Recently I watched a very old TV serial –‘Fauji’ starring Shahrukh Khan. A lot of you perhaps wont even know that Shahrukh Khan started his career acting in TV serials and then went to the Bollywood. This serial was based on the training of an Indian Army commando and how they learn to be so disciplined in their work. It was awesome to watch that serial again.
Some of my distant family members are also in Army and whilst I was watching the serial, I could feel how they are actually like the TV characters shown in the serial, highly disciplined, highly respectful to their seniors and people who can create anything out of nowhere, only because of the training they undergo and their grit and determination.
Watching them get trained made my thought of getting a solid training all the more important, be it army or chartered accountancy and how a good training can provide you a sense of purpose in life. With that sense of purpose gets combined their “grit, determination and passion” which leads to exemplary results. Remember – “The purpose of life should be a life of purpose”. If there is no purpose of your life, there is no life for you because behaving and acting aimlessly is a punishment to yourself and to your large untapped potential that can create wonders.
I have talked in my previous articles the importance of articleship for a chartered accountancy student and how a good articleship exposure can lead to great results for your career. The Army people are trained to be obedient to their senior, they are trained to follow the rules no matter what, they are trained to be disciplined in life, they are trained to work in teams and ultimately they are trained to enjoy their life in whatever conditions of life they are in. And this training goes a long way in shaping their future career and life as a whole.
Similarly, the training opportunity given by our Institute to young aspiring chartered accountancy students by way of articleship should be taken as an opportunity to learn, work hard and grow in your profession. Army teaches us a lot of things. It teaches how to work hard, it teaches us how to work in teams, it teaches us how to respect your seniors, it teaches us the importance of team building and respect of co-workers. As young aspiring chartered accountants, we should learn these tactics well and implement them with true spirit, because these habits and virtues would go a long way in shaping your career.
Be disciplined by reaching office or client’s place on time, be extremely hard working by taking up assignments from your seniors proactively and working hard to finish them, be resilient in your approach by taking up challenging jobs that tests your gut and intellect, be a great team worker by respecting your seniors and peers at work, be highly respectful to your seniors because ultimately they are helping you learn and grow, be a smart worker by doing jobs in the most effective manner, be proactive in your approach and at the end, be the best person in your field. Let no other person you know be better than you and that’s precisely what the army also teaches their officers. Be so good that the enemy is unable to defeat you. Similarly, we as chartered accountants should be so good in our work that no other professional should be able to match our professionalism, work ethics and caliber.
The other thing that was shown in the serial about the Army jawaans and officers is the habit of time management. And the only reason why everyone in the Army is able to manage their time well is because they don’t procrastinate. Procrastination, or the habit of delaying things to the future is a very common phenomenon and majority of us believe in procrastinating things to the future. This actually starts as a casual habit and ultimately leads to a disease. Once we develop this habit, it becomes very difficult to get over it.
The Army officers and jawaans right on the word ‘GO’ immediately launch themselves into action and make it a point to finish the work and report the status of the work to their seniors. There would never be a situation when an officer or a jawaan would procrastinate the job assigned to him. I think, this is all because of the training they get which ultimately becomes a habit.
Good habits are seldom achieved quickly and majority of us picks up bad ones swiftly. Why is it that the people in defence don’t pick up habits that one ideally shouldn’t? Is it because they are on the borders trying to protect the country from any invasion and therefore, discipline and non-procrastination are a must for them. Why can’t we as civilians pick up such good habits and tattoo them in our brain so deeply that they are hard-wired in our neuro system and then they would never leave us.
On the issue of handling procrastination, I wanted to give some practical tips that I have used myself and they are extremely useful both, to students as well as to qualified professionals. For some more insights on procrastination, you can also read my article "Kabhi To Hoga Matlab Kabhi Nahin…”
These tips are highly practical and simple to use and implement:
Write your Daily 5
This is one of my favorite things that work wonderfully in your life. Every morning when you get up (make it a habit to get up at 5AM everyday - You can read my article – Why I joined the 5AM Club) take a piece of paper and write down 5 things that you would want to finish that day, for that day to be your best day. These 5 things can be related to studies, career, personal life, social life and spiritual life (if you are spiritual J).
Make it a point to write very clearly what should be finished. Your daily goals should be specific and measurable, don’t write anything that is not clear and which can’t be measured. For example if you want to finish drafting a letter to a client you should write – “I will finish drafting the letter to Client XX and get it approved from my senior and then email it to the client XX”. The other way, which is not the right way could have been – “Client XX” on the assumption that you would finish drafting the letter to that client.
By writing very specific and measurable output, you are able to accurately judge your results and outcomes.
Identify 3 most important goals by applying 80:20 Rule
One of the widely used rules which is applicable to any situation in life, whether personal or professional. This rule says in our life only 20% of the activities constitute 80% of the outcomes or income or results and 80% of the activities that we do constitute only 20% of the results. A very powerful thought.
If you analyse you would agree that actually the above principle is true and therefore, it is very important that we spend majority of our time on those 20% of the activities that are most critical and significant. Once we start to spend major time on the significant activities that are just 20%, our life would start to shift from a feeling of scarcity to a feeling of abundance. That’s because you would be able to achieve more out of the time spent.
Identify your three most important goals in each area of your life. Organise them in priority. Make plans for their accomplishment and work on your plans every single day. You will be amazed at what you achieve in the months and years ahead.
Follow ABCDE Formula
I learnt this formula from my coach and use it in my daily life, whilst writing my goals. Once you have written your daily goals, it is important that those goals are prioritized according to their importance and consequences each one of them would have on your career.
Mark those activities “A” that are of high importance and have serious consequences positive or negative if they are done or if they are not done. These are the activities that are critical and should be finished at any cost. These include things like replying to client’s email, filing an important letter with a Government department, attending important client meeting etc.
“B” activities are those that are important but do not carry a ‘critical’ tag with them. These are jobs that should be picked up only when you ‘A’ activities are finished. “C” activities are the ones which are nice to finish but do not have any consequence. Things like talking to a friend, lunch with co-workers are these kinds of activities. “D” jobs are those that can be delegated and shouldn’t be done by you. “E” jobs are the ones that are absolutely un-important and therefore, should be eliminated.
Start to practice ABCDE principle and you would find yourself doing only those things that have real consequence in your life and those that would make you super performers.
Conscious positive affirmations
Constantly talking to yourself through positive affirmations is another way to make sure you don’t procrastinate things that are important. You can read a book “200 powerful positive affirmations” written by Andy Grant that perhaps would help you decide which affirmations to use and when.
Affirmations start to affect our subconscious mind and it starts to drive our performance in the right direction. By continuously speaking to yourself in a positive manner, such as – “Every day I am working towards achieving my goals and I would achieve them positively” or “Every day and in every way God is helping me win every race where I am participating, be it life or profession”. You can also say – “Every day I am working hard to ensure that I don’t procrastinate”. By continuously using such positive affirmations you would direct your subconscious mind to achieve those goals.
I hope this article is of some help to you. All of us should strive to reach our pinnacle and that is only possible when we are highly disciplined, meticulous in our work and approach and behave in our life as the soldiers/jawaans of the army.
I would like to end this article by saying that:
“Do It Now. Sometimes ‘later’ becomes ‘never’.
Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a qualified chartered accountant who’s passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life. Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com. He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog.