Underdogs Win Too!

Just about everyone loves a good comeback story or a feel good story. We love the drama. We tend to get energized when we hear about a person or a team that was outmatched, undersized, or even counted out, pull off a surprising victory. Psychologists say, “We often associate ourselves with the underdog because sometimes it is difficult to identify with the winner since we don’t win all of the time. The truth is a lot of people consider themselves underdogs so it’s easy to identify with a team we see as being an underdog [1].” But if you look closely at underdogs that win, you see a consistent theme; they don’t beat themselves and they are very opportunistic. In other words, you could say underdogs that win are good stewards of the situation.

The same truth applies to underdogs that win with money. This is good news; it means if you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or you don’t have a rich family member that is grooming you to take over the family business, you can still win with money! You may have an uphill battle to fight, but it can be done. But we don’t have time to waste. We have to turn things around right now. We have to stop beating ourselves and cease making decisions that are moving us away from our goal of becoming financially free. To do that, first, we have to avoid debt. Avoid it all cost; especially credit card debt. I know credit card companies try to tempt us with reward points or bonus miles, but it simple is not worth the risk. All it takes is one missed payment, and you can reap the whirlwind of months of unpaid back interest that puts you further in debt and moves you further away from winning. We also have to avoid the urge to go invest in the “hottest stock”, or try to get in on the latest craze, or buy into the latest “investment product”. Don’t get distracted and keep your eye on the goal. Those are money traps and I’m going to tell you why. Often the product or business model being pitched is oversimplified or, just as worst on the opposite side of the spectrum, are really complex and confusing. These ventures can have hidden or complicated fee structures that lead investors to misguided expectations. Hard pass. If you hear things like, “this is a revolutionary new product” or “act now on this special offer”, you should immediately be alarmed. You don’t need the latest gimmick to win. Millions of people were winning before the latest gimmick and millions of people will win after the next gimmick. But winning always comes at a cost. One of the things it will cost you is discipline (No. That is not a cuss word! It’s in the bible!). If you discipline yourself to stop burying yourself in the hole of debt, focus on paying off your creditors, and commit to saving; you will win! How do I know? Because the Word of God says so! What? You don’t believe it? Are you calling God a liar?

Underdogs that win are usually extremely opportunistic. Let’s take football for example. If the favored team suddenly fumbles or misses a key opportunity to score, the underdog, more often than not, will take advantage of that mishap and use it to their advantage. Now, let me tell you how that relates to money. There are times when opportunities will come, but if you aren’t prepared to take advantage of them, move with wisdom, and steward the opportunity well, you will miss out. An opportunity may come in the form of a chance to earn extra money for paying off your debt or increasing your savings. Or it may come about as a chance to reduce unnecessary or frivolous spending. I don’t know what your chance, or chances, will look like because I’m not the God. But they will come. But those opportunities don’t mean anything if you don’t recognize them and act. That’s on you. God will create opportunities. God will prepare you. But God will NOT act for you! He will require you to move (in faith) and actually participate. And the value you get out of the opportunity, many times depends on your stewardship of the opportunity. Testimony time. Years ago, when we had a lot of debt, an opportunity to take a second job presented itself. This second job didn’t pay much and really didn’t seem to help us make much progress toward our goal of being debt free. But I tried to be a good steward of the opportunity and didn’t discount the small job (even though it came with a small check). But, after about 6 months, my stewardship was rewarded. That job led to a second job that paid almost 5 times more! It was as if God was using that first job as a gateway to the second, higher paying job. He created the opportunity. He prepared me. But He didn’t walk the path for me.

Underdogs can win with money in the real world, but it’s probably not going to just happen if all we do is pray about it. I have noticed, in my own life, God has used the process of struggle to develop resilience and hone our stewardship skills to transform our [financial] character. He permitted us to struggle to remind us there are consequences for our actions while, at the same time, making us better steward which grows our capacity for increase. After all, how can we be trusted with more if we are poor stewards over the few he has already given us? (See Matt. 25:14-40). So things must change. We must change. For an underdog to overcome the odds and take down the giant, they can’t hinder their progress by getting distracted, and they can’t afford to miss the God-given moments. Is it easy? No. But the real question is, “are we willing to get it?” I trust God will do His part, but we have to be willing to do our part. The choice is yours. God Bless.

[1] https://www.bcm.edu/news/psychiatry-and-behavior/why-we-root-for-underdog

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