Posted in Human Behavior

The Cumulative And Damning Effect Of Upsets - By L. Burke Files

President of Financial Examinations & Evaluations, Inc.


So what is an upset? An upset is a failed objective or a thwarted intention. It is so simple yet so many wander from upset to upset and never even know it. Most upsets are an issue of poor communication by both the transmitter as well as the receiver. While most upsets can be avoided by good and open communication, we often fail to either fully engage - gaps in meaning and logic will be filled by either the transmitter or receiver. These gaps are filled with assumptions to make a clearer meaning out of a communication. The mis-results can be truly mind numbing… but, I wander with my point.


A fine man, a Doctor of Medicine, Psychology and a Chaplain, developed an exercise called the Gold Ball Exercise as it uses golf balls to emphasize a point of internalizing and retaining your upsets. Harley Broviack not only had two doctorates, an MD, as well as a Ph.D. in Psychology, but he was a Police Chaplin.  The point of the golf balls is that little upsets are cumulatively toxic unless you figure out a mechanism to address the psychological injury / upset.


So try this: Relate all of the upsets you have had in the last day, week or month. Now collect some golf balls and for little upsets give yourself 1 golf ball; for major upsets, give yourself 5 golf balls. After a month – how many golf balls are you holding?


Repeated injury and stressors related to the injury (from others) cause a person to slowly withdraw from life. In time, these cumulative upset will prevent a person from functioning on anything but a very low level.  (How do you function with your arms full of golf balls?)


We all face an inordinate number of stressors and must have a mechanism to deal with them.  If we do not, we eventually explode. I believe this to be the case when a police officer beats up on a kid for skateboarding. I see this as he is metaphorical dropping all of his stressors (or the golf balls) on the skateboarder - all of the upsets come pouring fourth. It is clear to all, the officer is no longer functioning at a high level. Of course, some people have more than others, some are more sensitive and others more robust, but we all collect them.


The Power Of Interpersonal Relationships: It may be innate or it may be more calculating, but sometimes we get hit in our sensitive areas.


The more time we spend with people, the more those people can sense our weak spots, spots where we react disproportionate to the upset. Employers, co-workers, and spouses can be uniquely sensitive to those areas. A comment from someone who is close to you can cause a disproportionately larger upset in your relationship. Also it is not a question of if this will happen, but how many times will this happen?


So - in short the golf balls represent these upsets – minor and major - and how you can get rid of the burden of the golf balls!


Forgiveness: You are not condoning what was done, excusing it, forgetting it, or even pardoning the action. Your forgiveness is about you discharging your burden of the upsets.


Mr. Files is a published author of five books, in particular "Due Diligence for the Financial Professional, 2nd edition 2010" and "Money and Budgets." Other writing and material can be found at  Mr. Files is an international speaker on these topics. 


FE&E, Inc. is an international investigative firm specializing in fraud prevention, asset recovery, due diligence, anti-money laundering and intellectual property. 


As a financial industry insider for over 30 years, he is keenly aware of the type, and accuracy of the information required to make decisions. Mr. Files has been the case manager on fraud investigations ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to over $3 billion.   As an international expert on due diligence and Intellectual Property and Critical Information (IPCI), he is regularly sought for those cases that bedevil the desktop practitioners. 


This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit