Stress – A Sure Reason for Failure At SSB By Dr. CDR. NK Natarajan

One of the aspirants recently gave me call after he was conference out at SSB Bhopal. There was a long gap before he was called into the conference room and he was asked a few questions based on situations and finally he was asked to think and respond as to which OLQ he thinks he lacks. This was a unusual and direct question which could have foxed anyone. He, after a little pondering he said, “I come under stress fast”. I asked him on what basis he came to this conclusion? To this he said his GTO was very good till the command task. He was the last to be taken for the task and the task was of very high level and suddenly he was unable to get any ideas and that brought him under stress. Seeing that he is unable to crack the task the GTO started giving him hint and virtually telling hi the complete idea perhaps with the intention to bail him out but he was just not able to execute the ideas. No wonder he was rejected by the board. In all probability, this candidate was kept in the borderline category by the GTO and the other two might have cleared the candidate and they must have been discussing this candidate. The GTO might have requested the Interviewing Officer to check the aspect of stress and he was completely foxed in the command task. The fact that the candidate was taken to a high-level task confirms that he had done well till then and the fact that he was unable to cope with the pressure must have raised the query in his mind which he wanted to confirm and when the candidate himself admits that he is stress prone it clears all doubts.

Always remember, if it’s taking a long time before you are called in, it means a serious discussion is going on inside where some assessors may have cleared you and discussing with the dissenting assessor. All such candidates can be sure to expect some situation based questions. 

Let’s come to the significance of ‘Stress’. Being stress prone means that a person when faced with adverse situation, his ability to think logically reduces. His mind gets clogged or blacked out and one becomes incapacitated. This happens if Liveliness and Mental Stamina are low in a candidate and let me remind you, both are core and least trainable qualities. Life in the armed forces is full of challenges and us as officers have to not only face these situations but also keep the morale of our men high. It requires a very high level of liveliness and mental stamina. Hence, anyone showing low liveliness and mental stamina is a sure case of rejection.

This quality comes out very clearly in both GTO and Interview. Some of the interviewing officers adopt the technique of shooting rapid fire questions on the candidate and some do stress interview where they will push you against the wall by asking difficult questions. In both cases, a weak candidate will show up and a lively candidate will withstand the pressure easily. In GTO this comes out loud and clear in the Command task when the entire focus is on the Commander. It’s interesting to know how this gets detected in the Psychology. Candidates who leave out difficult situations, difficult words and perceive themes which are in variance with the image particularly when the image is negative are cases of people who are running away from stressful situations.

I often get calls from candidates asking me if they can perceive a negative image to be a ‘Drama‘ to make positive stories. I wonder, who is teaching all this to the aspirants? It’s a clear case of avoiding a negative situation and that’s because the candidate is unable to cope with negative situations. In fact, it’s easy to write a brilliant story in a negative image then positive one. Join my adda and respond to the images that I post and get a feedback. I have been posting videos based on such issues faced by candidates on my You Tube channel SSB ADDA. Watch the same and benefit from it…

Good Luck!!!


Friends, I would just like to say that never get disheartened of your failures and never give up!!

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