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New Year’s Resolution — Keep Your Eye on the Ball (Nothing Else Matters!)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

When I played college football as a defensive back (a long time ago), I was taught to always focus on the receiver that I was covering. Thus, frivolous actions by the quarterback, opponents in motion just prior to the play, legal or illegal shifts of offensive players, loud bands, screaming cheerleaders, and rowdy fans were all irrelevant to me. I just focused on the offensive receiver and all would be well.

And speaking of maintaining your concentration, it seems this very same mentality is being played out around the world as we enter the New Year.

The financial mayhem that is currently engulfing Turkey is certainly having an effect on the day-to-day lives of Turkish citizens. An Egyptian verbal war, daily harangues by Syria, and the deterioration of an Iranian armistice continue to hang heavy over the common folk of Turkey. However, as long as the Turkish stock markets remain stable, supposedly all will be well — and all the efforts must be directed for the benefit of the financial markets.

In Thailand, a replication of the “Asian Contagion” of the late 1990s seems to be in order. A currency devaluation, which is theoretically beneficial to exports, continues to impact local businesses and savers. In addition, unemployment, starvation, and political instability are once again coming to the fore. Nevertheless, it would appear that if the stock market could just be stabilized, all would be well.

As we enter 2014, the U.S. definitely maintains its share of problems. Specifically, the increasing number of food stamp recipients, a million-plus individuals scheduled to imminently lose their emergency unemployment benefits, companies formulating plans to lay off more workers, minimum wage employment continuing to be the job du jour, and real healthcare becoming a thing of the past. On the other hand, consumer confidence is allegedly on the rise as both Democrats and Republicans recently staged a “kumbaya moment” and agreed to go deeper into debt, keeping the government steam train running on the tracks with no impending interruption. Our military is once again at full throttle as the “sequester” becomes a footnote for the history books, and it will only be a matter of time before Africa is recognized as the new Middle East as world powers acknowledge the newfound energy playground.

No matter how you view any of this, it’s all irrelevant, it’s just trivial noise — much like the perplexing bodily gyrations of a Peyton Manning-like quarterback standing at the line of scrimmage moments before the football is snapped.

Ladies and gentlemen, focus on your target. Your day-to-day importance is completely irrelevant. As long as the Dow Jones continues to rise, everything else is totally inconsequential. Indeed, the familiar mantra of “benefitting a few at the expense of many” continues around the world as we enter 2014. I wish it wasn’t so, but alas!

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

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