From Failure to Success: Inspiring Journey of Clearing UPSC – IES Akhand Swaroop Pandit7 min read

IES Akhand Swarup Pandit


Akhand Swaroop Pandit is the man who cleared almost every govt. exam, and is currently the founder of The Catalyst Group, an Education Management company, paving the path for aspirants of Civil Engineering, IES, SSC JE, GATE and many more government examinations.

Below is the full speech transcript (text) of Akhand Swaroop Pandit’s speech at JoshTalks:

“Myself, Akhand Swaroop Pandit, And I am an IAS Officer. 

I am the Founder of the Catalyst group. 

I won two-time National Power-Lifting Championship. 

So you must be thinking that how a person who was never interested in studies changed into someone that is an IES Officer, who cleared the exam on UPSC

You must be wondering, so let me take you through a journey to understand how I transformed into this. 

There was a time when I was in college, just wandering around with my friends. What happened was we received a random call and on that call, a person tells me that “Sir, I retrieved your phone number from this person’s mobile calling list and in that your phone number was present, the person has met an accident.”

“The driver accompanying him has died, whereas the person from whose mobile I got your phone number is in a critical state, bleeding and the head is severely injured.  Wherever you are, please come here.”

I was shocked, I couldn’t comprehend what exactly had happened.  When I asked him again that who is he and what has happened, the person then told me that this is what has happened. 

I understood that he is talking about my father.  I got shocked and was taken aback.  I was a thousand kilometers away from my father.  I couldn’t comprehend what I was supposed to do.  I left everything and I ran away for him. 

I couldn’t understand, there was no train, no bus I somehow managed, taking a bus, auto, whatever was available.  I completed that journey, and that journey, you could say was the worst as well as the journey which transformed me.

Worst because during that journey there was no way I could contact my father.  He was with somebody who was an unknown person.  I couldn’t understand what I should ask and to whom.  I didn’t even know how my father was keeping and how his conditions were. 

When I reached there, we handled the expenses in some manner, there was a lot of expenditure.  Whatever I had saved somehow, because my father’s condition was critical and nobody knew anything we somehow recovered out of that situation. 

But post that incident, I understood one thing that the way I was leading my life, life wouldn’t pan out well.  I have to transform my life, I have to change myself.  Because I wanted something,  that something either comes to my life or I should achieve something of that stature that I never have to face a situation like that ever again,  where I am feeling helpless and I do not know whether my father is alive or not. 

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So what happened, I realized the thing that realizing doesn’t solve things.  I have felt this myself.  We imagine a lot of things, envision many great things: that we’ll do that and this… But when it comes to implementing it…  there is a very big gap between the thinking, the idea and the implementation of that idea…  that gap we have to bridge, we have to connect those two things…  If you can connect the two- that you can implement what you’ve imagined then everything can happen. 

After that incident, I understood one thing if you want to do something in life, and create an impact Otherwise, everything will continue in the same manner.  In the future, if anything happens either in the family or with me whoever it might be, I will not be able to handle it.  Then after that, what I did is that, I started studying. 

Because a normal middle class person, a below average middle class person feels that only studies can solve everything.  Everyone feels that.  So what I did is that I started studying.  While studying I realized that UPSC is a really good exam.  If you can clear it, you get power, gravity, respect, and everything.   

In the beginning, I didn’t have a clue, where I would study, what I was supposed to study.  And in what manner I should study.  A lot of times, incidents happened which made me frustrated.  I couldn’t understand what I should do.  I couldn’t understand where I should study, what I should study. 

When I started studying, I had to leave my job at the gym because I couldn’t study alongside the gym.  I continued going to the gym, but discontinued being a gym trainer.  Now what I did is that, I started teaching.  I thought that if I teach people, I will be able to learn and revise myself. And alongside, I will be able to earn also which I can send to my family, and keep some for myself. 

So I did was, I started teaching.  I was in a very small city again, but tutoring jobs and opportunities are more prevalent in big cities like Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune.  Jobs are present in these places. So what followed is, I started searching for jobs in that manner.  Back then I would have to travel to different places every weekend.  I started tutoring.  I would start from my college on Friday.  Saturday, Sunday I would travel to different cities, be it Delhi or Bangalore.  Saturday, I would halt on the station and sleep there.  I didn’t have the money to rent a hotel room.  Post that, on Sundays, I would take the classes and return again.

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This became a routine.  And sometimes I would feel, it’s crossing the limits, I can’t do this.  But again I would be reminded that,  If I don’t overcome this today,  If I don’t overcome this problem, this frustration today,  then this frustration will overtake me…  And the future times will turn out to be critical for me and my family, which I had felt before.

One thing we should always remember is that Failures, frustrations, all these things are a part of our success path. All these are sort of ingredients to our success, if we mix them all. Without them, you will not be able to enjoy success. 

Without failure, without overcoming frustration, we will never feel that we have achieved something.  For that feel, you have to undergo these emotions.  We should fix small goals.  We should never fixate a big goal… That I fix a big goal that, today, I will become a successful man.  If you fix a big goal and you face frustration and failure, then you will not be able to deal with it.  Fix goals every day.  You have to fix your goals on a daily basis, a monthly basis, on a weekly basis.  Because, if you will complete those goals, you will feel satisfied.  And on completing a single goal, you will get an idea for a second goal.  Because, if you want to reach that level, you have to move, one step by another step.  Those steps are our goals.

We have to conquer those small goals first.  Keep doing them, one by one, you will keep getting an idea, if we talk about an idea, there is one thing that is very important, is that, whenever you want success, you should find an idea.  Idea means, you should find a reason behind your motivation. Without reason, you’ll never get motivated.  There’s no motivation without a reason. If I tell you I’m motivated, you’ll ask me for a reason.  Everyone wants something in their life. If I want to achieve something, if I want to crack UPSC then why do I want to do it? I have to find the reason.  Reason doesn’t mean that I did it because my friend did it.  It doesn’t mean that I went because my friend went to Delhi for coaching, so I start following him. This is not the reason.  Because this reason is not strong enough to hold you till the end.  You’ll get frustrated, and you’ll leave that.  He did that, I can’t do it. You’ll leave it. 

But if you have a solid reason, then whenever you face failure, you’ll never give up.  You’ll say I want to do it for a reason. Reason can be anything. Reason can be power.  Reason can be respect. Reason can be money. Reason can be anything. The reason can be that I’ll make my parents proud. I will make my family proud. I’ll do this.  I’ll do that. Reason can be anything but it should have a solid foundation.  It should have a solid base.  Without base reason is nothing. It’s nothing.  There’s no motivation without reason.

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You can never become successful without motivation.  No one has ever become successful without motivation.  This is one fixed point, which is very clear. Doing and following all of this gradually, my time passed. 

I kept studying, and at that particular time, I overcame everything.  I cleared almost 8-10 government exams with the UPSC engineering services.  I was almost cleared with the first rank in two national-level examinations. I got the first rank and also in other exams I was in the top ten only.  The reason, again I’ve told you that the reason is the most important thing which always kept circulating in my mind. That I have to do this and this is my reason. 

In today’s time only he is successful who is using his brains. Smart work is required with hard work.  If you work hard for example if you study for 12-15 hours, you’ll study for 20 hours and achieve success.  But if you work at that particular point with smartness, if you use that extra smartness there then you can learn those same things in just 6 hours.

And one thing that I’ve always felt that nothing can ever fail you, unless and until you fixate yourself on failure.  You declare to yourself, that you have failed.  No matter what happens, you have to make yourselves believe … you have to make yourselves understand, that today is your day… every day is your day…  Nobody can snatch your growth, your success, your desire from your hand…  You only have to work hard… hardships will come, failures will come, but you don’t fall…

You have to work hard continuously anytime, anywhere you might face failure you will feel embarrassed, you will feel broken but just accept that failure and rebound quickly, you will be at the top finally…

– Akhand Swaroop Pandit       

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