Do you have a chicken or bacon approach to studying and other life endeavours?

There was an engineering company that was helped by some of my friends and colleagues, to get a better work culture (among many other things). 

One day a US General was visiting the company.  The Chief Executive repeatedly reassured the military man that the project they were discussing would be completed on time. However, the general wasn’t satisfied. He didn’t think the staff were working hard enough with sufficient dedication.

He wanted them to put in extra hours, put themselves under additional pressure and stress to do “whatever it takes”. 

“Think of bacon and eggs”, declared the general, “the chicken was involved. The pig was committed.”

There was a pause.

The Chief Executive replied “Well, that’s true General – but the pig is dead, and the chicken is still producing eggs I want my people to stay ‘involved.’”

Commitment sounds like a great idea until you recognise commitment is also the characteristic of stalkers.

As a leader of several CIMA Facebook groups, I see lots of students put themselves under additional pressure trying to pass accountancy exams. 

There is a key difference between putting in the hours to study and putting on a lot of emotions on the result of the study (i.e. the exam). There’s a big difference between studying for an exam and panicking about the future result.

If you are likely to end up as bacon, then as well as studying you put a lot of emotions and extra thinking time (stressing time) round your studies.

Bacon are hooked on the end result. Often to exclusion of enjoying the studying journey. And you may well only see or understand that one approach.

Bacon are likely to post highly emotional posts in social media and be searching for evidence that you will pass or fail, much more than taking mocks and question practice as chances to improve. 

Very occasionally I have slipped into bacon-like thinking. I remember getting unduly bothered about my poor OCS mock results. I was staring failure in the face. Then I remembered it was fine to fail! I could recover. But in the meantime, I could enjoy the study. 

Chicken thinking is more like me. Generally, I can throw myself in into my studies, and really enjoy it.

I have little commentary of whether I will pass. When I first go through a textbook it is all about learning the accountancy rather than preparing for an exam.

When studying, I live in the moment finding ways to learn the material. Study is fun because I’m fully engaged and rather than trying to work out whether I’ll pass or fail. When I’m not studying, I’m not thinking about studying giving me a better break. 

If you are bacon and running on the drama of pass or fail then studying CIMA (or other accountancy exams) are likely to be emotionally hard for you. And with a three-year course, you may even quit to get away from the drama.

As a chicken, I can last longer, and feel happier and more engaged in whatever I’m doing.



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