The greatest investments you’ll ever make

Eight ways to invest in yourself.

Living a meaningful and well-lived life requires focus. It also requires you to invest in yourself.

If you have goals and aspirations you will need to develop the ability to focus intently on one and then refocus to another.

Multitasking is a fallacy. Instead aim to develop the skills to be multifocal. Focus on one task and once complete refocus to another.

To grow in life you have to invest in yourself and apply a multifocal approach. You also have to take a multi-pronged approach to individual investments. Focusing on one area can unbalance you.

Look at how unbalanced some gym addicts are. They are all about looking good and being healthy to the point of diminishing returns.

Worse still they become obsessive about health to a point where it’s unhealthy. Other parts of their lives are unneglected.

Or how unhealthy work obsessives are. Sitting in front of a computer for 14 hours a day takes its toll not only on the body but on the spirit. 

You have to tend to and monitor them like you would with a financial investment. Focus on one investment to a point where you’re in a good place and then refocus on another.

You’ll never be fully in balance but it’s about being aware and conscious of when one area of live is slipping over another. 

Here are seven ways you should invest in yourself

1. Invest in your health

Your body is one of your two greatest assets. It’s the vessel that carries you through life. It gives you the ability to run, jump, lift, walk, climb, fight, trek and many other pleasurable things.

The body begins to fade over time. The muscles become weaker, bones more brittle, joints less flexible, the endocrine system produces fewer hormones, neurons die out and cells stop dividing.

You can’t stop ageing from happening but you can fight it. Lift weights, move, eat well, fast and implement lifestyle habits to improve your longevity.

Take care of your skin, have your eyes checked, visit the dentist and get your blood work done twice a year.

Good health isn’t missed until it’s gone. It’s only when you injure your leg and can’t walk properly do you realise how important it is to you. 

Investing in your health can add ten years to your lifespan and maybe 20 years to your healthspan (the length of time in your life you are not ill).

2. Invest in your mindset

Your mindset is the operating system to your life.

It is one of the greatest assets you will own. 

With a powerful mindset, you can overcome difficult situations in life and achieve more than you ever would without one.

You can stay on track when the going gets tough and reframe a negative situation into a positive. 

Like the body, a powerful mindset develops over time. The human brain is not fixed. It has what brain scientists call ‘neuroplasticity’ which means that it can grow and change even as you get older.

Mindset is like a muscle. It needs to be worked for it to grow. That requires stimulus and sometimes pain in the form of cognitive dissonance.

It also requires awareness of when the ego is suffocating you from your genuine wants and desires and allows you to create new pathways in your brain.

Invest in your mindset and it can mean the difference between living a mediocre life and leading a full rich one. 

3. Invest in your personal presentation

We live in a visual and judgemental world which has only been amplified by social media. 

People like you more if you are good looking.

Personal presentation is a sign of self-esteem but, again, it’s about balance. Being overtly self-absorbed in what you look like is a sign of narcissism. 

Good health is key. Work on point 1 and that’s fifty percent covered.

Dress smartly for your age, get a haircut regularly and whiten your teeth.

You command more respect when you’re dressed in a well-fitted suit because a suit is perceived to be a sign of authority. The clothes you wear influence you and those around you

Classic fashion such as well-fitted suits, blazers, sweaters, shirts, trousers, dark jeans, brogues never go out of style. Stay away from fashion trends.  

Dress your age too. People laugh when 50-year-old men dress like they’re in their 20s. Aim to look good for your age rather than looking younger than you are. Trying to do the latter usually never works out. 

Invest in how you present yourself to the world and in turn see how the world reacts to you. 

4. Invest in your communication skills

Now social media is disrupting the modern world as we know it, there has never been a greater time to develop your communication skills than in the digital age. 

Invest in how to write and speak well. Do a podcast, learn nonverbal communication, how branding works and how to use influence and persuasion in communication.

Learn the technical side of communication like how to build a blog, develop a Twitter strategy, how to work with social media algorithms and grow your influence in social media.  

Invest in your communication skills to convey your message, persuade and sell. 

5. Invest in gaining knowledge and wisdom

In the Information age you have no excuse not to self-educate. In our connected world, you have more opportunities to learn than ever before. So does everyone else which means competition is tough. 

Mastery of at least one subject should be the goal but being a jack of all trades of others will help you too.

Each year you should be smarter and wiser than the previous year. Smarter because you’ve continued educating yourself. Wiser because you’ve tried new things and learnt from your mistakes.

Knowledge comes from educating yourself and wisdom comes from experiences. One will earn you a living and the other will earn you a life. Both are required today. 

Invest in gaining knowledge and wisdom and watch the returns come back tenfold.   

6. Invest in working for yourself

Working for yourself puts you in charge of your own destiny. Working for someone else means you’re subject to their needs and demands.

The latter is the easiest to do. All you have to do is show up and the worry keeping the cogs moving is someone else’s.

Setting up on your own in business is more of a risk but the awards are greater. Become a freelance consultant and trade your time and expertise.

Not only can the financial rewards be greater but you’ll have more freedom and that you can’t put a price on.

Invest in working for yourself for more freedom and control over your life. 

7. Invest in travel

It’s a cliche but travel broadens the mind. 

Better yet, travel alone to get further out of your comfort zone and experience new people, places and activities you otherwise may not have. 

Travel is an adventure but you don’t have to go to far off lands for an adventure. It can be in your own town, city or country. 

This year I plan to see more of the United Kingdom because despite being born and raised here there are lots of places I’ve yet to see. I want to go deep in my own country, its lands and history. 

For me, travel helps me interpret the world, history and allows me to appreciate what I have back home. I’ve often said, if you do it well enough the best part of travel is coming home. 

Invest in travel and adventure to have a rounded view of the world and your place in it. 

9. Invest in understanding other people

We live on one earth but there are billions of people in their own world. 

Understanding other people can not only help them but help you. 

One of the best books I’ve read on understanding human nature is Robert Greene’s The Laws of Human Nature which was six years in the making.

It’s quite dark in places (we all have a shadow side) but it will enlighten you to how people think and operate. Understand this and you’ll be able to look at situations more rationally with less emotion.

Understanding other people will allow you to identify character types, cognitive biases, emotions and many other things which make up the human condition in more detail. 

Invest in understanding other people to be able to move through life and help them help you

10. Invest your time wisely

A common phrase among people who realise the importance of time is, “you can always earn more money but you can never get the time back” and it is deadly true.

Treat time with the utmost importance. Time is precious and you should use it wisely to invest in yourself. That includes who you spend your time with and the activities you involve yourself with.

If each day is a routine of monotony then you are not investing your time wisely. If you look back on the previous 12 months and nothing has changed you’ve wasted it. You’ve poured time down the drain.

I outline how to slow down time as you get older in this article. 

Invest the finite time you have on this planet doing meaningful activities and pursuits with people you love. 

Investing in yourself is the greatest investment you will ever make.

It comes in many forms and like all good investments, the payoff won’t be immediate and requires a compounding effect.

Investments require constant nurturing and time to mature but stick with them and they will pay dividends. And the earlier you start the better.

Written by Ste Davies

Ste ‘Stephen’ Davies is a freelance digital consultant, traveller, writer, podcaster and speaker based in London, UK. You can reach him here or follow him on Twitter below.

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