Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Investing in yourself is likely the best investment you can make. In an interview with Forbes, Billionaire, Warren Buffett, emphasised the importance of investing in oneself. “Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet.” Buffett adds, “Address whatever you feel your weaknesses are, and do it now. Whatever you want to learn more, start doing it today. Don’t put if off to your old age. You’ll have a more rewarding life not only in terms of how much money you make, but how much fun you have out of life; you’ll make more friends the more interesting person you are. So go to it, invest in yourself.”
The surest way to achieve a higher quality of life, to be productive, fulfilled and successful according to your own standards, is to prioritise investing in yourself and your personal and professional growth. By investing in yourself, you will increase your potential which will increase your career and relationship prospects and help you have a more interesting life. Moreover, by investing in yourself, you are signalling to the world, including yourself, that you love yourself and you are worthy, which consequently has other positive benefits. This includes increasing your confidence and ability to make healthier life choices, amongst a variety of other things.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t help others and try to be of service. You most certainly should if you want to live a happier life (see here). But you won’t be able to give back with kindness and joy or live up to your potential, if you don’t take the time to invest in yourself. When it comes to the things that could increase your potential, satisfaction and mental and physical well-being, think about them as an investment as opposed to a cost. A cost is simply an expenditure of money, time, or resources. Whereas, an investment is an expenditure that has a strong possibility of a return. People are often reluctant to invest in themselves either because of a lack of clear ROI or for the fact that it’s hard to get excited about something that will only reap the benefits from in the future. Just because you can’t clearly quantify something doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether. LeBron James spends $1.5 million on his body annually (chefs, masseuses, trainers, etc) and while the average tenure in the NBA is five years, he is in his 15th season! Granted, LeBron is a world-famous athlete, a multi-millionaire and not relatable to most, but the point is, he committed to investing in himself year after year and it’s not a coincidence that he’s managed to achieve as much as he has. Plain and simple, winners and top performers, invest in themselves.
Here are some ways that you can invest in yourself (and most don’t require money!):
1. Set personal and professional goals (or intentions). If you’re not aiming for something, you will not know where you are going and you will lack purpose. As a result, you will find it harder to find fulfilment and satisfaction. Set goals to give yourself direction and achieve the things that are most meaningful to you. The alternative is that you are living your life based on other people’s expectations. Be true to yourself and set goals that are meaningful to you. Follow Warren Buffett’s advice and set no more than five goals at a time. Moreover, make your goals smart - specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For instance, instead of saying “I want to lose weight in 2020,” you could say, “I want to lose five pounds by May 2020 and I will do so by going to the gym five days per week and eliminating refined sugar from my diet.”
2. Strengthen and honour your intuition. To strengthen and honour your intuition, you first have to be able to hear it amidst the noise of your busy life. You have to slow down and listen and include a combination of things like solitude, time in nature, journaling, into your routine. A great way to strengthen your intuition is to take time away from your day-to-day routine, even for a brief walk, preferably in nature. Once you’ve done that and you start to hear your inner voice or gut feeling more clearly, instead of ignoring it or letting your intellect talk you out of it, honour your intuition. With time your intuition will get stronger, decisions will become clearer and your confidence in your decisions will grow.
3. Journal. Journaling has so many benefits. It’s a great way to increase your self awareness, process emotions and release stress. It can help you clarify your goals and by writing them down, ideally often, it will also increase your chances of achieving them. Even if you start with one journal entry per week, you will likely notice the benefits. If you’re not sure where to start, read this comprehensive blog post by best selling New York Times author, Ryan Holiday.
4. Start a meditation practice. Meditation is easy to start (there are so many free guided meditations available on YouTube) and there are so many benefits. For example, it reduces stress, it alleviates anxiety, it promotes emotional health, it enhances self-awareness, it lengthens attention spans, it increases your ability to be empathetic and kind, to name a few (read more on the scientific reasons behind starting a meditation practice here).
