What is the best investment you can make in your life that is bound to give you only profits, never a loss?
The answer lies not in stocks, funds, or properties. But in investing in yourself.
By investing in yourself, you secure your future and make your present more relevant.
Investing in yourself requires a change in your mindset, and the way you spend your time on a day to day basis.
Investing in yourself is similar to investing in good stocks, which you keep sticking to every day, even in rough times. And just like them, it's never about gaining small profit in few days, but worth practicing for years to gain huge long-term benefits.
We always look forward to buy the latest gadgets, eat outside, get a new pair of clothes, or buy yet another luxury item.
But how often do we get as excited, to read a good book, polish our skills, and invest in our career.
We invest our time to entertain ourself, and to catch up with the outside world. But only few of us ever take the time to invest some of our energy, back into ourself.
If we can only realize that the best investment we can make in our life is not on any external object, but within ourself, we'll make better use of our time and won't make the wrong choices in our everyday life.
To invest in yourself, you have to make changes to how you spend your time and resources.
There are two ways to spend your time and resources. One is to spend them on things that add value to your life. And other is to spend on things that don't. And what option you choose from the two, decides what you become.
Whatever skills and knowledge you have right now is because of how you invested your time in past. And what skills and knowledge you'll have in future depends on how you invest your time now.
When you look at it this way, doesn't it make more sense to spend your time on things that help you grow in some way, either personally or professionally.
There are several ways in which you can invest in yourself. Let's see some of the ways in which we can invest our time that will make our life better than what it's today.
Reading books is perhaps the best, and also the cheapest, way you can invest in yourself. Reading good books creates a thought process in us, that if nurtured, can bring big revolutions within our mind, and subsequently in our life, too.
There is no problem in this world on which you won't find a book. Whether you are struggling with your career, your family, your self imposed limitations, or your personal life, there is a solution for everything in books.
Reading nourishes your mind and gives it a much needed exercise. That's why it's rightly said "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
And while we are talking about reading, you might like to read my post 'The Importance of Reading Books', which has been read more than 71,000 times, and remains one of my favorites.
Tip: Read books on variety of subjects. Don't read just for leisure, but to challenge the way you think and live your life. Read books by your favorite authors or of your favorite real-life heroes. In short, read just anything that helps you become a better person than you are right now.
Get Variety of Experiences
If reading books isn't your idea of learning, then another good way to learn more about life and yourself is to get a variety of experiences that challenge different aspects of your physical and mental body.
By limiting ourself to the same experiences every day, we keep a large portion of ourself unexplored. If you don't gain new experiences, how will you ever come up with new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Try doing things that you have never done before. Once you start challenging yourself with things that you took for granted, you start seeing them more clearly. Besides that, any experience that's new to our body or mind refreshes it and makes it more creative and energetic.
Tip: Try different foods. Take different routes to your office. Try talking to strangers and people, whom you might never talk to otherwise. Use your other hand to brush your teeth, or to eat your food.
Learn New Skills
With new technologies coming up every day, it's easy to become obsolete and slow your growth. To stay up to date with the world, we need to learn new skills from time to time. This way we can continue to stay relevant as the world around us changes.
Sometimes, it's good to learn a skill that's totally unrelated to the ones that you are already good at. Since different skills sharpen different areas of your brain, it helps you grow mentally in every aspect.
Also, there is no age to learning any new skill. Just pick up a skill that you always wanted to learn and start making small progress everyday. Sometimes, to gain deeper understanding, it's best not to hurry, and let learning take it's own time.
Tip: If you are good at programming, maybe you should learn to draw, as it may enhance your visual and imagination skills. If you are good at business skills, maybe you should learn a technical skill, as it may make you see the technical side of things, and help you make more informed business decisions. If you are good at writing, maybe you should learn marketing, as it may help you in selling your art. You get the point.
Travel New Places
In his book "Made in Japan", Akio Morita, Co-founder of Sony, tells how travelling is a great way to learn new things. And I found them to be true in my case, too.
Travelling is not exactly like it looks on TV or in books. When you travel to new places, you come across different people and situations that you don't do in your normal life. You can only learn and understand about people from different culture, by actually living with them, in conditions in which they live, by eating the food that they eat, and by listening to the language that they talk in.
When you learn more about different cultures, it makes you realize what makes your own culture unique and special. And then you can choose the best of all cultures that you know about, and integrate them in your own life.
By travelling, I learned how similar we are to each other, only separated by the language and the culture that we grow in. Travelling opens a mindset in you that makes you realize that there is a world beyond your country and culture, too. And this also makes you think globally about your work and art.
Tip: When you decide to travel to a new place, choose one that has a different culture than your's. This helps you gain new understanding about how people from different culture live and think.
This post will be incomplete if I don't mention meditation in it. Meditation is the inquiry into the self, and perhaps the best way to learn, in depth, about your true nature. And it's as scientific a process to understand yourself, as any other that I know of.
By meditating, you can understand more about your mind, the nature of your thoughts, the nature of your feelings. And by understanding them in greater detail, you can solve every problem in your life, whether personal or professional.
For best results, meditate every day and make it a part of your life. Every minute that you spend meditating will bring you closer towards your true self.
Tip: Buy some good books on meditation, or try to learn it from any experienced meditator. You can simply start by meditating five minutes every day, and then increase your time gradually.
This is not an exclusive or a complete list, but just something that I've learned from my own life experiences. Your list might be completely different from mine.
And unlike investment in stocks and bonds, investing in yourself doesn't have to be a boring process. You can actually have a great time while doing the above activities, and as a side affect you'll also end up learning something new.
The main takeaway from this post is to understand the reason for investing in yourself, and some of the common ways to do so.
When you invest in yourself to become a better person, you also start making everything else around you better. Thus your investment not just brings changes in your life, but also in everyone else's life around you.
Thanks a lot for reading this. If you found something useful in this post, then please share it with others.
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