Investing in You
Investing in yourself may be the most profitable thing you ever do. It benefits you in the future and in the moment. The time and effort you put into yourself will play a huge role in the quality of life that you live. Invest in yourself with a mindset that you are willing to fail. Willing to fail means that you are willing to take risks, to try things and if they don't turn out the way you wanted, that you're willing to learn from them and try again. What you do today impacts who you will be tomorrow and the day after that, where you will be in 1, 5 or 25 years depends on what you do with your time.
The pursuit of being the best you that you can be is an incredibly fulfilling one. It means that you took responsibility for your own life and pursued your own potential. This doesn't mean you'll be perfect, but you will become more than what you were in that pursuit. This isn't just about investing in yourself for your career either, this is a general philosophy that applies to every realm of your life from personal relationships to your own mental health.
To be clear this doesn't mean that there should be no time for leisure and that if you're not investing in yourself that you are wasting time. Rather, leisure could be considered a valuable component of your life, something that lets you relax and recharge so you can pursue what you want in life.
Here are a few things you can more specifically focus on investing in yourself:
Invest in your self-confidence
Believe in yourself, it will take you places. Confidence in yourself will make you act on a good business idea, give you courage to leave a dysfunctional relationship and so much more.
Learn to have the courage to speak your truth. Have confidence in your abilities and that they are only growing stronger. Value your own decisions in a way you would someone else's. The more you do this the more comfortable you will be in making decisions that impact your life.
Invest in your knowledge
The more we learn, the more we know, the more likely we will make better decisions in the future.
Educating yourself on a breadth of things will empower you with knowledge that will make you and others become better. You don't need to get a degree or even a certificate to do this. There has never been a point in human history where so much information is available to the public for free online. Similarly reading books offers you so much between the covers. Writing is yet another amazing avenue to enhance your knowledge as writing makes you formulate the ideas in a more complex way so that you can understand them and put them on paper/computer. Podcasts are perhaps one of the greatest innovations of the past decades, not because the technology is that complex, but rather because it now gives us the ability to do mundane tasks like washing the dishes or mowing the lawn and listen to something that will make us smarter. Add up all those mundane hours in a week and there is incredible opportunity to enhance your knowledge.
Invest in your health
There is no goal in life that isn't impacted by our mental and physical health. You want to become smart, you want play sports, you want to raise a family, you want to earn a lot of money, every single one of those is enhanced when your health improves.
Every day we have a chance to either build or break our health. Eating nutritious food, getting adequate sleep and exercising are the basics and those go so far in the prevention of disease, increased life span, better mood, better cognitive processing and better energy just to name a few.
Invest in your finances
The more financially independent and secure you are leads to more opportunity in life. Being financially secure allows considerations like going back to school, having another kid, more holiday time, retiring early and so on and so forth.
This is why planning and management of your finances is so key as it only takes a few small percentage points improvement on your management of finances to make a huge difference. Let's consider these examples:
- Bob and Steve are both 25, work the exact same job and get paid the exact same of $40,000 a year and used to have the same expenses every year for food, shelter and clothing of $30,000. Steve spent time online learning how to manage his finances and discovered that for him if he did a portion of his grocery shopping at a bulk store that he could save $2,000 per year. With those savings he spent $500 more on entertainment and put the remaining $1500 in a 2% low-interest savings account. In 40 years when they both retire Steve will have an additional $93,915 than Bob and $32,415 of that would be interest earned.
- Karen and Jill are both 20, work the exact same job and get paid the exact same $50,000 a year. Jill starts saving at 20 and invests $5,000 every year in a basic investment that yields 4% annually on average. Karen doesn't start saving till 30 where she puts in $7,000 every year in a basic investment that also yields 4% annually on average. Jill will have an investment total at 65 years of age of $634,352. $230,000 of that will be principle investment ($5,000 every year) and $404,352 of that will be gains from the investment. Karen will have an investment total at 65 years of age of $543,188. $252,000 of that will be principle investment ($7,000 every year) and $291,188 of that will be gains from the investment. As you can see from this example the fact that Jill started saving earlier allowed the yield of her investments to add up over time to a point that she had more money saved than Karen despite putting in a smaller principle amount.
As most in the financial industry will tell you, building wealth is a process of small smart decisions that add up over time to result in significant long term gains.
Another investment piece of wisdom is to always pay yourself first. This means that with every pay cheque you earn you should take a portion of that money and set it aside and invest it for future you. Retired future you will be paid by the decisions current you makes. So before you go spending a pay cheque on entertainment and other non-necessities it is wise to pay yourself first.
Invest in your relationships
One of the most valuable things in our lives is our relationships with family, friends and peers. We are social creatures that thrive on healthy personal relationships. Everyone has different needs when it comes to relationships and understanding and fostering yours will have a dramatic impact on your life. These relationships don't have the same type of cost and benefit appearance as say a finance one, but that doesn't make them less valuable.
The benefits from building our relationships can be measured and seen over their lifetime value. The more they grow, the deeper the relationship, the more value they will have and more valuable benefits you will realize.
Develop your skills
Developing your skill set doesn't require you to go to university, though that is surely a valuable option depending on your goals. You can improve upon your skills by investing your time, attention and and sometimes money into different areas of value. This doesn't need to be limited to the career field you will pursue, though again that would be valuable. Developing a skill can range from learning a technique for handling stress better all the way to learning to perform surgery. The greater your skill set and more refined your skill set the more you have to offer of value and therefore the more you will be able to command that value in the future. Here are a list of ideas for improving your skill sets:
- Advance your education – in whatever form this takes if it provides value to you. Education ranges from free online courses to advanced PHD programs at universities.
- Take advantage of training – enroll in workshops, attend conferences or participate in webinars.
- Seek to expand your knowledge – Read books, articles, YouTube, podcasts and more all offer access to knowledge on the topics of value to you.
- Talk and share - one of the best ways we can develop or enhance our skills is by sharing them with others, in doing so we'll probably be surprised at how much we learn, but also gives us the chance to hone what we knew prior.
- Build relationships - with those who are like-minded or pursuing the same things, not only will this benefit you from a networking perspective but it will increase your access to information and opportunity for skill development.
- Explore your creativity - keeps your mind sharp and engaged
When you invest properly in yourself it truly makes a difference in your life, your well-being, and your ability to thrive and do your best in the world. Your future and who future-you will be is largely determined by your willingness to invest in yourself today and everyday after.