To those who have failed in CA exams…

19th January 2015.
The day I became a Chartered Accountant.
I still vividly remember the day.

We had just returned to Kota (my hometown) after an overnight train trip from Mumbai, after attending a family function there for three days. So the winter was a harsh reality from the pleasant zero winter of Mumbai to being back to Kota. Because of this train journey, I had taken a shower quite late, around 10-11 am.

The moment I came out, I saw a miss call from a fellow article at the firm I did my articleship from.

Oops, my heart started pounding.

As I called him back, he picked up the call and asked: “Kya hua?”

“Result aa gaya?” was my surprised response, to which he said yes.

My mom had gone to take shower and I was virtually alone at home. So I opened up the laptop, connected it to the slow BSNL router we had and checked the result.

452 out of 800, result: PASS. (*Top 100 scorers in India then)

Wow!

The day I will never forget!

Throughout the day I did not feel cold at all despite returning from Mumbai back to shivering winters of Kota. It was in the evening that I finally realised I should be feeling cold 🙂

My mom came out of shower and started crying a lot. A lot. She basically missed my Nanaji for whom I was a source of pride and who had passed away eleven months back. The day was something me and my parents had been waiting for, for years!

But this is the success story. That I cleared CA Final (both groups together) in the first attempt that too with very good marks.

Here is the back story: I failed in IPCC twice. As on date, given the number of failures we get to face, this doesn’t seem huge.
Back then it was. Especially for a class topper like me since childhood, who ended up with this major jolt for the first time in my life.

You know what, my Mom cried then as well, for how could such a thing happen to me? (Yes now I know that I was responsible, but I just couldn’t convince her to see that part. Maybe I didn’t want to see that either!)

But I did clear the IPCC exam eventually. One group at a time.

That is the word you need to remember my fellow CA students: eventually.

The world isn’t going to be smooth even if you clear all three stages in the first attempt with AIR 1. It’s true that social media is not going to have your pictures when you fail.
It’s true that your neighbours will probably stare at you when you’ll leave home for coaching classes.
It’s perhaps true that a friend who was not expected to clear is a CA today and you aren’t!

All this is real pain.
And it hurts, especially if you worked hard.

But there is one more thing that is real: Your grit. Your persistence. Your belief in your capability that no matter what, you will end up with the prefix CA before your name eventually.

Feel sad as hard as you want to. Clean your nose with your sweater that your friend likes who is a CA now. Look at yourself in the mirror and just be, it’s okay!

But when you are done, don’t waste a minute pondering about what was and what could be. Just focus on what you are going to do next.

Winning in life is less about numbers and more about your attitude.

For example, I’m not a cunning person and because of that I sometimes get walked over (sometimes by my hashtag friends), and that feels very bad. But then I tell myself that my systems and ethics are powerful, so I needn’t be scared. NEVER ever has been a place in my life that because of not being cunning, rather being a simple human being, I hadn’t won eventually. Things always turn out to be in the favour of the person who works hard with the rights systems and the right mindsets.

And if you are worried about number of attempts, yes I did get a bonus of 1L INR extra back in 2015-16 because of being a first attempt passout. But today, 5-6 years down the line, almost everyone is earning in the same income range. Time is a great leveller and a wonderful thing to forget.

So keep up your spirits high my fellow CA students, it is only a matter of time that you will become a member of the reputed ICAI. Till then, focus on building systems and attitudes that eventually and undoubtedly lead to success, instead of letting things happen.

PS: In case you are wondering if I used some systems while preparing for CA Final exams after failing in IPCC twice, of course I did! I won’t blabber them here because the purpose of this blog is not to show you how, the purpose is to show you what. If you need help with systems and processes while preparing for CA exams, drop me a note at ngehija454@gmail.com and I’d be happy to help you out.

PPS: It will happen, eventually!

Documenting NY habits

This year, I’m doing something different: creating habits instead of goals. While I do have some goals at the back of my mind, they’re all effective when we build systems around them.

So here are mine:

1. Create one IG reel + one LinkedIn post daily. And write a Twitter thread every Tuesday about lessons from the book I’m reading.

2. Sleep by 9:30 PM. Daily.

3. Have daily habits of reading and meditation, and check my chart daily at EOD.

The only person between you and your happiness and success is you, and let good habits nudge you away from the old you.

Happy New Year folks! I’d love to listen to your habits, DM me on IG/Twitter/ LinkedIn with the handle nishthagehija26.

See you then, and 2021 will be the best year of your life!

The usual boring stuff

Much of our lives is the usual boring stuff.

Extreme events – such as a job promotion, getting your dream client, getting that deal, your first pair of Nike’s, no matter how eventful – they’re extremely rare.

Which brings us to the boring stuff, and make the best of it.

How to make the best of it – no one can answer that for you, only you can.

But if you keep making the best of each boring day – trust me, you will have ideas to an extent of just extreme events.

Only one caveat: Keep working on your habits and the usual mundane stuff of doing the right things while watching someone else’s happening Insta feed.

How I broke an old habit

For several months, I’ve been trying to change a habit of mine, which is: to not check work related WhatsApp messages and emails on Sundays.

However, despite multiple efforts, wasn’t able to get off the habit.

Same thing happened yesterday. I attended to work messages in the first half.

In the second half, I went to play badminton with my nephews and nieces. As a result, when I came back, still I didn’t open their WhatsApps. I didn’t have the urge in the first place!

It shows the power of physical activity on our mind, and how much controlling power we have.

No matter how important or urgent the work is, nothing is more important than the much-needed nothingness.

Why do we reflect?

You reflected on something that you wanted to change.

And you decided to change.

The question is: Till when?

Not only for one day or two. What are you doing to make change stick?

Before forming one more new habit and failing at all of them and calling yourself a failure, create a plan for sticking to just one habit.

And then the next. Drop by drop. Dip by dip.

The easiest way to change your life

If you look at your day, you’ll find several things to make the radical shift.

And to look at all of them might sound demeaning.

So here’s the way to change your life:

Change just one thing in your day that causes you most pain.

Just one. Not three. Not five. Just one.

Maybe you check your phone just for ten minutes in the morning and it may get your schedule haywire.

Maybe you have your dinner quite late.

Maybe you get distracted easily in your environment.

What is it that causes you the most pain?

Tackling just one thing will lead to domino effect of life altering habits.

Decide now.

Creating new habits

So you all may have started new habits during quarantine and also gave up on many of them.

Here’s the way to keep up with a habit:

Show up till Day 3. Not for one day, not for two.

When you show up on Day 3, you will gather the momentum to continue it further.

Always works. If you do the work.

Wierd is the new normal

In all the things that everyone describes as “normal”, we all have one thing that we DON’T do.

Even if everyone in the world is doing it, we don’t do it.

In “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, the author Daniel Kanheman talks about why we tend to lower down the volume in the car while searching for parking spots – because parking requires a thought process and even music comes as a distraction.

It is such a subconscious process, that we hardly realise that we do

it. As it comes to doing weird things with my life, I can never work with music.

Nor can I read a book accompanied with music.

Not even meals :/

That focus is a necessity for me, and music comes in when I am seriously sitting idle or (the good old days) when we were allowed to drive on the roads:)

Like most people, I DON’T listen to music “at all times”!

Hard work is too hard

Why don’t your efforts come to fruition when you try too hard, ever thought about it?

What happens when the result of your effort does not match what it should be?

Simple.

At a core level, we don’t believe that we deserve that success.

Why don’t we believe that? Because we are probably hanging around with:

• same people

• same habits

Which ones are holding you back?