Investing In Yourself
A couple of months ago in a guest post for Cash Money Life I spoke about investing in yourself as your best asset (in agreement to Patrick). If you have not realized yet that you are your greatest asset and are still hunting for the big money in forex, maybe you’ll prefer to skip reading further.
Photo by Melody Campbell at Flickr
If you are still here, you may want to dig further what investing in yourself is all about. While seen in general it all comes to personal development, let’s distinguish a few main directions.
Investing In Your Formal Education
Some people understand investing in yourself only as investing in formal education. Depending on the route you choose in your life, it may be very important or has no importance at all. In any case I think seeing formal education as your only internal asset is remarkably stupid. But what could you expect from people who spend all their life chasing for diplomas and papers which to prove their personal value?
Neglecting formal education totally is not a good idea either especially if you prefer to earn your income as an employee or some kind of licensed service provider. In this case the relationship between getting a better degree and receiving higher income is almost proportional. So if you wonder what to spend few thousands bucks on and you are happy as an employee, probably the best idea is to do it on some additional degree or license.
In some professions getting a PhD may be one of the best investments to make – for example if you work in some research and development department PhD can help you obtain much better perceived value.
The key is to know if getting a formal degree is going to help you or not. Most people don’t make the difference and put too much emphasize on it. But how useful the degree is for most entrepreneurs?
Investing In Your Informal Education
Most entrepreneurs and almost all other people as well can benefit a lot more by getting informal education. It’s not the papers that make you successful and professional – it’s what you really know and can do. Even if you are just an employee, knowing more about your job helps you become much better in it. This gives you the chance to get a raise or move to a company that pays better.
The real world skills are the most valuable asset of the self-employed professionals and independent consultants too (ok, maybe after their reputation). If you are getting paid per project or service, the quality you deliver is directly tied to your income.
Some entrepreneurs may not work directly on their business (if they really own a business and the business doesn’t own them), but they still can benefit a lot by educating themselves about the business specifics.
Besides the professional skills that you want to acquire, there are some universal ones which help almost everyone to raise the value of their informal education. Such skills are communication (speaking, negotiating etc.), writing, basic math, business skills etc. So if you wonder if it’s a good idea to attend a business education, most probably it is – provided that the education is good of course.
Investing In Your Personal Development
While formal and informal education are also part of your personal development, you may want to pay special attention to learning and training skills that are not directly related to work, business and money. They are more about developing your inner self as a person and more conscious human being and exactly they are the main skills that make some people live fulfilling (and often wealthy) life.
- Self discipline. Do you imagine a soldier and military order when you read this? If yes, you are on the wrong way. Self discipline doesn’t mean to put your life on rails and have no fun. It simply means to have the power to follow the route you have chosen regardless the obstacles. For example if you want to adopt a new habit, you’ll have to fight the resistance in yourself and the people around you and still walk your way. Imagine you decide going to the gym every day – you’ll come across the resistance of your own body (laziness, tiredness) and maybe of many of your friends who will invite you to drink beer instead of going to the gym. Self discipline is to be able to say no and follow the path you have choosen.
- Courage. The lack of courage is what keeps so many people poor and unhappy. And yet they prefer to keep their current level of poverty and unhappiness than to take the risk and try to improve their life and financial situation. You probably have seen and maybe experienced this yourself – people go to job they hate and receive a salary that is not enough for their needs just because of the fear to try something better. (Of course you can fail while trying, but very often failure is the first and most important step of the success). Courage means to be able to take reasonable risks instead of just talking about them. You’ll barely meet any wealthy people without courage (except those who inherited their wealth or won the lottery).
- Health. Do you neglect your health just because it’s not a skill and not so obvious connected to your financial prosperity? Do you prefer working long hours for external resources (money) while putting your health at serious risks? The odds are not in your favor. Being in good health is not only important to be happy, it’s also directly connected to earning money. So taking care for your physical and mental health turns out to be one of the best long term investments in yourself that you can do.
Now think how much time and efforts do you spend in building external resources and don’t you sacrifice some internal resources because of that – like health or intelligence that you lose by doing a boring well paid job. Maybe you need to reconsider your priorities?