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Nov 2017

Life Beyond CA – Focus on Priorities

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November Exams are just around the corner and those who are appearing must be full of all sorts of emotions – Anxious & Nervous for whose preparations are not upto the mark as desired, Angry & frustrated mostly with self for not having put in enough hard work, Excited & relaxed for those who are giving exams for the first time and are taking the opportunity as an experiment and have firm belief that they will do better in the next attempt with full dedication and hard work.

Even after having cleared exams so many years ago, it still feels just like yesterday when I was also going through the same emotions. I still remember days when I couldn’t go home in Diwali as exams were just around the corner or something or the other would come up. Am sure we all had to sacrifice family time, festivals, watching IPL or cricket and what not. These are really testing times for us to give our best and this is what builds us stronger.

Even the strongest of all needs motivation and these days being depressed over trivial matter is not so uncommon. If you Google “I need motivation”, you will get approx. 3 crore 48 lakh search results. However, I personally believe only 1 result works best and that is – ‘If you just start doing yourself’ rather than googling and seeking external help to motivate yourself.

Nothing works better than seeing results. If you want to excel in studies, start studying with heart and soul. A number of hours doesn’t justify your success, it’s the intent and willpower to succeed creates the difference. If you want to lose weight or be physically fit, start exercising. If you give yourself an excuse to start religiously from 1st January, then be rest assured, it would hardly happen. Every day is a new beginning and I believe we don’t have to specifically wait for some special day to start doing things which would actually make a difference in life.

We all have knowledge. To put it simply, Knowledge is ‘Knowing Things’ For instance we would all know keeping oneself updated is important, we would all know exercising and meditation is good for both mental and physical health. But not all of us have wisdom. True Wisdom is putting the knowledge into practice.

Now the counter question arises. All of us know what’s beneficial in long run and what’s not. But then who has time to pursue these things when we already are in a fast lane. Well, a simple answer to this lies in prioritizing things. Everyone in this world has 24 hours in a day. Whether be in Amitabh Bacchan or Sachin Tendulkar, everyone has achieved great heights just by classifying what’s their priority. Once we know what is the most important priority, we should devote our maximum time there. We must learn to differentiate what is important and what is urgent. We should absolutely refrain from spending too much time in matters which are neither important nor urgent.

To put things into context, I believe our permanent priorities should be ranked in the following order:

Rank 1: Take care of your physical and as well as mental health. Only a healthy body can take care of their loved ones

Rank 2: Family. We are what we are because of our family. We should respect each other and stay connected.

Rank 3: Career. We should love what we do or do what we love. We would be spending a great amount of our time building a good career and if you are stuck in a place where you simply feel horrible and not good inside, then you should search something which would make you really happy. But remember money is also important for a good living and providing your family a comfortable life.

Now rest of the priorities would fit in according to the need of the hour. For those pursuing Chartered Accountancy course or even cleared, I feel the following is important to build a good professional base and lead a good life. Of course, no one is perfect but making an effort is more important than having a wishful thinking. The list is not exhaustive. Every life has a story to tell and experiences to share. I have just jotted down few pointers which I feel would help others to start thinking  And if you are pursuing CA, then Start thinking like you are a CA. Don’t wait to clear the exams and then start with these things. Remember, the earlier you start, the better you become with time.

1. Communication – Whether you like it or not but being able to communicate is one of the most important aspect of life. You have to brush up your speaking abilities specially in English. It’s not necessary that you have to be an outstanding public speaker but at least you should be confident enough to speak infront of 2 people or a full auditorium. Having said that, communication is not just about speaking, it’s also about being a good listener – A listener who listens with an intent to understand and not just nodding head. I can understand that not all are very comfortable communicating in English and very rightly so. It’s not our mother tongue and we can never feel as comfortable as we are with our mother tongue. For some it’s even harder because they may not have a good foundation or schooling where in English was given so much importance. But I believe rather than cursing the past which cannot be changed, we should focus on things which we can do now. I would suggest get hold of the book ‘Word Power Made Easy ‘ by Norman Lewis and start practicing. Nothing can beat practice. Sachin Tendulkar became Sachin Tendulkar because of hard work, dedication and practice So stop looking at the past and move ahead. Be practical in life. Do not expect miracles to happen overnight. But do make it a habit to read, write and speak.

