Greetings Ladies and Gentleman, Warriors of the Future and Present.
I, Sajal Roy, [Recommended from 22 SSB Bhopal (Indian Army) First attempt, with Merit, Medical Out-SSC TECH 43rd Entry-June 2014], takes this honorable opportunity to write to you on the Subject of “Preparation for SSB, from the perspective of a Recommended Candidate. “ Lately I have been receiving a query regarding building psychology or how, to begin with, grass root level of preparation. I am writing this article to elaborate on certain basic habits for everyone that helped me during my days of preparation. The basic practices mentioned is completely on my sole perspective and opinions may vary from person to person.
In the first place, there is nothing called good psychology or bad psychology. It’s just a frame of a mindset that we have, quite often inherited from our basic upbringing to the various experiences that we go through in life. But that does that mean there is no room for improvement or no scope of growth. The answer is definitely NO. One can always improve and grow.
- Motivation: Since the senior school days I adopted a habit of reading books before bedtime. The books were of Inspirational or Self Help genre. For example. You Can Win, Some books by Robin Sharma. By being in the company of these self-help books one definitely gets a different perspective, vision, and substantial grit to pursue motivation. These books should be kept in a regular routine as it develops mental resilience, a strong mindset. Motivation is like a fuel that needs continuous refueling. Please remember a strong mind or optimistic mind has a very important role in building Officer Like Qualities (OLQs). So when a person has a regular touch with these nature of surroundings he/she will develop a behavior, character out of it and hence become optimistic will itself become a natural response. Hence this is the importance of reading. From the academic perspective keep regular habits of going through Current Affairs, News, Mathematics (for those who fear, start with solved examples and practice more previous year papers), etc and other subjects.
- Day to Day Behavior: This has a very important roleplay in shaping who we are. Remember, there is always a chance to improve and better. During my school days, I came across a book ‘How to win friends and influence people, Daniel Carnegie’. After reading these books, watching some videos on etiquettes of communication I started observing a different state. The takeaway was not the style of behavior but certain factors like the importance of understanding, RESPONDING rather REACTING. RESPONSE = Thoughtful acting according to the situation. REACTING= Immediate action in a fit of rage. Quite often we come across situations of conflicts, or any situation that irritates us, with family, friends or bosses, the right way is to understand the cause of the situation and find a peaceful way to resolve the conflict. Many a time we don’t resolve, take matters to our ego and stretch the conflict by not talking with others and so. This will indirectly seclude ourselves and put to isolation. Hence, Make peace where it deserves and move on. During a discussion, if you differ, then let the speaker complete and put forward your points thereafter.Empathy plays a very important role i.e understanding the situation from the other person’s perspectives. This kind of behavior will foster Teamwork and is a very important essence of the Officer Like Quality. No need to go for a confrontation during group discussion. IF you want to speak, take a respectful stance, seek permission and then put forward your points. If there is a heated fish market situation, it will last for some time only. There is always a room to drive the discussion in a positive way. Also, the way we behave should not limit to any particular circle like friends or relatives, but it should be even for all. You will never imagine, with time, how a better version of yourself you will be able to see in yourself. Read more on the art of being a gentleman and certain similar blogs. You will come across fascinating articles.
- Value the Present: Many of us are in school, college or working somewhere and are aspiring for the armed forces. But that is a part of the future. It is very common to see that quite often we happen to live in the expectations that the future would be great and we do not make peace with the present. By making peace with the present I mean, to live in the day as we are going. For those in school, give importance to your daily schooling-sports, friendships-relations with teachers and so forth. Similarly for those in college should enjoy your present with the kind of classes, taking exposure in various college fests, sports & learning experiences, taking training, traveling etc. For those in corporate one should take their daily work with seriousness and not demean it. It is very common to be unhappy with the present nature of work whatever we might be doing but remember being future-oriented will also impact your thought patterns and you will start missing on the present detail. This will indirectly affect the write-ups that you l write for TAT. Whatever is in store for the future its fine, but the present is equally important. Also, happenings of the future are beyond our control. Hence, live to each day with goals for the day and keep winning.
- Be Expressive: See we may be of whatever nature but there is a certain amount of expressiveness that is needed in the modern day. Be it in verbal or written. Read below in the #Communication. But from the perspective of psychology, one should be able to speak, write freely expressive of his/her thoughts. English being the language, one who is finding challenges, should learn and practice up to the basic grammar. Then start with writing small paragraphs preferably look for samples of report writing. The reason I am suggesting report writing is it will be a good start on how to express in a small paragraph the details of an incident or so. In a TAT we write details and keep it small. Report Writing samples would be there on the internet. Keep practicing the TAT and improvising by correction.
The other perspective is to be vocal. How to start. Engage in social conversations. This will reduce your resistance to be socially active in the conversation. Once you get in the habit of conversation, automatically discussion skills will shape. Amongst all this, listening plays a very important role.
