Why do we do the things that we do?

Why do we do the things that we do?

“Bhai, everyone knows how to get a good rank in NEET PG or AIIMS or JIPMER. There are so many topper interviews, blogs, seniors guiding etc. You need to study for 10 hours, revise, attend grand tests, revise those questions also, solve MCQs and Voila! you have a PG seat. But how to do all this? Why the f*ck am I not doing what needs to be done? “

The answer to this is not simple… I am not going to give general answers like “you didn’t want it enough, you lack discipline, maybe it isn’t meant for all etc”. The question above is burning in so many people’s minds and yes, it is burning in me too, even now after joining PG if I want to study I just end up after some time wasting time getting distracted. So, why do we do the things that we do? I feel like I must study this, I want to get knowledgeable, and if I am a aspirant , I feel like I want to get a good rank, join the course and college of my dreams etc. Yet why do I end up watching sh*t and wasting time when I know that I have to study?

  1. Because it is fun. No one wants to sit and read 12 hours a day. Admit it. You want to go out, hang out with friends, talk to people, maybe work. No one wants to stay isolated and keep studying or watch study videos. Add to this is some comments from some naive people who don’t know what pg entrance is, like “arre bhai, he is still studying, he is watching classes like a 12th standard bachcha”. So, it sort of gets built in over time that studying is a negative activity and of course, human beings are social beings and everyone wants to have fun. Studying isn’t fun.
  2. Your plans always fail, so much that now you equate studying with failure. Maybe you started the day with energy and wanted to read Hematology for the first time since 2nd year, and your plan was to complete entire haematology in pathology, and your plan was to read the notes, read the guide book theory and solve marrow qbank of pathology. But you end up finding that it is way more complicated than expected and end up finishing RBC disorders fully and only notes of WBC disorders even after studying sincerely. So guide book theory and marrow qbank got postponed to next day. Slowly you get disheartened that you aren’t able to complete your plans and start scolding yourself unconsciously like why am I so slow? And hence it slowly makes you uncomfortable.
  3. You got distracted. You were studying well, maybe a friend called you and you spoke for 30 mins and he said that Dil Bechchara trailer is out (or you just innocently picked your phone to clarify your doubts and saw a notification that the movie trailer was out) and after the phone call got over you remembered Sushant and watched the trailer for him and you liked all the comments in YouTube about how people miss him and you found out that it is based on Fault in the stars and you wanted to know more about it, so you went to Wikipedia to read about it , read about that there is an English movie of this as well, see the poster of the English film and find that the actress there looks cute and search her Wiki page. Such a spree goes on for two three hours and the end of it you feel like, Oh Man, what have I done?! And then you start scolding yourself like Man, I was supposed to be pumped up and shit and look at what the hell I am doing,this is the reason why I am shit and I fail, and you trash yourself up mentally so much that when you pick up your book, you have no confidence and feel like a failure and you can’t turn a page itself. You become so much upset with the negative thoughts, suddenly you remember your past mistakes and previous exam rank and feel like Man, I just want to read and get caught up by all this negativity in your Head and feel like, can I just escape this?and you realise that you can’t study anymore.
  4. If the negativity happens over and over again, like repeatedly you plan to study something, and fail to achieve that plan at the end of your day, or you got distracted for three hours and ended up beating yourself for 3-4 hours so much that you couldn’t study another page, or if the negativity is somewhere in your life, like a freaking failed relationship or something like that, all this negativity starts attacking you every time you open your books , you lose confidence and you feel so uncomfortable that you beg for a release from all this, you just start watching videos or chat with friends etc, to get yourself slightly distracted and mentally free. But you end up watching videos for three hours, and the vicious cycle goes on and on.

All this sound familiar? When I experienced all this I thought like I had some psychiatric problem or something (maybe I do, but as long as we have insight and no suicidal thoughts, I suppose it’s fine). Then, I interacted with a few people and heard the answer - “You are not the only one!”

So, why would someone who three hours ago spoke motivated and was feeling well inside find himself watching Koffee with Karan after 3 hours?

  1. It isn’t fun to study.
  2. You don’t have to think a lot while watching videos or shows, there is no pressure to memorise or calculate something.
  3. It is fun to hear gossip, see new things. It is fun to smile.
  4. It provides an escape from the negativity you were facing inside while studying.

The above points seem valid. But you really do want to get a PG seat. So how to go about it? Let me just tell what I know.