2. CAs are expected to be good with numbers. If P&L, Balance Sheet or Cash flow Statements do not excite you much then you should introspect. But don’t worry if you don’t know what to do with your life. Very few people have truly discovered the true purpose of life and I firmly believe that’s what life is all about- Discovering your true self. Having said that I personally feel CAs should spread financial literacy. And this should start from you yourself. Open a DMAT account, track IPOs, invest in shares, attend AGMs. Do this not just to earn money but create wealth and for learning. Going through one Annual report or attending one AGM would give you an exposure that no books can teach you. And who knows, may be you will find your true calling. CA is not just about Tax or Audit. The field of finance is huge and in a country like India, there is a huge demand of good Funds manager. But to reach there, you have to start managing your own funds. Be your own financial planner, start SIPs. Even a mere Rs.500/month of good SIP can give you handsome returns over a period of time. But please be careful and don’t have a herd mentality. Greed and pride over short term success has washed away even the most intelligent people.

3. Keep yourself updated. Invest time reading good articles. You should know what’s happening in other domains too. Technology is fast changing the world. You should keep your eyes open and be receptive to change. Even if recent changes like GST, RERA are not related to your work or of no interest to you, I would suggest read a little about them as people would expect you having some degree of knowledge about these things being a CA. You need not have an in depth knowledge about each and everything, but having an understanding helps in speaking in a group or in some social gatherings

4.Eat healthy. Sleep proper. Dress smartly. Start working on your body language. A good physique gives confidence and a good body language attracts people. Develop your own style and wear clothes that suits your personality. Shape up your body and maintain a good diet. Now a days most of us are inclined towards fast food and carbonated drinks. I wouldn’t say refrain from these completely but you should keep a reality check. If your body metabolism is like someone who can put up weight very quickly, then please practice self control. Short term happiness in consuming these fast food products may be immense but trust me, bringing our bodies back in shape demands a lot of efforts. Why to walk in that path when we know it’s full of pain and thorns. No matter how depressed or frustrated you are, never do drugs or smoke. I have seen families getting destroyed because of these addiction. Consuming alcohol may look cool infront of friends but it hugely affects your thinking pattern and even the best of the minds have become corrupt because of alcohol. So please learn to differentiate what’s good for a healthy soul and what’s not.

5. Learn to stay humble and have some gratitude. I have seen people becoming arrogant after having cleared exams and earning some amount of money. Remember everyone has a unique way of looking at life and don’t judge everyone with same glasses, especially the glass with golden frame. Money is not everything in life. In fact after a certain stage, it wouldn’t even matter how much you earn and how much money is lying idle in your bank account. Value relationships and stay grounded.

6. Stop living in the virtual life. People these days are engrossed with virtual life. Many people are not even aware that the addiction to these online platforms is no less than addiction to some kind of drug. The first thing in the morning may people would do is check notifications on their cell phones whereas the first hour in the morning is the most productive hour of our day. We should plan our day and be grateful to God for giving us an opportunity to make our lives better than yesterday. Too much of anything is bad. You should learn where to draw the line. In the name of social connectivity, we should not stop living in real world. It is always better to pick up the phone and talk to friends and relatives rather than just wishing or commenting on their wall/profile page.

7. These days there’s a lot of craze for online series. Be it Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Sherlock Holmes, Prison Break, House of cards  and others are simply amazing. But watching too much of online series would waste a lot of time. There is no second opinion that all the series are mind blowing and built on a superb content. But when this watching “just for relaxation” turns out into addiction, you would not even know. If so, then just take a step back and ask yourself ‘Is this really going to help me in any matter what so ever’. If the answer is No, then switch off your screen and do something that’s really going to help you with your goals. Reading books is one such habit which would definitely change the way you think. Reading a good book is like sitting with the author and reading his thoughts. Just imagine the wealth of knowledge you can accumulate just by reading. I wouldn’t think it’s impossible to read at least 1 book per month or maybe just 10 pages per day. Even that would amount to 3650 pages in a year and you can do your calculations that would be equivalent to how many books .

In the end, all I would say It’s always our choice what we do with the most precious thing God has gifted us with – TIME. Either we spend it or we can invest it. The choice is always ours, it always has been.

I wish everyone a healthy and a good life. Give your life a priority.

Keep learning. Keep sharing.

The Article is Written by Vikash Maheshwari, Guest Author of CA Rocks

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