- Leadership: This is all about taking the right stand at the right point in time. The internet has a lot of articles on effective and building leadership. Many a time we come across a situation where we lie in a dilemma to act. Be it offering help to someone or any other situation. It’s always to adopt a right stand for the right thing. Also, leadership means being an effective follower. Sometimes, we are often struck by a thought “Should I suggest this to the boss/or whomsoever”, my suggestion would be to take the initiative and take the lead. A leader will always be recognized for how responsibly he acts for the group. The word INTEGRITY plays a very important role to shape effective leadership. A suggestion would be to encourage yourself to participate in various activities and take valuable experiences. Any common person may stand and witness the scenario, but it is a leader who will come out and do something. So keep this attitude.
- Value the People: This goes to your friends, family, loved ones, relatives or any acquaintance. Quite often with the taste of success, we tend to drift in a feeling where we don’t need anyone to stand with us. We can do everything by independence and this builds slight overconfidence and ego. With my personal experience, this is very wrong. Every person is important at its place. Be it family, or friend circle (close buddies), relatives or it may be even an unknown person. IF anyone is coming to converse with you or seeking help, value it and make sure you deliver it to the right extent. Often we come into a state where we show how busy we are and ignore such calls or so forth. You never know there might be a turnaround situation in life where you would long to speak or connect with them. So before it’s late, make sure you start valuing each person. This is a very important leadership trait. This, in turn, will also help build your effective social skills. Start with your own family. Do something special surprising for your parents and see the happiness in them. For those who are away from parents, try adopting an attitude where you are not irritated with questions like “Khana Khaya ki Nahi ?”. One fine week call up your relatives. As a surprise write up a letter to someone of your known, be it your buddy, or anyone. Time is very short as per life, so strive to make people feel special. Blessings always reciprocate. Once you do this on a frequent basis you will see the changes in your personality and will develop an aura of magnetism where people will intend to talk to you or connect with you. This will, in turn, shape your influencing ability in general. Certainly, it would make you a better human. Value the time fleeting by.
- Karma: Well this is an abstract word with a qualitative definition. But let’s get to one thing, why do we dream of the armed forces or any such institution. It is because we want to serve the nation and its countrymen right. I mean it begins from there i.e service attitude. So why wait till we get recommended or till we get employed in that sector. Why not do it now. Yes, this country has ample opportunities for all age groups to contribute to its building. Either by self-serving initiatives or voluntary action by feeding someone or so forth, or by participating in contests held by MyGOV etc. It is indeed true what we sow so shall we reap. Here I want to say to invest all your time and effort in the right form of action and the right thinking and etc. Think good, do good and good will do well to you at some point in time. Engage yourself in knowing more about the great country. The cultural heritage and so forth etc. Help the oppressed and the challenged people by any small action. Within no time this will become your natural response of serving others and you will develop a character out of it. Personally, what I have been carrying out since 2012 has given a significant difference in me. I started celebrating my birthday in Old age homes each year and national holidays (Independence and Republic Day) in orphanages distributing chocolates. The experiences have been very great and empowered me with more courage. People can choose their own fronts but don’t wait for something to happen, you want to serve there are ample opportunities. One fine day you never how all these habits might have shaped your Officer Like Qualities (OLQs) and you will get recommended with merit.
- Be Resilient: This is the capacity of ourselves to bounce back from difficult circumstances. Being tough. This is something one needs to get a grip over as we all will come across circumstances that will force to get down on knees. Just like physical workout mental workout has its significance. Hence I l suggest people read books on warfare and building mental toughness. Remember to look not someone above us but someone below us. The absence of resilience gives rise to anxiety and stress which can have consequences shattering the basic self. We can come across depressive situations, health situations, etc at that remember the time of our parents or think about those who are working, but if they start counting every bit of pain then they will dissolve and will not continue their profession especially for whom family dependency is resting. So it’s important, to count the blessings. During any depressive situation, socializing helps. Apart from this keeping ourselves engaged in an active lifestyle with sports or routine exercise with some hobby helps in being resilient. Resilience, in turn, helps build courage and persistence. Continue participation in various things to keep life versatile.
Communication Skills: This is another and perhaps one of the most important pillars of a personality. I would like to get straight into the facts. I have received questions as to how to improve speaking and similar skills. So I try to elaborate the Communication part into written as well as verbal part.
- Written: For people who are sound with the grammar and correct usage of the English Language they can continue the basic practice of write-ups. Practice TATs etc. so that you are used to the writing habit. For those who are building the foundation, I will suggest to quickly go through basics of grammar and start writing paragraphs (small and crisp). Once, one is used to the writing correct sentence Writing never becomes a problem. Pick habit of note making whenever you are referring to a fact-based search on the internet. People can refer to normal short essays’ or report writing to understand how a short paragraph can be descriptive enough with limited usage of words. Report Writing normally is of the format where it begins –“What, Where and When………” and within the next 100 words the entire incident is summed up. So for the beginners, a reference to report writing can get you on track for crisp writing. For WAT try not spending much time thinking over them. Write whatever comes first into mind. Then proceed for improvisation. SRT tests are based on individual opinion as to their response. So I suggest people give genuine, honest responses.
