My late dad was a Chartered Accountant (he passed away in 2018). When I was in the third grade, I remember saying to him, "even I want to be a CA". At that young age, I had no clue what Chartered Accountants did, but I wanted to be one, I wanted to be just like my dad. He was and will always be my biggest role model.
Fast forward to the present and I've finally achieved that dream/goal. After all the setbacks I've experienced over the past five years, I feel extremely grateful that I earned my success through blood, sweat and tears, and I don't regret those hard times because they taught me lessons I would never have otherwise learnt.
The Alchemist :
In the foreword to his book 'The Alchemist', Paulo Coelho mentions that there are 4 reasons why we don't achieve our dreams :
1) We are told from childhood onwards that everything we want to do is impossible.
2) We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.
3) Fear of the defeats we will meet on the path.
4) The fear of realizing the dream for which we have been fighting all our lives.
He ends by saying, 'If you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.' Beautiful, right?
I re-read The Alchemist during 2020, and I realized that due to the many failures and setbacks I had experienced over the past few years, my inner dialogue had become so negative, that I didn't wholeheartedly believe that I deserved success. Strangely, fear of failure had made me fearful of success too.
I needed to believe in myself once again. So, throughout 2020 I put in a lot of effort to undo my negative tuning, and to attract positivity and success, and I'm thrilled that it worked. I learnt the hard way that intelligence and hard work are wasted if one does not have a positive mindset.
St. Jude :
My maternal grandmother had great faith in St. Jude. The saint was Jesus' cousin and is the patron of desperate cases. Whenever my siblings and I had an examination when we were young, my grandmother would send a prayer request to the shrine of St. Jude at Jhansi, India.
Over the years I had stopped praying to St. Jude as I had felt that praying to God directly made more sense, but I decided to start again. A month before the exam I sent a prayer request to St. Jude on the online site of the Jhansi shrine. Till today I say the novena every single day, and it has not only helped me achieve success, but has also increased my faith in God.
The lessons I've learnt over the past 5 years :
1) Don't be afraid of failure. In India, especially in school, it had always been drilled in our heads that failure is a bad thing. I grew up with that mindset and when I did fail in my first attempt of CA final, it hit me badly. I wish I was taught that failure is necessary in life, and that it will make you stronger than you ever thought you'd be. Learn to forgive yourself and try again.
2) Giving up is easy, but it's not worth it. Although it took time for me to reach my goal, and giving up seemed like the better option many a time, I'm so proud of myself for persevering. I would never have forgiven myself if I gave up, because I knew all along that I had the potential, and I just needed to find my way back. (Read 'Quitting Is Easy, Don't.')
3) Have faith. Having faith in God, in a higher power, in anything bigger than yourself, is something that can change your life. My favourite Bible quote, which I keep as my phone's wallpaper is, 'If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.' (Read 'Faith.')
4) God has a plan for all of us. Until we submit ourselves to Him completely, we will never be truly happy. Another favourite Bible quote of mine is, 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.' (Read 'God's Plans Are Greater Than Our Own.')
5) Haters will always hate. Many people have said extremely mean things to me over the years with respect to my failures, and it used to hurt me a lot while studying. But I finally learnt how to use that negativity to fuel myself, to push myself harder towards my goal.
6) You need to be your biggest cheerleader, and have a good support system. Not everyone will be supportive towards your goals, but you need to realize that most people do not like others achieving the goals they never managed to achieve themselves, and they will do anything to make you doubt yourself and your abilities. So, make sure that you surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you.
7) Learn to attract happiness/success. Affirmations and vision boards are something I read a lot about in the past, but I always found them to be a little overrated. Turns out, I was wrong - they actually work! Repeat to yourself each day 'I will be a success' or any affirmation that you like, and you will be surprised at what happens. Believe! (Read 'Ask & You Shall Receive.')
8) Put in the work. In 'The Power of Your Subconscious Mind' the author writes about techniques to harness the power of one's mind. However, visualizing success is one thing, but working towards it is another.
9) Show yourself some love. If you feel frustrated/angry/demotivated, take a few days off, and focus on healing. Move away from people who drain your mental and physical energy. Take a break from social media for a few months.
10) Commit and re-commit. All human beings are flawed, and not everything we plan works out just the way we wanted it to. If one plan doesn't work, reassess your strategy and try something else. You can change the plan, without changing the goal. I always thought that the way I studied was the best, but over the years I realized how wrong I was, and only when I changed my way of approaching the studies and the exams, did I succeed. (Read 'Keep Climbing.')
Thank you :
I am forever indebted to God, for giving me the courage to keep going despite all the twists in my path. He is the one who kept me strong and who carried me till the end.
My parents have been my greatest support and I would not be the strong person I am, had it not been for their love and guidance. My mother is my best friend and my rock, who has always had more faith in me than I've had in myself.
My amazing family, especially my brothers and sister-in-law, I don't know what I would do without you all.
A big thank you to my friends, who stood by my side despite me isolating myself every few months when I had to study. To my closest friends - Vrushali, Ashlesha, Tanveen, Reshma, Sherine and Kristan, big hugs!
A huge thank you and shout-out to Husein and Keshav from the podcast Far From Fact, who were always super supportive and kind to me. Their podcast has always lightened my mood and helped me bear my burdens with laughter, which is the most ideal way sufferings should be borne. A big thank you to Husein and his wife Sakina, who are both Chartered Accountants, who helped guide me recently about what I should do after CA.
A huge thank you to all my wonderful blogger friends and online friends from all over the world, who have been a source of motivation and joy, and who have made me believe in goodness once again.
Last, but not least, a big thank you to everyone who reads my blog. Your constant support is truly appreciated!
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!
Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash.