Manifestations of Courage at SSB Interview By Dr. Cdr. NK Natarajan

I came across a candidate recently who was otherwise a very good candidate but failed in the SSB. He was following me for some time and I had formed an opinion about him that he is a good candidate. However, his result turned out to be negative. From what he told me, it appeared that he fared well in the interview and psychological tests but when it came to GTO he had problems in the Individual Obstacles. Though he did 6 obstacles successfully, he could not do Double Ditch and touched the red colour in Commando Walk. What does this imply?

This candidate was slightly on the heavier side and while doing his Individual Obstacles he followed my guidelines given in my video lectures with regard to the approach. However, when he came to obstacle No 8 (Double Ditch) he came running and stopped. He again approached it but couldn’t take a leap and stopped abruptly. He thereafter left this and went to obstacle No 9 (Commando Walk) and climbed the ladder and hesitantly walked on the ramp and while climbing the victory stand he held the sides which were marked red. Touch the red colour can mean two things 1. He is scared and disregarded the rules to prevent a fall and 2. He is a habitual rule breaker and thus has low sense of responsibility. However, in his case he was conscious of the red all through except here and had also shown manifestations of lack of courage by not jumping over the ditch and hence, it could be concluded that he is having an issue in courage.

During the conference, he was asked to mention one task that he found difficult to do and he admitted that he had difficulty in doing Individual Obstacles. The fact that this question was posed to him could be because the candidate may have done well in the other two techniques but may have been marked as ‘angularity’ due to low courage. Please do recollect my earlier article on core qualities. If any assessor is confident that a candidate is low in any one of the core qualities, he will mark him as angularity, which means there can’t be any discussions on such candidates during the conference. Do remember, core qualities are non- trainable qualities and are innate in nature and hence candidates having limitation in core qualities can’t benefit from training. Physical courage is best revealed in the GTO tasks and if the GTO marks a candidate low in Courage, it is most likely that the candidates will be dropped without a question. 

Hence, all aspirants must check for themselves if they have any issues in courage by going on top of a tall structure to check if he/she has height phobia, jump over a ditch to see if he/she has fear of ditch and entering into a water body to see if they have hydrophobia. In all three cases, one will be declared unfit for the services. 

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