The Greatest Investment: You and Your Mind
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Stocks. Real Estate. Businesses. Each of these asset classes have been exponentially preached as the best investments to make in your early years. While a well-judged stock pick can make you thousands, and an accurately flipped real estate condominium can make you millions, none of these would be possible without the advent of the truly greatest investment: you and your financial mindset.
Although investing in yourself isn't a new concept, many young people are still unconvinced and unaware of its pervasive benefits, so here are 3 critical advantages that may alter your perspective:
1. Personal Growth
Growth. A multitude of psychology experts and scientists have claimed that growth is the single greatest source of fulfillment.
This is because consistently challenging your mind to explore unknown aspects of certain subjects or educational realms allows your brain to think critically: i.e. to deviate from using its natural survival instincts and instead start implementing more analytical and evaluative conditioning. Based on a study conducted by the University of Calgary, consistently working the evaluative aspects of your brain and challenging yourself to learn more leads to far greater levels of happiness and fulfillment compared to idly foregoing your potential.
Michael has a free weekend during university, whereby he’s exempted from any extra homework or projects. Ecstatically, he uses this opportunity to jump over to his couch and begin his long-awaited desire to start the TV series, FRIENDS. Mistakenly believing that his entertainment endeavor would only last several hours, Michael ends up watching episodes for the entirety of the weekend. He greatly enjoys himself, until Sunday evening when he begins feeling the inevitable sense of futility and demotivation. He thought his entertainment episodes would bring him happiness, but the reality is that his procrastination rendered him severely unfulfilled by the end. He invested his time into an activity that returns short-term satisfaction instead of long-term results. Is he fulfilled? No. Has he gained potential to grow? Hell No.
John is a hardworking university student that watches TV shows as well, but he remains fulfilled on a weekly basis. How’s that? On Friday, John gets home and relaxes after a hard few days of lectures and classes. After half an hour, he gets up and reads 10 pages of a self-help/business book, in order to learn how to successfully create a side income. He then gets some friends over and they enjoy a few beers along with a good sports match. After cleaning himself up, John proceeds to read another 5 pages before bed. The weekend hasn’t even arrived yet and John has already invested in himself through his daily openness to learning. Now, solely for an hour on Saturday and Sunday, he pursues an online course to improve his verbal and written communication skills, because John understands that communication is a priceless asset to master in any industry. Because of his dedication to investing in himself, John is able to potentially grow richer, improve his skill set and treat himself to some time with TV and friends. Is he fulfilled? Yes! Has he gained potential to grow? Of course.
Be like John.
This goes to show you that investing your time only into entertainment instead of education is incessantly bound to bring you demotivation and unhappiness. Instead, using some of that time to read books on topics you greatly enjoy or take courses on improving certain skills will allow you to grow, and therefore invariably fulfill you.
A multitude of young people today unfortunately follow Michael's path, and an interesting yet effective way to summarize why they do so is that “People will always choose unhappiness over uncertainty”.
You feel that spending your time reading a business book on making money or taking a course on communication skills may not actually teach you much, which is why you settle for feeling mediocre and remaining stagnant in terms of skill growth and personal potential.
Although it's regrettable that many follow this process, it’s critical to remember: the moment you cease your learning, you stop your earning. Strongly consider this before assuming that you won’t learn anything from a book, course, podcast or article: the opportunity is indefinite, and it sounds cliché to say it but you truly won’t know unless you try.
2. Improved Financial Intellect
Apart from gaining personal growth, investing in yourself possesses profound effects on the improvement of your financial intellect. This assertion stems from the fact that almost 85% of millionaires today state that their initial success is owed to leveraging the vast array of ideas and advice that comes from investing in themselves. The hundreds of dollars that they spent on self-help or business books returned over a thousand times their investment in terms of money and value. For one example out of many, consider this excerpt from millionaire Lewis Howes:
“Broken, broke, and clueless on how to make money or get a career, my obsession for learning about business, marketing, product design, human behavior, and adding value to people (when I had no value to give) began.”
Howes was an aspiring NFL player who’s dream was abruptly ceased due to an injury. After years of feeling futile and not knowing which path of life to take, he realized he needed to fix his finances and make an impact, which is why a key word in the excerpt above is “value”. Money follows value on any roadmap, no matter the circumstances. Reading about those practical subjects expanded his knowledge on budgeting and financial investments and therefore augmented his ability to add value to others, and this is why he became a multi-millionaire shortly after.
Remember this: Investing in yourself creates value, and the more value you provide, the more money you derive.
3. Profitable Ideas:
Napoleon Hill once claimed that a single idea is the first step towards earning money, but what’s the first step towards obtaining that idea? That’s right, investing in yourself. You and your brain are the sole proprietors of your ideas, and the fuel to those functionalities lies in what you feed your mind.
Ingraining your brain with new habits, perspectives and strategies learned from each new book or course is the impetus towards gaining profitable ideas and adding value to others. If your learning process is stagnant, the value you bring to society will remain unchanged, and therefore so will your wealth.
Nowadays, we don’t have an issue with updating our phone software or acquiring the latest MacBook laptop, but when it comes to updating and refreshing our greatest asset at a fraction of the price of the aforementioned products...who’s first in line? Not many.
The discordant relationship between our level of dedication to updating our tech instead of ameliorating our minds is one that needs unconditional attention; by all means, update your software and get the new iPhone if it’s what you desire, but why not use the same dedication towards improving yourself?
In doing so, you might discover a new idea that either makes you money, fulfills you, educates you or even catapults you into an entirely different life: and you won't lose anything by trying.
Remember that behind every millionaire, there is a mind that came up with an idea which created incomparable wealth. Invest in yourself today, and you may find yourself generating ideas that translate to monetary equivalents far beyond your expectations later on.
If there’s anything I would want you to take away from this entire article, it’s that your mind is the only investment that can exponentially grow: no stock, property or business could ever do it. Continuously testing, analyzing and growing your mind’s ability is the investment that returns the highest value, because it’s what propels you with the skills towards getting a high-paying job, thinking of a million-dollar idea or picking the right stock: you’d be unlikely to achieve any of these without first investing in yourself and your knowledge.
As Jim Kwik says, "Knowledge isn't power, knowledge is profit.", so take every opportunity you have: pick up that book, start that online course and relish in reading some valuable articles; but either way, start investing in yourself TODAY.