How to Use Delays to Your Advantage

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m a delayed passer.

By May 2014, I’m going to be a CPA. That never happened.

I anticipated for that title, hoped in earnest. In the end, I was delayed.

I remembered the day they made the announcement official. It was late April in 2014. I just came back to the capital after attending my graduation ceremony in the province. I did not celebrate then. Celebrate later after you’ve bagged a bigger prize. That’s what I thought. 

I’m a fan of delayed gratification even then.

I remember the agony of waiting. I remember giving up. Two months are too long. I’ve only built my mindset for a six-month preparation. Why does it have to be longer?

I wanted to work soon. My finances were slipping as fast as water through my hands. My memory was stretched to the limits, stocked knowledge rowing out to escape.

I’m losing momentum. It was like running consistently hard for miles only to be told at the end of the line that the race will extend for another ten kilometers.

When the exam period finally came, I was not in prime condition. I just wanted the agony to be over. On the last day, when I turned my answer sheet for Business Law and Taxation, I knew that I just spoiled my chances.

I could have avoided that. And I want you to avoid it too.

Don’t let “delay” stop you. Don’t make it a reason for quitting.

And if you ask me again to relive those moments, here’s what I would do differently:

Give yourself a window to mourn over your situation. Or rather, celebrate and take a break. You know how burdensome it is to hole in your room all day with only reviewers as companions. If you’re in the capital and away from your loved ones, it’s all the more disheartening.

Get out of your hole and do something different. Cook a special meal, play, binge-watch or binge-read, whatever you like. Set a period for doing all of these things. Tell yourself that it’s only for one day, two days, one week.

Within that period of pure, uninterrupted fun, you’re not going to lose everything that you learned. Rather, your mind will thank you for the break.

When you’ve had enough, stop. Punch the reset button and hit the books again. 

And while you’re at it, here are some strategies to keep you focused:

Identify gaps in your knowledge. Identify the questions that you fear facing when the actual exam rolls in. Use the extra period to drill it down.

Stock up on reviewers from all sources. You never know which one would turn up in the actual exams.

Repeat those difficult exercises. Once may be enough. Twice is too much. But thrice is killing it. Perfection is attained through constant repetition and practice.

Meditate or get into the habit of mindfulness. It works for any kind of stress-inducing situation.

Avoid thinking about the future. I think that was the biggest obstacle to gaining a focused mindset. I understand if you feel small and powerless. That’s what uncertainty can make you feel.

Fear is paralyzing. If you don’t rein it in, it will consume you.

In the end, I passed the CPA board exam when it was finally held in July 2014. Barely, I missed the chance to make it to the top ranks. I felt punched in the gut when I learned of the results. I could have done better.

But that’s what you get when you let any unfortunate circumstance derail your ambitions.

I’ve reconciled with that feeling now. Looking back, I was happier for what it led me to. If the outcome was any different, I could have found myself in a different environment.

After acquiring the skill for ‘paradigm shift’, the older, more matured me can easily say that a delay is something to be thankful for. It gives you more time. And time is something limited and priceless.

You’re just received one of the most valuable gifts in the world.

Author’s Note: I made this piece in response to the delayed licensure exams in the Philippines due to the COVID-19 situation. Amidst this pandemic, it is important to stay positive, engaged and inspired. It’s also the best time to start something new.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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About the Author

Christine Mae Mariano
Christine Mae Mariano
Christine is a CPA by day and a writer by night. She is the chief starter of @TheGritinMeMovement, a Facebook blog dedicated to millennials and Gen Z professionals who want to Grow their wealth, Reach their potential, Inspire other people, and Triumph against odds.