5. Prioritise sleep. Most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night, but of course there are exceptions. Know what is the optimal number for you and prioritise getting that amount as much as possible. If you missed a night of good sleep, make an effort the next night to get more. Sleep helps reduce stress, improve memory, lower your blood pressure, maintain or lose weight and it puts you in a better mood and in a better place to have a good day and be less irritable.
6. Commit to spending more time in nature. Studies show that there are many benefits to spending time in nature. It lifts you up physically and emotionally. Exposure to the natural light has several positive effects, including helping to keep our circadian rhythms on track, boosting mood, improving sleep and offering anti-depressive support. Time in nature also aids in stress management. When we go in nature, the parasympathetic nervous system switches on, cortisol drops, and the brain’s prefrontal cortex—the area responsible for your higher cognitive functions like decision-making— takes a break as you drift into a soft-focus state of awareness. This allows you to shift from information overload to a state of pleasure, letting go of negative thought cycles, rejuvenating mental energy, and connecting you to your creativity. It eases depression and can boost your mental performance. It also has the power to ground you. According to a study published in the Journal of Inflammation Research, “electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (as in grounding or earthing) has positive effects, specifically on taming inflammation, boosting immune response, aiding wound healing and reducing pain.” It suggests that “grounding” can help prevent and treat chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, improve sleep quality, increase blood flow and reduce stress – making Nature a very powerful wellness force!
7. Read or listen to books in audio. Most great leaders spend a lot of time reading. According to Inc. magazine, Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day, Mark Cuban reads 3 hours a day and Bill Gates reads 50 books a year! No only can you learn so much about your field or related fields by reading, but studies also show that it can increase intelligence, empathy and your vocabulary, reduce stress (one study found that reading can reduce stress levels by as much as 68%), decrease depression, sharpen your mind, enhance your memory and ability to focus and strengthen your writing ability.
8. Hire a career or life coach. No matter what your personal or professional goals are or where you are in your life or career, most people can benefit so much from having a great coach. Whether you are a new CEO and want to become a more impactful leader, an athlete looking to increase your resilience, an entry level employee looking to map a successful career path, a mom juggling a variety of personal and professional commitments, or someone looking to get clarity on a decision to end a relationship, working with a coach can help you thrive in any area. Across all fields, the top performers are working with coaches. Here are a few specific ways you can benefit: identify critical skills required for your career path of interest, build confidence and define your value proposition, develop a strong and relevant resume for the career you want, make informed decisions about the evolution of your career, set goals and build a roadmap to your destination, improve your networking skills, identify your strengths and weaknesses and work to enhance the relevant ones, and much much more. Browse Wonder Source coaches here to book a free discovery call today.
9. Invest in your meaningful relationships. Take the time to reflect on the relationships that are meaningful to you. These are most likely ones where you feel energised after the encounter vs drained. Whether they are family, friends, colleagues, time is limited and to live your best life, make sure you are spending the majority of your time with people that encourage you and you enjoy spending time with. Once you’ve identified these key relationships, make sure to invest in them. Make an effort to call them more often, or go on an annual trip, or send a card to say how much you appreciate them.
10. Choose and commit to being happy. There are so many ways you can invest in yourself, but ultimately, taking responsibility for your life and how you feel is a key to happiness and fulfilment. Decide today that you are committed to feeling good and make an effort to do so. If something that you deem bad comes up, make an effort to reframe it in a positive light or look for the lesson or something you can be grateful for and let go of it. Spend time with people who make you feel good and less time with people who irritate you or tend to make you feel anxious.
Decide today to invest in yourself. We are all worthy and more capable than we believe. At Wonder Source, we have a variety of world class wellness coaches (across mindfulness, meditation, health, nutrition, fitness, functional medicine) and career and life coaches that are dedicated to helping you grow, thrive and achieve all your goals. Browse our coaches today. Not sure where to start? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance on which coach may be most suitable.