That time of year has arrived. This weekend, the world’s best golfers will take to the links at San Francisco’s Olympic Club and attempt to grind out a U.S. Open victory in what is supposed to be the most difficult tournament of the year.
I definitely encourage you to tune in, because while I enjoy watching the game of golf, I’ve also always been of the opinion that it is a game that can provide us with many life lessons. Lessons like: how to deal with frustration, the importance of putting your mistakes behind you and focusing on the present, and the value of consistency. Interestingly enough, much of what golf teaches us can almost be applied directly to the task of managing our credit.
Like golf, our credit can be a frustrating mystery. We often don’t know what’s going wrong, or why we aren’t doing better. In both instances, it is vital that we don’t let the frustration get the better of us. We must not give up, but instead develop the drive to get better, which we achieve by acquiring knowledge and then practicing what we have learned. Now I can’t guarantee you’ll take strokes off of your handicap with the priceless golf insight I’ve just bestowed upon you, but I can guarantee that if you take the time to educate yourself on your credit and figure out where your problems lie, you will find yourself comforted with the knowledge that you can master your credit and accomplish your personal and financial goals.
Focusing on the present is where the comparison between golf and credit gets a little dicey. With golf, you definitely need to put your mistakes behind you. With your credit however, you should definitely keep an eye out for mistakes or discrepancies on your credit report, and dispute them ASAP. Assuming nobody else has screwed up your credit report however, it is important to focus on your present situation and what you can do to better your future outlook. Don’t allow your previous credit slip ups to deter you from building for the future.
While the golf analogy got dicey when it came to forgetting the past, it really is spot on when it comes to the value of consistency. Lenders love predictability probably more than anything in the world, so it is important to keep that in mind when building your credit.
Now let’s take a closer look at this upcoming US Open and how it compares to the world of credit. Like the deep, thick rough, inescapable bunkers, and all too inviting water hazards at the Olympic Club, credit management can seem way too daunting for many people. Both the golfers and you as a future credit master need to remember two things.
First of all, many people are in the same situation as you, same market conditions, same economy, and the same lenders and creditors to deal with. This means that making excuses will do you no good, because very few people are going to feel sorry for you. However, it also means that you should not be afraid. Others like you are currently enjoying great credit, and you have as much of a chance as anybody to do great things with your credit.
Secondly, it is important to focus less on your score and more on what makes up your score. A golfer won’t do himself any good if he keeps staring at his score and forgets to focus on his putting stroke. This is the same for you. If your credit score is not where you want it, or even if it is, you still have to focus on doing the right things, and your score will eventually take care of itself.
So go out there and attack the course and your credit with confidence. Know that you won’t hit every fairway or sink every putt, but if you keep yourself focused on the little things you need to do, the achievement of your goals awaits.