Got Motivation?

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Apr 24, 2020

No Mo’

While gaining practical experience, I used music to spark my motivation (you know, that “mo'”). Whether it was Britney Spears who encouraged me to write my practice cases or Limp Bizkit helping me prioritize, their melodies often helped me refocus daily actions.

Growing up, we often read The Little Engine that Could (Ong, 1988). My parents insisted I repeat, alongside the narrator, “I think I can, I THINK I CAN,” encouraging me to link positive thought to accomplishing goals.

Defining Mo’

Psychologist Albert Bandura defines self-efficacy as a personal judgment of “how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations.” (Werner 2008)1 elaborates on Bandura’s work, explaining a strong sense of personal efficacy as a driving force behind any achievement. Without it, there is little open-mindedness to new ideas, willingness to reflect on ones’ own plans, or motivation and confidence in becoming proactive.

I would like to explore how to silence what Stephen Pressfield has termed “the resistance,” a force that creeps into your mind and tells you that “this time is different; this time, you cannot succeed”. Perhaps if we can work to understand the resistance, we may turn up the volume of self-efficacy to overpower it. If you think you can, you will.


CPA Canada designs CPA PEP modules to provide candidates with incremental opportunities of applied knowledge activities to fight that resistance, which is why it is crucial to incorporate PEP materials while adhering to time constraints and using best case writing practices. That way when you are in your exam, a difficult work situation, or another unexpected challenge, you can find peace knowing that you have put in the focused practice building your self-efficacy muscle.

Re-Defining Mo’

Will there be bumps?? Yes! And you are not alone. Princeton Assistant Professor Johannes Haushofer shared his openly by publishing his CV of Failures.  

One may find reframing helpful, that is to provide a different lens in which to see the same actions or results. “Seven fall, eight getting up” is a Japanese proverb reminding us the only failure is quitting. My outsourced momentum to write this piece was care of Ms. Spears, take it away Britney:

“No time to quit now, just time to get it now. Pick up what I’m putting down.”

Work B**ch, Brittney Spears, Album: Brittney Jean, 1993

You can. You will.

Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum.

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB, and an instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education.
 Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.


1 Werner, W. (2008). Teaching for hope. In R. Case & P. Clark (Eds.), The anthology of social studies, volume 2: Issues and strategies for secondary teachers (pp. 193–197). Vancouver: Pacific Educational Press.