  1. It is unfortunate that nothing worthwhile in life comes easy. Some of you might have studied hard in 12th standard and got into MBBS as toppers but you didn’t think too much at that time, you were focused and didn’t really think about other factors. But once you joined college, you had to take some other responsibilities also, (and it also felt good to let your hair down a bit). And all that’s fine. But when you study now , you find that you aren’t able to study like you used to in the past and you get distracted. So a good way to start is maybe identifying what are the things you value most in life. You will only feel happy and content ultimately if you do the things or work for the things you value most. So even though, Koffee with Karan seems good and makes you happy temporarily, it makes you even more sad in the long run because it wasn’t in line with what you value.

So, the first thing I would suggest is write down the things you value the most in life right now. It could be like making your wife happy, getting a PG seat etc. Write down whatever you feel you value in life. Remember that, all this doesn’t come easy. We do the things that we do, like watch videos, or read novels because it is easy, you don’t have to think and there is no pressure. But how long you can keep living like this without any responsibility? And deep down, you know and YOU WANT to take the responsibility in life, you want to take the responsibility in your family. So you gotta do the things that are in line, with what you value, and do things that will help you achieve what you value, and only this will give you mental peace. You need to buckle down and exercise your discipline.

  1. Making proper plans. I read in a post regarding preparation that we always overestimate our potential, and put plans as if we are in 100% working capacity for 10 hours a day and want to push self and finish topic fast. Ultimately, you end up falling way behind the goal and end up getting depressed. The point is, you should make plans inline with your speed of reading, the difficulty of topic etc. I read in a post in Marrow group I think, last year, about identifying the reading speed. Some read 15 pages per hour, some read 8 pages per hour. The one who read 15 pages per hour, shouldn’t plan like 15 pages x 10 hours I want to finish 150 pages today. Because, he might be able to read 15 pages when he is super fresh, enthusiastic and ready to go and in the zone. But later, topic becomes difficult, he feels tired, and reading speed drops to 11 pages per hour. So he will miss his goal. The plan for him should be to aim for 12 pages per hour for 10 hours. What I mean to say is, you should make realistic plans, plans which can be achieved by your potential. I perfectly agree with that post that you should identify your reading speed (the speed with which you are able to read, assimilate and understand the topic and not just fast going through the words in the book you read). And based on that speed you should make your plan. This will prevent some heartbreak.

And as for the example in the beginning, the student should have calculated the number of stuff he had to read. The number of pages in notes, guidebook, number of questions in each module of marrow qbank. He would find that notes had around 60 pages of hematology, which would take 5 hours, guide book theory had around 60 pages (reading speed will be slow with books, so let’s say that will take another 8 hours), and Marrow has around 14 Modules for Hematology, with an average of 25 questions in each, so around 300 questions. That will take another 4-5 hours minimum. So is it humanely possible for someone, who is starting first read of Hematology to read all that with his speed in a single day? I don’t think so. But mentally, it seems easier to calculate that “I am gonna read Hematology today, just two chapters RBC and WBC, can’t I read that”. This is what I am talking about. So make plans which are attainable and slowly push yourself.

Remember that plans are like lighthouses, to give you urgency and keep you moving in the right direction. If you aren’t able to achieve it, you shouldn’t beat yourself up and be depressed. This is life and odd things, unexpected things happen, you can’t control everything in life. What am I trying to say is, don’t abuse yourself if you were able to complete only 75% of the plan and not the entire plan despite sincere effort. Plan is just a man made thing. But you need to put your SINCERE EFFORT. I am not telling not to feel bad or angry when you saw videos for entire day when you planned to study and just say, it’s ok, let me study tomorrow and end up doing the same thing tomorrow also. That you have to rectify. My point is everyone overestimates their potential and make unrealistic plans and end up failing, and hence try to make realistic plans.

  1. Distractions. In this world, there are a lot of distractions. You can take steps to minimise them, like force shutting down off WhatsApp and Facebook apps when seeing Marrow videos, turning off internet in phone when you study so that you don’t get bothered by notifications, monitoring the amount of time you spend on other stuff so that you realise the time gone, but there is one more issue I would like to address.

