Knowledge vs Emotion

by | Oct 21, 2015 | 2 comments

My dad has been a Miami Dolphins fan since the franchise started fifty years ago.  As a kid in South Florida, it was the only professional sports team that was around when he was growing up. He’s been a fan through the glory years, including the Perfect Season, as well as the low years, which have been more frequent lately. Needless to say, I grew up in a Dolphin household that bled aqua and orange.

When Joe Philbin was fired a few weeks ago from the head coaching position for the Miami Dolphins after a lousy start to the season, there was speculation as to who would step in for the rest of the season.  Enter Dan Campbell. The six foot five young and fiery tight end coach.  With two weeks to get the team back into shape, Campbell had a tough road ahead of him.  He needed to get the players working as a team. He had to bring the emotion back into the game.  And most importantly, he needed to get the players to believe in themselves again – that they had a fighting chance in the season.

And what a comeback in Week Six.  The Dolphins looked like a completely different team. They were focused. The defense worked together to produce six sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown.  You could see the excitement and smiles from the team and staff on and off the field.  A renewed focus drove this newly energized team to beat the Tennessee Titans 38-10.

So what does this football example have to do with personal finance?

My dad and I were discussing the game via text message.  In one of his messages my dad observed that the Dolphins had been stifled by a cerebral coach (Philbin) who had kept his nose buried in the chalkboard, the theories, the plays.  Campbell knew the team had the knowledge; what they were missing was the fire and the motivation.

The same goes for getting out of debt.  We all know how we got into debt. We all know how we need to get out of debt: make a plan to pay more on the debt by spending less on our monthly budgets or increasing our incomes. It’s that simple.  Trying to be a Philbin wasting time with analysis paralysis and constantly researching new and “creative” ways to get out of debt gets us right back to the basics of spending less and/or earning more. Being like Campbell, we recognize that we have all the knowledge we need – it’s executing the plan with emotion and the big Why that gets results.

When your Why to get out of debt becomes a such a big and powerful force in your life, the motivation and emotion will overtake all of the head knowledge and will keep your momentum and drive to reach your goal. Being fired up to pay off debt will cause you to become more motivated to make it happen faster. Staying focused on your Why will keep you from wanting to give up, like when an unexpected expense or life event causes a temporary setback.

So my question to you is: will you choose to be a Philbin or a Campbell?  Will you allow the need for more facts, more evidence, more options stand in the way of paying off debt and winning in your financial life? Or will you allow your Why that drives you with motivation and emotion push you across the goal line?