What do I mean when I say “investing”?
Flashback to when I was a young chap in grade school which feels like half a millennia ago.. I learned something in biology class called “Energy Return on Investment”. Obviously I have probably heard the word “investment” prior to biology class, but let’s not make fun of me for my lack of remembering. After all, that would be a poor investment of your time/energy. I’ll get to why later.
This “Energy Return on Investment” was referring to the animal kingdom, and this mindset helped them (the animals) dictate whether or not they would do a certain action. See, for those of us that are so privileged to not have to worry about starving, we don’t really relate to this mindset that well.
For instance, if a cheetah sees a full grown, healthy gazelle off in the distance, it has to make a decision if it’ll get more energy from eating this animal than the energy/risk it would take to chase it down, and make the kill. That’s if it catches it. Now, I’m not saying that the cheetah is monitoring it’s calorie intake and exertion levels, I’m just saying that it understands that it has a higher success rate with weaker and/or younger prey. So simply put, is the energy that I receive from something, worth the energy I put forth to complete that action?
I actually used this method of thinking (with a slight twist) for years after learning about this concept in class.
When I would be tempted to buy something, I would calculate how many hours I had to work in order to afford that certain something. More times than not, that material item stayed on the shelf. Over time I realized that experiences themselves were receiving my hard earned money more often than possessions.
Little did I know, every bit of your life is an investment. There’s no stopping it. There’s no denying it. You see, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, regardless of how big or small, it’s an investment. These two periods of time, the present and future is when it counts. This is where the investing needs to happen. The investments you make today will benefit you now and later on. Some things take time to grow, but it’s important to plant that seed now (This by all means isn’t a pregnancy reference unless you’re ready for that).
Life is a forward moving venture. You can’t invest in your past because that’s over and done with. Just plain gone. If you’re in your 30s, you can no longer invest in your 20s. If you already graduated high school, you can no longer invest in a better gpa by studying your history notes.
You can in fact invest in things or people from your past. Rekindle old friendships. Taking up your childhood hobby of painting. Building forts in the woods. These are taking things from the past, and making them a part of your present.
So how do I become a better investor?
Investing isn’t just about what you do, it’s about how you think as well. Your thoughts become actions. Unfortunately, they also have the power of inaction, which tends to be much of the case in our current society.
In a world full of so many distractions, you just need to find your focus. What is your passion? What is your life purpose? What makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Some people discover these answers when they’re a young child. Others, like myself, still haven’t completely determined our role(s) on this planet. That’s completely fine because some of us are late bloomers. Many of us forget that the journey can be much more significant than the destination. It’s the hard work and dedication of today that creates a possibility of an easier tomorrow.
Education is power.
Attempt new activities.
Broaden your horizons.
Become as well rounded as you possibly can.
You have no idea which traits you acquire today will serve you in attaining that dream position of your future (which you may or may not already know about).
The truth is, you have to start with yourself. You need to focus on who you are and work from there. I mean, how are we supposed to serve others in a sustainable capacity if we haven’t served ourselves mentally? You’ve probably heard the saying “the person who tries to make everyone happy, makes no one happy, and ends up unhappy themselves”… I’m pretty sure I butchered that quote, but you see my point.
Now we have to ask ourselves “what are we distracted by?” Are these things helping us grow or preventing us from developing as an individual? Are they making it possible for us to better serve our family, friends, and people we don’t even know?
Some say that it’s not about what you know, but who you know. Chances are, your journey is full of countless people. Invest in them too. Don’t expect anything in return, because those “returns” are supposed to serve them and not you. Invest in sending out good vibes and genuine kindness, and maybe karma will one day shine your way.
Invest your time, money, and energy into your personal growth. If you’re the best possible version of yourself for others, that love will eventually impact the world.
Who knew your investments could impact much more than just yourself?