There are some , who have a rigid view about preparation, like I should only study, I won’t watch movies or series otherwise I will get distracted. And that is good and fine. But you need a release. You need to laugh and grin and smile. That’s what we live for. Everyone wants to be happy. If you are studying too hard, that you forget to smile and laugh, that you forget to talk to family, it will slowly break you from the inside (and this is important, especially in this COVID crisis where all plans have gone askew, you will reach a stage where you are fed up with everything. You aren’t able to study. You don’t want to have enjoyment in the fear of wasting time. And this confuses you and you don’t know what to do, and just to distract yourself temporarily you watch something and it goes on a spree for two hours. What i suggest is, smile daily, watch some sitcom like Friends or Office or watch some movie like Munnabhai MBBS once in a while, talk to friends, family at specific times in a day. If you establish this routine you will feel a bit less stressed. But you shouldn’t overshoot this. Give space for yourself , allot like 1-2 hours a day where you can do what you want, like a hobby, or some sitcom etc. But don’t go beyond that. I feel, this will help for people who are too intense and break down. Take a break, like one day once a month or two days once in two months and refresh yourself. Don’t study on those break days , recharge yourself. Don’t live isolated. Talk. Ask doubts to people, share your insecurities so that you can find a solution.

  1. To beat negativity. Sometimes , you feel like, because of past events or personal events, you feel negative and couldn’t concentrate whenever you open the book and because you feel f**ked up you want to distract yourself temporarily and you get distracted for a long time. Before every session, just talk to yourself positively, say that I am going to study well, I can do well, encourage self and talk positively to yourself. You know, there are always people in life whom you want to see happy, smiling, whom you will be genuinely happy and not feel jealous if they succeed and you will do anything for that. It might be your father,mother or girlfriend or best friend. If they feel down, you will be the first person to go and encourage them to get back up and talk positively to them.

“ I want you to be that person to yourself”

So talk positively to yourself, remind your goals, maybe seek help, consult a psychiatrist, or talk to someone. These are the things you will advise if you see your loved one suffering. You can do that for yourself. And you must.

Say, you have unknowingly ended up getting distracted somehow and wasted 4-5 hours doing nothing. From 12 pm to 5pm. You haven’t read anything since morning. You still have like 7 hours left in the day and you can effectively read for 6 hours. But you have too much guilt for wasting so much time that you aren’t able to read anymore and you are sh**ting yourself and abusing yourself. And this will prevent you from reading in those 7 hours. So be a friend to you , motivate yourself, forgive yourself and get back to study. It’s ok. It’s ok to slip. It’s ok to not be perfect. Perfection is something even rank 1 wouldn’t achieve. Trust me.

  1. You know the quote that goes something like, “if you give 6 hours for me to cut a tree, I will sharpen my axe for 4 hours”. The tree here is PG Entrance. The axe is your mind. You need to strengthen it, sharpen it. I am not saying daily strengthen your mind for 4 hours. 1/2 hour or 1 hour is enough. How to strengthen it ? By seeing positive videos, good books, positive quotes, anything that fills you with hope and positivity and can get you going. Anything which makes you feel like the world isn’t that bad a place after all.
  2. Lastly, many of you have this doubt, I have got to breakthrough this year, already two years gone, there is family pressure etc. You are stressed by it and you fear not making it. Let me ask you - What will be the worst result at the end of this? At the end of PG entrance exam results? You have failed again and won’t be able to get a seat of your choice. And has the world ended because of it? No! There is so much to this world, trust me. And life is so unpredictable, anything can happen anytime. This isn’t to discourage you from trying, if this is what you value you must go for it. Some pressure, pressure that motivates you to study is good, but that which paralyses you isn’t. Remember life will go on, there is so much to life, and one of my favourite quotes - “As long as there is life, there is hope”. You try and do what you can, do it sincerely, give your everything for it. If it happens, it happens. And It will happen eventually. And if it is your family that is causing the pressure take the time, sit and talk to them, explain the situation. There is no harm in seeking love and support of your family, some are ignorant. And if there is financial instability, go and work and study slowly so that you can join PG later too. Remember so many people do it every year and there is no reason why you can’t do it.

So, Things to do:

A) write down what you value in life.

B) Talk positively, encourage yourself, even if you have unknowingly wasted time. Don’t abuse yourself.

C) Take steps to sharpen your mind.

D) Take steps to minimise distractions when you study.

E) plan for the next day before going to sleep. Even bone teacher has said this many times.

You might think, bhai all this seems unrealistic, why would I sit and write down plans or talk to myself, am I mad or what? I just feel that it’s your life , and you gotta take steps that increase your productivity and help you achieve your goals, and it doesn’t matter if any one thinks you are mad. And so many PEOPLE who are successful actually do this stuff.

You can do it, Man.

If you shared all these insecurities, above, like me, just comment or like or share so that it reaches more. People need to know that they aren’t alone in this.

Waw… No interview has gave a satisfied answer for my queries like u did … Tqu so much…Anand Swaroop.