I have not been writing as much lately because I have, instead, been studying for an insurance certification exam, the first in the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, CPCU 510. I had been meaning to work on this for nearly a year, and, in July, finally began. It took me ten months to convince myself to learn something new. What was taking me so long?
It’s a boring subject matter, but most of life is boring and that really wasn’t the reason why I put it off. I kept thinking I would find time to read these books in odd places, and thereby study without really having to commit to studying. The truth is that I really didn’t want to make CPCU 510 a part of my life. I didn’t want to commit to it. I wanted to go on as before, as if CPCU 510 wasn’t there.
All the little tricks failed. I could not study during lunch, and I could not find any time during work. I am far too busy at work to stop working for more than five minutes. The way our family life is arranged, I find it hard to do the same at home. If CPCU 510 was a new show on FX, and the lessons were told by five dysfunctional friends at a bar, I’d probably have it all memorized.
I had to go old-school on myself. I read a chapter each night (up to 30 pages). It was brutally boring, but I had to simply commit to reading that book. I sat at the dining room table, ignored the television and the phone, and sometimes waited so long that I fell asleep on my book, but I have gotten through it.
The test is in nine days, and I have enough time to review and study some more. And I will do those things. I have reminded myself what it is to commit to achieving something, and that is the real lesson I learned. CPCU 510, if you’re curious, is about insurance and risk. It’s not rocket science. It is a lot of terms and definitions, and a few formulas. Most of it is familiar and common sense, but it’s arranged just so in order to make money as an insurance provider. It really will help me in my job, and the commitment will help me in my life.