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Last week I was with my team in office sitting quite late (around 10.30PM) finalizing the service tax returns due on October 25, 2015.  There were some 10 of us, and each team member was working on the last minute changes in the returns and punching the data from the CENVAT credit registers and other documents sent by the clients.  For one of the critical clients of our firm International Business Advisors ( we realized we need some information or rather a very typical process of filing the information in the return for that client.  This was something known to Raghav, an old staff member of our firm who had left our organization for preparing for his CA Final examinations.  Unfortunately, Raghav had been appearing in his CA examinations for a very long time but was unable to clear them.  He is a smart, intelligent boy but as we all know, passing the exams in chartered accountancy is not only a function of your intelligence, it involves a lot of things such as method of preparation, style of answering the papers etc. and obviously a little bit of good luck.  

Since it was urgent and we wanted to get that information from Raghav, we decided to call him even at late hours thinking that he would not have slept since examinations were fast approaching and he would be studying.  I dialed his no. and there went his mobile ring and after some 10-15 rings he picked up the phone.  “Good evening sir, hope all is well”, said Raghav.  “Good evening Raghav and sorry to bother you so late in the evening and disturbing you in your study time”, I said in an apologetic tone.  “That’s OK sir I wasn’t studying because I am shifting to Moradabad tomorrow, so packing my stuff”.  I was a little surprised to hear because why would a person born and brought up in Delhi and whose parent’s business is in Delhi would shift to a small town of Moradabad.  “I hope all is well in the family Raghav and why the hell are you shifting to Moradabad”, I exclaimed“No, no sir you got me wrong.  I am not shifting permanently to Moradabad.  I am just shifting for a month for preparing for my exams as my examination centre is in Moradabad”.   “MORADABAD”, my voice perplexed and tone so high that all the remaining people in the conference room stopped working and started staring at me.  “Yes Sir, I had opted for Moradabad center this time for my examinations”, said Raghav.  “But why Moradabad Raghav?” I was still sounding perplexed and aghast in my tone.  Raghav then explained me the reason that prompted me to write this blog post.

“Sir, I was told by someone in my family that if I change my examination centre to a small town, then the chances of my clearing the exams are high because from every town the ICAI has to declare pass percentage and if I perform well from Moradabad centre, my chances of clearing the papers are high.   My father has been advised that this tactic/strategy will work in my favour and by giving exams from a non-Delhi centre will bring me luck and help me clear the exams”.

This is not the first time I had heard of this kind of a story but this time I was hearing it from someone who I know and honestly, it was a SHOCK to me.  How can a smart kid get influenced by these kind of propositions and how can changing the examination centre to a different city that is 150 kms awy from your home bring you luck.  I know people believe in Vaastu, they believe in all religious gurus that we know exist in our country, and they do believe in all sorts of things that convince them of bringing good luck and stuff they have been desiring for a long time.  And probably our friend Raghav too was a victim of such worldly and probably false desires.

And if Raghav happens to clear the exams this time, I am 100% sure all the other exams remaining would be attempted by him from towns and cities near Delhi, but definitely not Delhi.  And the sad part is that this has nothing to do with the efforts he is putting in to prepare for his exams.  He has left his job with us only to prepare and is taking all the coaching classes one can take.  But, if the result comes positive the only credit to his success would be Moradabad and not his hard work. 

Is this a good or correct approach, if you ask me I honestly don’t know because we all know that when things don’t go the way we want them to, we resort to all kind of ways and means to achieve it.  That’s why as they say, Vaishno Devi shrine has the maximum no. of people in the months of November/January and May/July when either the CA exams are over and the results are awaited.

My idea of writing this blog post is obviously not to discourage Raghav because I sincerely hope and pray that he clears his exams.  But I have known him for so many years and I think rather than spending time shifting cities, he needs to focus more on studies and improving the way he attempts his papers.  I know his previous attempts marks and I am sure if he continues to attempt the papers the way he has been in the past, I have all my doubts whether Moradabad would really help him.

What is ‘luck’ and how do you define it.  I checked the Wikipedia and the definition says as follows:

“Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”

So luck is basically happening of an event in your life that brings either success or failure and that event happens not because of your efforts.  Do you think a very critical decision of passing an important examination like CA should be left to chance, rather than putting in your own hard work?  It’s OK to shift city and try something different and who knows it works for you, but to my mind, Raghav should focus more on these things:

1. Analyze why he has not been able to clear papers even after attempting so many times;

2. Prepare a proper plan for himself to study and diligently stick to that plan;

3. Try and avoid all kinds of distractions that don’t allow him to focus on studies such as Diwali parties, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram.  I know for today’s generation it is very difficult to get away from social media and gadgets but then one should think is it really worth spending time on these at the cost of your career.

4. Work on improving skills to write better in exams and try and attempt atleast 50-100 sample papers at home to get a hang of how he should write when he’s actually giving the papers;

5. Always think positive about clearing exams.  Rather than thinking about failing and finding ways to avoid it, it is better to think about clearing papers and finding ways to do it. 

As human beings we are used to thinking negative and always think about what we don’t want to happen with us.  Hasn’t it happened with you that when you are preparing for a presentation the first thought that comes to your mind is what if I get nervous and unable to speak properly, rather than a thought that you would do a wonderful presentation? 

Hasn’t it happened with you that when you are waiting for some results you would always think about not getting passing marks, rather than thinking that you would pass and that too with flying colours. 

Hasn’t is happened that when you have given a job interview and waiting for the result and if the interviewer is taking time to reply back, the first thought is that you have not been selected, rather than thinking that the interviewer might have some other important assignments to finish and therefore, he is taking more time to declare results.

In all of the above situations the result might be positive but our thoughts are generally negative, that’s because we as human beings have the habit to think negative.  The more we think about things that we don’t want to happen with us, the more this Universe would help that things to not happen with us. 

Instead of:

a. Thinking about stuff on circumventing negativity around us either by changing the way we live or changing the city, make it a point to only think about things that you want for yourself;

b. Thinking about failures, think about success;

c. Finding ways to bring luck to you, work extremely hard on improving your skills and craft;

d. Blaming your seniors about the way they ask you to work or behave, work on improvising your knowledge;

e. Blaming your bad luck, work hard to get luckier;

f. Waiting for luck to bring good things in your life, work with passion, hard work and utmost sincerity so that luck is forced to shower good things for you.

In the end I would like to quote a beautiful quote that my father used to say when I was studying for my exams.  I think this statement is applicable in all spheres of life, be it when you are a student or the CEO of a company:

“Mehnat Karke to tum shayad fail ho sakte ho but bina mehnat kare tum kabhi bhi pass nahin ho sakte (You might fail despite working hard without hard work you just cannot pass)”

Stay blessed and keep working hard to remain luckier…

Authored by Nimish Goel who by profession is a qualified chartered accountant but by passion, is an active blogger.  Nimish has worked with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe.  He now runs his own consulting company (International Business Advisors) and manages his blog


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