How To Become a Champion

Some time ago, the Los Angeles Kings won the National Hockey League championship and the San Antonio Spurs became the champions of the National Basketball Association. And soccer’s World Cup competition was played in Brazil.

I have always been fascinated by teams who manage to take on the best competition and win. The Kings in ice hockey and the Spurs in basketball were quite simply the best. They just played better. And, at the end, they won and got to celebrate like a bunch of kids. You couldn’t help but be excited for them.

Okay, if someone came up to you and asked the question: How do you become a champion? How would you answer? What would you say? How would you respond to the question, "How do you become a champion?"

It really isn’t a mystery. I think we all have a pretty good idea of what it takes.

After some thought, here is my answer (or at least some parts of my answer):

1) – Whether it is the Spurs or the Kings or any other champion, they start out to win. They don’t begin the first day of the season trying to be good. They start out with one goal: to be the best, to be the champion. It is hard to be great if you don’t set your eyes on that goal. It is hard to be great if you start out working like you are shooting for 4th place. With the CPA Exam, no one wants to get close. No prizes are awarded for close – you want to pass the exam and pass it as quickly as possible. If you are not absolutely sure that you know what you want, it is difficult to get there. Don’t shoot just to be good. Go all out to be great.

2) – The work has to be consistent. Champions are not excellent now and then. They don’t play hard only when they are in the mood. They play like winners every day. Likewise, with the CPA Exam, you cannot study just when you feel like it. Preparation has to become a genuine obsession. You must be willing to study when all of your friends are out having a good time. It is certainly a sacrifice but one that should end quickly if you do the work and earn those 75 points. No one wants to study all the time but it will only before a short period if you go out there and get the work done. You are never going to get ahead by doing exactly as much work as everyone else. Life doesn’t work that way.

3) – In basketball, they talk about “taking care of the ball.” Ice hockey players probably say something similar such as “taking care of the puck.” That means that you have to be very careful. You cannot make foolish, careless mistakes. The CPA Exam is exactly the same. Whether you pass or fail often depends on how many points you give away by making careless errors. If you miss a question because you don’t know a topic, that is to be expected. It just happens. But, if you miss a question because you are careless, then that is just heart breaking.

Now and then, we get emails from candidates who swear that one of the questions in our database has the wrong answer. They are often very upset at us. 99 percent of the time, the question has the word “not” in it and they carelessly missed that word. Don’t get distracted. Read each question with care and think through to the best possible answer.

Okay, what are the keys to a championship as well as to making 75 on the CPA Exam? You might want to write these down and repeat them to yourself as often as possible.

--You need a desire to be great right from the very first day.

--Work consistently—don’t run hot and cold in your preparation.

--Eliminate carelessness—never give any points away.

--When it counts, be ready to play your very best game.

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