Good Cents Financial Coaching

Navigating from stress to financial success

How to Be a Winner (Even with a Penalty Stroke)

Dustin Johnson holds the trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club on Sunday, June 19, 2016, in Oakmont, Pa. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Dustin Johnson holds the trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club on Sunday, June 19, 2016, in Oakmont, Pa. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Did you watch the U.S. Open yesterday?  If not, let me give you a quick summary.  Dustin Johnson, an elite professional golfer who had yet to win a major despite coming very close a few times, was leading the tournament.  A rules official approached him on the 12th hole to tell him he might be assessed a penalty stroke for something he may or may not have done on a putting green on the front nine.  But, they would talk about it and make a final decision after he completed his round.  Say what? Are you kidding me? So, for the rest of the round Dustin doesn’t know what his score really is. For most of that time he only had a one or two shot lead (assuming no penalty stoke) so this penalty/no penalty thing was a big deal.  I don’t know about you, but this would have really messed with my head if I was Dustin.  But, here’s the cool part.  He didn’t let it get to him.  The penalty thing wasn’t in his control; how he played the rest of the holes was.  And he played them well, playing the last hole almost to perfection with a birdie to end the day with a four stroke lead.  It turned out to be a three stroke lead after the rules officials decided to assess the penalty, but who cares?  He will always and forever be the 2016 U.S. Open champion.

So why I am telling you about this on a financial coaching blog?  Because when it comes to our personal finances, it is easy to blame all kinds of external factors for our situation – tax codes, health care costs, minimum wage, inflation, interest rates, the job market, the list goes on and on.  But complaining and worrying about those factors are a waste of time and they just mess with your head.  Those things are not in our control.  So, stop it!  Get control of what you can control – your budget, your spending, your saving, your work ethic.  If you take care of what is in your control, those external factors aren’t going to matter so much.  Even if you are assessed a penalty, you’ll still be a winner.

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