Keep Your Eye On The Ball

(And Your Head In The Game)

David Krueger MD

This regular admonition by my favorite athletic coach was an often-repeated encouragement that served as inspiration and template for success as he mentored me daily for four years.  The other: Your mind is the most powerful thing in the world.  These two phrases were catalysts to win championships, and later served as guide for professional choices. 

Keep your eye on the ball…

When you enter a bank to buy money (also known as applying for a loan) your concern may focus on being good enough, about how you will be viewed, if you and your income and credit are adequate.

The simple process of an application for a loan can even resonate with the dynamics of shame: “I have to prove my worth.” The Psychology of Shame and Your Money Story  This process is one which we would all wish would be more unconscious than it really is.

When an acceptance does come – and relief with it – the exact terms, conditions, and cost of your purchase of money may remain unquestioned.  This temporary abandonment of focus is as common as it is illogical.

In contrast, consider an unemotional purchase.  When you go to an appliance store to buy a refrigerator, you’ve probably already done research, cost comparison, and perhaps an assessment of the store.  You pay particular attention to the cost, features, warranty, even the efficiency.  Still, it is a simple transaction involving just the facts.  The purchase of the refrigerator is unemotional and does not overshadow the business transaction.

Keep your eye on the ball: focus on the immediate, the specific, and its importance.

And your head in the game…

The chemicals of emotion alter mind and body.  Personal experience determines what software program (state of mind) we use to process and respond to a particular situation.  An emotional response with its biochemical consequences in the brain can trigger an emotional state of mind geared more for survival than logic.

Money sometimes speaks to us just below the level of our conscious awareness:  as confidante, seducer, adversary, protector, or drug. It can serve as a tangible container for hope, freedom, ambition, love, or disappointment.  It can become a currency of caring, a symbol of success, a promissory note for happiness, or filler for a sagging sense of self.  Money is the one true metaphor that can stand for anything else.

We make money mistakes because we use money to accomplish non-financial goals.  We give money meaning.  We breathe life into it, give it emotional value, build relationship with it, and make it bigger than it is.

Keep your head in the game, and never forget The Cost of Money.