Stay on your own track with blinders up

Stay on your own track with blinders up

There is an age-old phrase: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

A lot of celebrities have been credited with saying it, but the first time I remember reading it was in a Reader’s Digest as a kid and Will Smith was credited with it. I was just a kid, and as a kid, you would think, “Why would people (adults) do this? It doesn’t make any sense.” Then I am where I am, and it does make complete sense now. It can be something as trivial as going over to someone’s house and their fridge is better than ours, so now we want one as big, or as riding in a friend’s car and realizing how much lower our car is on the totem pole.

It is a game we play, and it gets worse as we get older. A pastor had recently said, “You think peer pressure is tough when you are 15. It gets so much harder when you’re 40.”

That’s true. It’s just in different things as you get older. There is a small trick to helping this, and it can come back to our community. Everybody reading this has either seen a buggy or rode in one in the past. (I have done both, but I wasn’t a fan of the horse’s sweat flying off on me.)

When you see a buggy, the horse has blinders on its eyes to turn off their vision from the left or right and just keep looking forward. This keeps it on track and helps it to not have the chance to be scared when or if a car passes it.

I think you can see where the analogy is going here now — we must keep our financial blinders up. It is so easy to see what other people are doing, buying or investing in and get distracted from our goals, work or the track we need to be on. It can be applied to anything. For example, I have a friend who owns a contracting company, and we were talking about single stocks. Single stocks are so attractive because we can constantly check them to see if they are increasing in value or decreasing in value. He was talking about this, and he came to the realization that it was affecting his work.

He told me he was quoting a job for a customer, but checking the stocks were distracting him and detracting from his job. His friends and family dabbled in single stocks and did great, but he came to the realization that he’s done with single stocks because he didn’t want his work to suffer from it.

Along with blinders, as a man it is great to see friends get promotions and start successful businesses, but it stinks when nothing is happening in your own life — when cars are passing the horse and people in your life are the cars and you’re the horse. That’s why blinders are important because we can’t get scared by other people’s financial success. We must carve out our own track, our own successes.

Insecurity in this will lead to the first quote mentioned because even if we do like the people that we are buying this “stuff” for, it is empty because we are scared by their success, trying to follow their lead and not our own path.

Keep the blinders up to other possessions. Congratulate people on their success but never try to follow their path because, like a horse pulling a buggy, they rarely get scared by seemingly thousands of cars that pass them, so you shouldn’t either.

Holmes County native BJ Yoder is an insurance agent by day and a finance enthusiast by night. This column is for informational purposes only. He can be emailed at

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