This is a question an uncle of mine asked when I was done with my last papers for medical entrance in 2000. Like other papers, I was sure I was not going to make it. From the time I started preparations, I went in with the premise of how difficult these exams were, 2000 seats out of 4,00,000 were definitely competitive.
As I was complaining to him about this, he asked again, how many seats do you need?
That moment, I did not realize the power of that question, but this coming from someone who cared for me and a person who had cracked the most difficult exams in India with 2 or 3 seats at best, I had a lot to ponder upon.
Remember the story of Arjuna from Mahabharat when he saw the eye of the bird and demonstrated razor-sharp focus on his goals while others saw everything else? There will always be stuff beyond your control which may be competing, diverting and derailing you, but you got to stay focused and don’t care about what else is around. It’s your life, your dream and your choices.
A few years later, I did complete my graduation with a gold medal, got through merit-based M.Sc courses and studied at one of the best B schools in India.
The million-dollar question on “How many seats do you need” still empowers me.