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Results Matter, But Not the Way We Think

Courtesy of Oussama Zaidi

The result season has returned, and so have our anxieties. Whether you appeared for the exams yourself, or are just witnessing others eagerly waiting for them, I’m sure there is one thing you’ve noticed.

Every year, as the results are declared, we see four kinds of students. Those who score well and are satisfied. Those who score well yet aren’t satisfied. Those who score average, but are satisfied with ‘their’ performance. And lastly, those who score not-so-good, and sink into sadness. Partly by self-guilt, and partly by comparisons to other ‘good-scorers’.

In midst of all this, we see highly successful as well as not-so-successful personalities preaching ‘Results do not matter’. They make sure their voices are heard and that the students do not lose hope. This might even be true, to an extent. But is this statement completely justified?

When my 12th standard results had come out, I was the second kind of student. I had scored fairly well, both in the JEE as well as the boards. Yet, I wasn’t satisfied. I knew I could’ve done better.

While my friends and relatives lauded my performance, I knew it didn’t really reflect my actual potential. But that’s what exams are. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re capable of. The only thing that matters is how you perform in those limited three hours, and how you manage to do despite the stress that comes with it.

Back to it, I couldn’t get into my dream college, but I did manage to get into my second best choice. A new chapter of my life began. I was surrounded by people who had scored more than me, and also those who had scored less. Would I say the ones who scored higher were much more ‘intelligent’? I don’t know. But would I say they surely had better time-management and stress control? Yes. Did they manage to retain their knowledge and showcase it exactly when and where it was required? Yes. And are these some of the qualities you need to be successful in life? Big yes.

Exam results might not be an accurate representation of your intelligence or level of knowledge, but they surely reflect your critical thinking, time management, and stress management. And trust me, these make a huge difference. And are important.

Results are something to aim for, and something to respond to. Saying that ‘Results do not matter’ isn’t fair to those who perform well. They do matter, but not in the way we have been taught to think.

The outcome is not the end of the process, it is merely a reflection of the journey so far. And this ‘outcome’ is never just the ‘result’ alone. Its also your improvement at setting goals, prioritizing, managing emotions, performing under pressure, and facing the results no matter what — with a motivated mind and optimistic spirit.

Whatever the result might be, what you learn while preparing for and attempting an exam is always going to help you. The dedication and hard-work you did for this would mirror in every little thing you do in the future. As long as you learn something from the journey, you’re a winner.

This exam result, and all that went behind it, is just another step in your life. Every step matters, but not the way we think. It doesn’t matter where it takes us, it only matters that we take it.

Results Matter, But Not the Way We Think was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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