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Study Zone

‘What you think you become. What you feel you attract. What you imagine, you create’

CIMA’s Jackie Durham explains why it pays to think positively about your accountancy studies

October 2017

As a qualified yoga teacher, I often look to the Buddha for inspiration. For me, the quote above sums up the way we should think about our lives and careers – whether as a student of fine art or of accounting!
Taking responsibility for our lives and thinking positively are two of the most powerful things we can do to achieve success and do good for others in the process.
Let’s think of this in terms of exam taking and being a student of accountancy. When you registered with CIMA (or another accounting body), either consciously or unconsciously, you were thinking of what you would become in the future – a qualified accountant – and all that this means: a secure job, decent pay, prospects, interesting work, respect and recognition from family, friends, colleagues and society. You probably weren’t thinking about late-night studying, juggling your work-life balance, failing exams or getting stuck at a certain level wondering whether you’d ever progress beyond it.
In other words, there was probably a gap between aspiration and reality. That really doesn’t matter so much; see it as an opportunity you need to practise acceptance (another powerful Buddhist technique). Accept that the reality is probably a lot tougher than you thought, while also acknowledging that it’s the same for trainees in all professional disciplines. In fact, it’s this toughness and the character building that goes into overcoming it that make professional accountants so sought after in the job market. What matters is keeping your eye on the long-term goals and what motivated you in the first place.
It’s very easy to get bogged down in negative thinking, to feel that you’ll never get past a particular exam or be confident enough to enter your first case study. And that can lead to inertia or basically not doing a lot.
Sometimes just the thought of failure can lead to inertia. Passing and progressing are so important that we put off even entering the exams until we feel 100% ready. However, in doing this, we are denying ourselves the opportunity of success, that feeling of achievement we sought in the first place. There’s rarely a perfect time to do anything, but it’s usually better to do something than to do nothing at all. If you don’t try, you have no chance of success…
As a qualified accountant you are going to have to make decisions every day so start now and make positive decisions about how and when you study and when you will sit your next exam. Think positive, feel positive, imagine a positive future and you will succeed. Don’t expect it to be easy – nothing that is worth having comes easy. But remember that it’s going to be worth it when you are fully qualified and working in that great job with prospects. Imagine how you will feel and how proud your family and colleagues will feel about you.
Let’s finish with another one of my favourite quotes (variously attributed): “Every journey starts with a single step.” Take that first single step now, book your next exam and join the journey to a bright future.

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