failure! As another well known saying goes – Luck is something which favors the courageous. Someone may be a top ranker throughout but on that very day of the paper he just couldn’t solve any question. Just that one day! Yes, it’s quite possible that it was one of those days when nothing went right for him – but why did it happen in the first place? It could be possible that the guy got the cold feet or just couldn’t think straight that day but this is not a valid answer. If his practice was good, if his preparation was strong – why in the first place he lost it. A person needs to understand that an exam day besides testing your preparation, tests lot of other characteristics and is meant to be like that. It is for you to stand up to the challenge.
It is hard to accept such arguments that favor hard-work and go against our basic understanding of human success – intelligence and luck – when we see so many people around us who seem to be doing great things at very young age and achieving a lot. Here are some greats who have been considered ‘gifted’ but this so called ‘giftedness’ is debated by various well know authors in recent times.
Mozart – He was one of the best musicians in Western world history. His father was a musician and a well known teacher. And hence, since childhood Mozart was getting professionally trained in music. His first work to be regarded as a masterpiece today was composed when he was twenty-one, almost at least after fifteen years after he started composing music. So, even a person like Mozart who is considered one of the most gifted musicians had to undergo fifteen years of hard work before he could create his first masterpiece.
Tiger Woods – One of the best golfers and sportsperson. His father was a teacher with passion for sports. Young Tiger used to watch him play golf for hours regularly and in his own words it was simply hard work which brought him so far.
This brings us back to the problem from where we started – what decides who gets what.
As a benefit of doubt though, it can be said that intelligent or ‘giftedness’ and luck might affect an outcome in some cases but there is no substitute for perfectly planned hard work. If you have your eyes at your target, if you know what you are doing, if you are well motivated and if you execute your plans perfectly no one can take your success from you – not even God.