CPA Exam: Facing Adversity after Failure

Angel passed the CPA Exam and now shares his experience as an international candidate.

Hello everyone! It has been almost a month since I last posted an article.

By the time this gets posted a lot of you must have received your scores. It is in these times of the month where pressing F5 is the name of the game.

Congratulations to everyone who had been successful in earning their perfect scores (75!), and the not-so-perfect-but-equally-acceptable 80s and 90s.

For those who didn’t quite make it this time, this one’s for you.

There are times when we believe we already have a good plan in place to achieve our aspirations in life. For the sake of hitting the mark, we prepare ourselves physically and emotionally, willing to do everything humanly possible, and apply every thinkable strategy to mitigate, if not obliterate, the possibility of failure. After all, who would like to fail?

Sometimes, though, what we dread most ends up happening anyway. Defeat stares upon us despite following our master plan with utmost diligence. Things go awry as we execute our plan. We’re left to wonder where we had gone wrong; what we could have done better that could have averted the negative result.

Indeed, earning the prestigious CPA title may mean travelling a thousand miles to some. There’s that rather insurmountable-looking criteria right there. But if, in the face of strong adversity, we decide to surrender our position, feel daunted at the fear of failing once again.

If we continue to focus our mind at the fear of another 71 which stops us from achieving our dream, that distance between our dream and where we are now will forever stay a thousand miles away.

Setbacks can happen every now and then in our personal lives, even in our quest for career development. It’s part of every human’s very existence. Not being able to achieve our goals tends to bring us down and leads us to think that everything we did was just a colossal waste of time.

If you’ve reached this point, there are but two ways your life could go, and it all depends on your attitude and how you accept this “hump”. You could view it as a total failure or as a sign that you shouldn’t have pursued your dream to become a CPA in the first place, which then makes you give up on your goal altogether and train your sight somewhere else.

Otherwise, you could view it as an opportunity to learn and do better. As daunting as it may sound, the latter requires uncommon valor, and makes you summon every ounce of courage from within you. After all, it’s never easy to pick yourself up, and give it one more again.

Most people will just choose to withdraw, brood about their mistakes, and then stop trying again. Well, it’s the easy way out anyway. But if you’re truly set on achieving your goal, come strong wind and high waters, you will push forth, sail on, ‘til you cross the finish line.

Being able to handle temporary defeat is the key to becoming triumphant in this journey. Many candidates tend to feel utterly discouraged when they encounter setbacks, and allow a failed exam to consume all their energy and will to go forward. Of course, when we don’t achieve our goals, we tend to be plagued with self-doubt, thinking that we’re not good enough, that maybe we should stop the CPA madness.

Rather than seeing it as a failure or as something that puts an end to your hopes and dreams, look at it for what it truly is: A mere temporary setback that should not hinder you from reaching for your goal. Run a self-check and do the following:

Recap what you did. This is a good way for you to see where you went wrong and what you should do better next time.

Accept that things didn’t go as expected, and move on. You could dwell on your problems and your mistakes, but that won’t change your situation or bring you any step closer to your goal.

Prepare better. This is an offshoot of #1. Once you know where you went wrong, you will be able to take appropriate measures to prevent foreseeable problems in the future.

Give yourself time to recover. You don’t have to go for your goals right away. You need time to gather your wits together, as you plan your next move.

Make no mistake. The CPA title is something not to be missed. When things don’t go according to plan, always remember that missed goals are not missed opportunities. Instead, they are opportunities to do things better on your next try.

Allow me to leave you with this inspiring quote:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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