My wife and I enjoy travel and geography and we have started watching old episodes of The Amazing Race on Hulu. If you don’t know, it is a reality television show where roughly a dozen two person teams race around the world doing difficult tasks along the way(such as bungee jumping or herding llamas). We just finished watching the third season. The contestants traveled 41,000 miles in one month and visited 40 different cities in 13 countries. This is a grueling experience as the lack of sleep and quick hurried meals start getting to everyone, especially when the tasks along the way are difficult. Travel is always tiring and this is traveling at a rapid pace.
In season 3, one of the teams was made up of Zach and Flo. Unfortunately, over the last few days of the race, Flo just became physically and emotionally exhausted. She started yelling at her partner and numerous times wanted to quit. I couldn’t blame her. If I had traveled that far that fast, I would probably have been even more irritable. At that speed, this is not an easy game.
What really impressed me was Zach. He had also lost sleep and had to be exhausted himself. But he never once seemed to get upset. He spoke positively to his partner and was nothing (at least on the television show) but encouraging. He kept telling her to rest as much as she could and that she would get to feeling better and then they would press on. Over and over, he kept repeating very quietly to her “we can still win this.”
And, some how things fell just right for that team and they won. The prize was $1 million. Flo was worn completely out and begged to quit but Zach stayed absolutely calm and encouraging and each of them collected a cool $500,000 as a result.
As I watched the final episode, I kept repeating to myself: “I need to be more like Zach.” Unfortunately, under stress, it is easy to get tired and frustrated and just quit. If you do, you will never know what you can accomplish. On the other hand, if you stay as calm as possible and reasonable and push forward at whatever speed you can muster, winning is always a possibility.
I know many of the people reading this email lesson are working very hard to complete some part (or maybe all) of the CPA Exam before the end of the year. I know how much work that can be. I know you have families and jobs that pull you away from studying. It is terribly difficult and stressful. There is probably never a day that passes that you are not ready to throw in the towel and quit. But, if you do that, you’ll never pass the CPA Exam.
That doesn’t mean that you need to keep beating yourself to death each and every day. You have to stay calm and make as much progress as you can each day. It is that continuous progress that is eventually going to get you the 75 points you need to pass. You won’t win $1 million but you can pass the CPA Exam.