We spend a lot of time talking about how we can better manage our resources and invest in our financial future. We are trying to take as many dollars as possible and put them to work for a future of financial independence. We also talk about the importance of spending time with our children and fostering healthy relationships beyond our relationship with money. But in order to be fully capable of sound financial management and investing in our families, we must also take care of ourselves and invest in our own growth and potential. What are some ways to invest in our own growth that do not involve going back to school and racking up huge amounts of student loan debt?
Sometimes in our culture investing in ourselves is viewed as “selfish” or “self-centered”, but nothing could be farther from the truth. If we do not have a deep well to draw on, we will not be our best selves for others and have less capacity to give back to our society. We will not have the energy, creativity, compassion etc. required to help others, create new things, think of better ways to do things and discover efficiencies.
Here are 7 ways a person can invest in their own growth and well-being:
1. Seek a friend/mentor/teacher
When was the last time you truly listened to the expertise of a friend of yours? You probably have friends that know all sorts of things that may interest you. When you spend time with them, ask their advice or opinion on a matter that truly interests you. You may be surprised by what you learn. Jerry is constantly surprising me with new information that is adding to my growth as a person.
2. Listen to an alternative point of view
Nowadays we spend a lot of time in our own comfortable information bubbles. It may truly add to ones’ growth to spend some time listening to another point of view. It does not mean we need agree, but we may exercise our brain and think of an issue from another angle.
3. Take a free online class, Kahn Academy or Youtube
I have always been amazed by my 90 year old grandfather. He can fix and build almost anything. The other day he told me that when he was young he would watch an uncle work on things and that is how he learned, by watching. This was the 1930’s version of Youtube, but without the distracting cat videos. This reminded me of the tremendous amount of resources available to us now in terms of learning. We can log into Khan Academy or EdX and learn about virtually anything. This is a tremendous opportunity for growth as an individual and as a society.
4. Seek employer sponsored training
Find a class that would improve your ability to perform your job and make a request to have your employer fund it. You may be surprised and find them open to the possibility.
5. Use library resources & read a new book, magazine, journal, etc.
When was the last time you read a good book that you enjoyed? With fall in the air, it is time to curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book, doesn’t that sound awesome!
6. Rest and reduce screen time
We are literally massively addicted to screens. The big players in Silicon Valley have done this by design, they know how to socially engineer platforms to make us addicted. In some ways this is frying our brains and our eyeballs. When was the last time you took a walk in nature or just looked at a tree or the moon or a flower. This is restorative practice and lets your system decompress.
7. Invest in your spirituality
When was the last time you thought about or invested in your own spirituality. No matter your beliefs, it may be restorative for you to take some time investing in your own spiritual views and relationships. Pick up a book about various beliefs, meditate, talk with a friend. For billions of people their faith provides a valuable psychological benefit.
The main point here is that managing our time, resources and efforts is about energy, creativity and action. In order to function and operate at our optimal levels, we need to invest in ourselves. These are just some ideas, find the ones that work for you so you can experience growth and be the best you can be for others.