You feel like you’re far away from the amazing outcomes you want in your life.
You do have the desire to achieve major goals and dreams, but how is desire going to carry you through from the start to finish when the length of the race just seems so long?
The crazy thing? In retrospect, the journey isn’t long at all. I spent five years going from zero to building a life I love. And it all went by in a blink. I was able to persist because I knew the power of investing in myself.
This is a concept most people don’t understand or embrace.
Almost anybody on planet earth could be a millionaire on a long enough time scale with a simple strategy. Take a small portion of your money each month and invest it. Get a modest return over the span of decades and you’ll become a millionaire.
Most people logically understand how compound interest works, but it’s hard to embrace it emotionally and use the concept to guide your behavior — as you can see by the large number of people who retire with almost nothing.
The same can be said about investing in yourself. It’s hard to see the dramatic leaps you can make in the future by making constant small investments in yourself.
If you knew how well it would turn out, you’d get started today. Here’s how it will turn out if you decide to follow this path.
When you invest in yourself, your skills will grow at an exponential rate. In the beginning, you won’t get a great ROI on your investment. But stick around long enough and all of a sudden your life is so different than it was in the past you won’t even feel like the old you ever existed.
Let’s take a look at some of the best investments you can make in yourself for maximum results in the future.
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.” – Seneca
This main category covers the rest of the categories I mention.
If you use time wisely, you can gain those compound rewards in the future. If you spend time poorly, it’s like accumulating debt at a high-interest rate — the deeper you dig, the harder it is to get out.
It sounds harsh, but many people who claim to be victims of circumstance are wildly inefficient with their time. And I’m not speaking from a moral perspective at all. I don’t care what you do. I simply point out the likely outcomes of what you do.
You know all of this already. So why am I telling you?
The same reason why personal finance experts continue to tell you to invest your money and stop getting into debt.
The message bears repeating, obviously.
Let’s take a look at some of my personal favorite ways to invest in yourself. Hopefully, I’ll hammer them into your head deep enough for you to do them.
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads–and at how much I read.” Charlie Munger
I, as well as every other self-improvement writer on planet earth, have written about this cliche several times, but it bears repeating.
Books have some magical power. I’ve read books that helped me make six-figures. I’ve read books that changed the way I viewed the world forever. And the combination of what I read creates compound rewards when I combine the knowledge from them.
When you read widely, you can form unique thoughts and ideas. Using the investment analogy again, you can create a ‘diversified portfolio of knowledge.’ If you do this often enough and long enough, you can achieve damn near anything you want.
For example, many people will say they don’t know how to or can’t invest in real estate, even though there are thousands of real estate books available to them. Yeah, you’d have to sit there and struggle for a while to learn how it works, but once you did, you could start investing in real estate.
There are so many fields like this, well below the level of something like rocket science, that you could learn by reading books. Speaking of rocket science, guess how Elon Musk learned what he needed to know to start SpaceX when he had no formal education on rocket science? He literally just read a bunch of books about it.
Of course, reading a lot is correlated with success, but it doesn’t cause success. There are many well-read yet unsuccessful people out there.
So what’s the key to getting this investment to pay off? You have to implement the knowledge you learn from books and map it against the real world over and over again, iterating over time based on the results.
If you can do that, you’ll have a level of knowledge that equates to a cheat code to life.
“The best teachers are on the Internet. The best books are on the Internet. The best peers are on the Internet.” – Naval Ravikant
I chose books because I think everyone should read more. But you can take this idea of investment to the broader level of education.
It makes me sad to see so many people who feel stuck when there are so many educational outlets out there.
You can take classes from Ivy league institutions for free. “But without the actual degree, how can you succeed?” You can use the knowledge from a book like If I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead, the biography of Jerry Weintraub, who pulled off amazing career feats and got unattainable jobs by learning persuasion and finding the side door to opportunities.
You can apply to a program like Lambda school, that teaches you how to code for free, and takes a portion of your income to pay off your tuition only if you get a job with a certain salary.
There are online courses, free and paid, on damn near any subject you can think of. There is this website called Google where you can type in anything and almost always get an insanely accurate answer. Or YouTube, that can walk you through tasks like changing your oil or literally building a rocket.
Stop with the excuses.
Even a homeless person could go to the library, read free books, and use the free computers to start an online business. I’m being hyperbolic to hammer in the point.
Your education and the time you devote to it are the only things holding you back in life. If you don’t agree with me and want to scream at the sky about injustice and inequality, you’re free to do so. But you’ll still have to live your life. We’ll see how things pan out.
The internet is the great equalizer. Anyone with an internet connection has access to unlimited intellectual capital. If you were to spend all your free time learning, executing, and leveling up as you go, you know you’d reach insane heights.
But you still have to do it.
Let’s take that real estate example again and run with it. I’m personally interested in real estate myself. Guess what I’m going to do in the future?
I’m going to go to those random little realtor events few people go to and learn from the people there. I’m going to continue building connections with people in my local community because knowledge of the community as a whole would help me as a real estate investor.
In general, just having a like-minded group of friends and acquaintances who are into self-improvement keeps me motivated. I like being around people who have something going on. And I’m not transactional about it at all. I just know in the long-run that being around solid people will pay compound rewards in the long-run.
You don’t play tit for tat. You find people that interest you and you engage with them.
I love this strategy I learned from Ken Shamrock. You always have:
And the definition of these groups isn’t concrete. Just because you have more knowledge than someone in one narrow area, doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. The same thing goes for people above your level that you can add value to in areas outside of their expertise.
You see how this works?
Ultimately, all of these strategies are investments in yourself. Altruism is an investment because you feel good about yourself for helping others. No person is an island. No person is self-made. So you just do your part to pay it forward where you can and build relationships.
All of this is pretty simple.
All of these techniques derive from that analogy of someone putting a bit of money away each month for a few decades to become a millionaire.
You’re a handful of unsexy strategies away from an insanely good life. Read a half-hour per day, work on your side business an hour a day, have a coffee a week with someone new, move your body three times a week, take some online courses, and just don’t quit.
You know this will work, so embrace it, fully.
Bet long on yourself, and you’ll live a life of wealth.