“Do something today that your future self will thank you for” – Unknown
I am a firm believer that everyone in the world wants to be happy. Regardless of what it is that truly brings us joy and pleasure, we all strive to continually experience these feelings every day and without end. For some, this can be life’s whole purpose, while others may see it as simply a reward given after achieving success.
Happiness, to most, can be achieved by doing what we love every day. It can be spending time with the family, eating our favorite junk foods, drinking beers with our friends, or having non-stop sex for days and days. Not that the last one is something that anyone could achieve without pulling a muscle or having a hemorrhage, but if someone could, I would gladly fist bump to their happiness (no handshakes please).
None of these, however, are the most universal thing that almost everyone wants. But, here’s a hint: it’s green, dirty, and has a bunch of dead people on it.
Money. Money, in my eyes, equals freedom. Freedom to have the things you want and go the places you want to go. Freedom to do whatever it is your heart desires and not worry about how much you’ve spent or get yelled at by the app that manages your budget.
So how do we obtain these amenities in life? Happiness, freedom, good times, and sex.
Pardon me sir, but do you mean like investing money in the stock market? Putting our money with some goofy salesman who promises our money will grow exponentially over the next few years, but we’ll never actually see the money until we retire?
Negative. I’m talking about investing in ourselves.
Investing in ourselves is the most important investments we can make. In investing time or money into growing ourselves to be a better person, we open our world to achieving all those amenities we want in life. I feel (and I think this is a quote although I cannot locate who said it) that the reason we haven’t achieved the things we want in life is because we are not the person we need to be yet. So, it’s obvious what we need to do: invest in ourselves.
Here are a few steps we can take:
Discover our strengths
To invest in ourselves properly, we first need to discover what it is were good at. Some of us might be great in a classroom setting – learning from a teacher and a slideshow – while others might be better at simply attempting a task and learning as they go. We might already have a solid foundation of skills, a knack for motivating ourselves, or perfect control over our emotions.
Finding what it is that makes us special makes it easier to determine the best way for us to grow. These strengths become our tools for investing and building ourselves into who we want to be.
Learn our weaknesses
Knowing our weakness or where we struggle can be an early indicator of how we should invest in ourselves. In fact, our weakest areas of the ideal areas we should improve.
Often, our weaknesses are what we are afraid to address the most. That is because improving a weakness is done by practicing or working at it, which can be frightening when it’s not something we excel at.
Approach your weaknesses like a baby approaches walking. Babies don’t just fail at walking and think “Aw man, this walking thing really isn’t for me”. They keep at it without realizing they’ve failed and, thus, succeed.
Find a group of others investing in themselves
Like I said, investing in ourselves can be scary. It can be difficult when we don’t see early progress or notice ourselves growing, even though we are.
Finding a group of peers who are interested in investing in themselves or improving on the same weakness as us can be critical in making sure we see our goal out to the end. Ensure this group is motivated, as equally hilarious as us, and extremely fun to be around. Investing in ourselves is supposed to be enjoyable, after all, and not something we should look at as a chore.
Push our limits and beliefs
Investing in ourselves is a lot like setting goals: we see the person we want to be and do whatever it takes to make ourselves become that person. For this reason, it’s important that we don’t shelter ourselves and limit who it is we think we can be.
Stephen McCranie once said “The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried”. All this means is that anyone could be a master with enough hard work, confidence, and perseverance. So, we can’t act like certain accomplishments or successes just aren’t for us. In fact, the areas that make us most uncomfortable are the areas where we should try and succeed the most. What have we got to lose?
Invest as much time and money as possible
This one is by far the most important and is often the hardest to follow. Investing in ourselves with books, podcasts, or practice is easy to do at a leisurely pace, but those who achieve the most in their lives are those who not only spend the most time investing, but also those who put forth the money.
That’s not to say that anything purchased needs to be expensive. Most classes or tutors that can help us grow aren’t very expensive at all, but just the thought of putting forth our hard-earned cash can be scary.
In truth, there is no limit to the amount of money or time we should spend investing in ourselves. An investment, if we believe in it enough, implies that this effort will eventually pay off in the end. And whether that pay-off is in more money, new experiences, or simply having the world see us in a different light, any positive change we can bring about to ourselves is entirely worth it.
Our future is built on what we are doing and who we are becoming in the present moment. Nothing changes unless we do. So, before we go about dreaming how our future might look, let’s make sure that we are becoming the person that we’ll be living out those dreams.