- Verbal: For this, I will suggest a basic habit that our parents used to ask during childhood. Whenever you are reading an article or something read it loudly. This helps in vocal modulation and helps to open in the voice. Many of the people are reluctant to speak because they have never been in the habit of speaking. Try this for a couple of weeks or so and see the difference for yourself. Don’t read fast, but go with the pace giving pauses for comma and full stop. This will also help in the narration. Next would be practicing impromptu speaking. Take a topic. Prepare some notes, and recite them in front of the mirror. Make sure to have some facts. This will race the confidence. For people in school, take participation in the competition like debate and so forth, give a try, need not represent but go for the practice. Interact with teachers and explore more. For people in the College days, go ahead and organize and request the management for mock group discussion and participate in similar events like debate, impromptu speaking, fests etc. For people in the corporate sector or working lifestyle, this kind of environment already exists as being in meetings etc. Still practice of impromptu speaking. Watch more videos on etiquettes of group discussion and interview. Socialize more, all this will definitely help in building a proper vocal communication skill. Also, focus on SOFT SKILL building. A major part of the SOFT SKILL part is being an effective listener.
GTO: Ladies and Gentleman, this is more on the situation front. Hence, I really don’t have any formula to decode the same. But what I used to do is engage in an active life. Sometimes keeping ourselves in regular exercises, group workout, team engagement activities helps us building confidence.
- The major doubt of many aspirants was how to build confidence. In a general perspective, Confidence is something that comes with an experience of participating in various fronts. Like in the college days I used to participate in the organizing committee or volunteer for some other event. This kept me engaged working actively with 30 or more people. Though conflicts come in they are handled well. Also, on the physical workout, basic exercises keep the body energetic and mind sharp. Being interactive in itself will raise your confidence to face interviews. So, in general, engage in an active and social lifestyle. Be calm while dealing with the problem statement. There might be a difference in opinions during the Full Group Task etc, handle it tactfully. IF unable to influence, then go with the one who is commanding. You will get similar opportunities in Half Group Task and Command Task. Be very respectful and be calm. At the same academically it is important to be aware of the ongoing issues in Current Affairs especially in the field of Science & Tech (With special relevance to Defence), International Relations, and basic Current Affairs. To identify different topics for GD and all, search the internet and look for topics. There are an enormous amount of topics around. Once or twice or as and the will may be, practice those topics. (First, collect info-then try explaining it in the air as if you are explaining it to a group of people). This will, in turn, develop more positive habits.
Thank you for the patience in reaching till the length.
See ladies and Gentleman, there is no hard and fast formula for anything. Yes, I wrote this article in a perspective where the three important pillars of SSB –Psychology+Communication Skills + GTO is discussed in an elaborate manner. The article is solely based on my personal experience through my lifestyle and my opinion that can help shape a better and a confident personality.
Don’t prepare to just get recommended, prepare to be the Officer. Automatically you will get recommended. This is not a test where you need to have fundas, but SSB is about being the right fit. Sometimes a batch does not have the right fit so no one is recommended but at the similar contrast, there are 5 or 6 people who are recommended. They are the right fit. So, be the right fit.
A Recommended Candidate is a balanced person with interpersonal skills, intellectual, basic ability to socially coexist, is socially active with friends, family, relatives etc. , learned, active lifestyle with both physical as well a mental aspect i.e balanced in all aspects.
Don’t let the worry of medical or merit or vacancies stop you from the preparation. Remember, a true patriot who is bedridden or on the wheelchair has the equal desire and motivation to stand in front of the enemy, serve the nation, or tear the skies apart. Hence, the purpose is always greater. So I am sure this article will help you in a pursuit of leading a confident lifestyle.
Be grateful for all that you have and keep the purpose high. When we have a determined purpose nothing can shake us. The purpose is to serve the nation, making the tricolor proud and serving the citizens of the country. For those who are not able to make through, bear patience and continue your endeavors of service by any form towards the country. One fine day the life will unfold its actual plan for you. We cannot expect a destination unless we make a start and continue moving.
The day I got recommended and medical out (June-2014), I took it upon myself to live with the motto of the Indian Army i.e Service before Self. Thanks to SSBCRACK, that I got this platform to be able to connect and help aspirants. Currently, I am 25, working in the private sector, Hyderabad and preparing for other government sectors and so forth.
Lately, I had the opportunity to write an eBook with SSBCRACK on TAT. I am sharing the link on sample story.
Some of the other articles written by me included.
Please contact me for any doubts: Advance Apologies for any delay in response as I am currently into work life.
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