In this post, I want to talk about the importance of investing in yourself. I will talk about the financial aspects, but I will also talk about the energy and the time that you need to give in order to get something in return.
I always say that choosing a lifestyle filled with personal development is one of the best decisions one can make. This kind of lifestyle guarantees that we keep growing mentally, become physically healthier, build better relationships, reach more fulfillment and even happiness. Who wouldn’t want to live such a life? There really are no downsides to that, except those that people choose to create for themselves. The things that self-development is all about – passion, dedication and hard work, are the very same things that push people away from bettering themselves.
The majority of people is all about the results. We love the idea of instant gratification, which means receiving pleasure immediately. That’s why we love to eat out at fast food restaurants, that’s why we love to go shopping, and that’s why so many people turn to drugs and alcohol. But no one wants to go through the blood, sweat and tears of getting to those results.
Self-development needs your commitment, time and energy. Moreover, just like any other hobby that becomes a part of you, it needs your financial investment. And that is what turns most people off. “I don’t have the money”, “I don’t have the time” and “I’m not interested in that”.
Formal vs. non-formal education
I think it is safe to say that the majority of us, including me, were born in a family in which the idea of receiving a formal education is the only road to take. Higher education, for example, can cost thousands, yet no one questions the importance of spending that much money on it. The certificate that you get at the end of your studies is, after all, supposed to help you find a job that will sustain you.
I am not going to get into the subject of whether one should or shouldn’t go through formal education. I personally think that all education is great, especially when you feel that it is something you really want to do for the rest of your life. But what I am trying to say is that you may be totally fine with taking loans and spending thousands on formal education, but at the same time, you are afraid of investing in yourself outside of your university studies.
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I don’t want to come off as smarter than everyone else here, so let’s take my example. I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. That education taught me a lot about the corporate world, and it even got me a nice job, but guess how much I learned about business itself? Absolutely nothing! My degree taught me for 3,5 years how to be an employee, and nothing about starting my own business. Oddly enough, I became interested in starting my own business only once I graduated.
Now, because I am Russian and my parents come from the USSR, there was no way for me to learn about business at a young age… there wasn’t much business in the USSR. So I had to look for help elsewhere.
Fortunately, because I knew about the importance of investing in yourself, I purchased an online course that would teach me everything a beginner needed to know about online business/marketing.
That course cost me a 1000 bucks. I have no problem saying this amount out loud. As a matter of fact, I feel pretty confident about myself and I quite often talk about the importance of investing in yourself. But almost no one to whom I tell this responds in a sensible way. I either get laughed at for being robbed/wasting money, or I am asked how much I have already made off this course. No one cares about the content of the course!
“Information is free”
Not only some people don’t understand the importance of investing in yourself, they will laugh at those that do.
Yes, I spent a $1000 on a course, but I learned so much along the way! I learned about something I had absolutely no experience with. How else would I have learned this? At this point, people will tell me that all of this information can be easily found by Googling.
I agree, that information is free, but teaching it isn’t! You can find bits and pieces of it scattered all over the internet, but you will never find the most valuable things out there for free.
There are five main problems that I have found to come with free information:
1. You will never know whether the information is really valid or not.
2. It may be outdated.
3. You will have to put it all in one piece on your own. If you don’t know the subject, this will be a very difficult task that can take a very long time to accomplish.
4. Free information is never taken as seriously as information that has been paid for.
5. With free information, you don’t actually have a guide that you can ask questions and receive feedback from. You get whatever was out there.
No, but really, how much have you made already?
As I mentioned earlier, people care mostly about the results. For this very reason, you will never be able to convince anyone that the money that you were investing in yourself was worth it.
You can’t physically put a price on the gained knowledge. Also, everyone knows that there is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme, yet everyone keeps asking how much can they make by the end of the following month if they take that course.
Getting ahead of myself, I will point out that there is no point in investing in yourself with such an attitude. There is no way for you to be successful with that mindset. If results are the only thing that you are after, then you won’t be able to overcome problems that you will inevitably face on the way to getting to those results.
Recommended read: How to Start a Business When You Have a Full-Time Job
But to make it even worse, there are the people that have paid big bucks for certain courses and mentoring, hoping that they would get instant results with little effort. They take on a diet, but when they fail to see the outcome in a month time, they say that the fitness program is a scam. The same goes for business courses.
Unfortunately, because these people do have their (negative) experience, they feel that they have the authority to speak for everyone else. These are the same people that write most of the negative reviews.
Take my example again, I have bought that $1000 course a little over a year ago. By today, I have made $5000+ from the strategies taught in it. But all of this $5000 has been made only in the last couple of months. The time before that was spent on learning, trial and error, and hard work. So, anyone asking me “how much I made from the course?” only 3 months ago, would hear $0 and would, therefore, laugh at me.
I don’t usually bother explaining the importance of business courses, life coaching, any kind of mentoring and investing in yourself to other people. I write about it in posts like this, for those people those that do have the capacity to understand the idea that I am trying to get across.
If a person can’t wrap their mind around the fact that knowledge doesn’t have a price, that it has an accumulative effect, that when combined with patience, hard work and dedication, will always bring results, then there really is no point proving to anyone that a course was worth the 1000 bucks.
Unfortunately, 95% of people will quit before they see any results. Then a portion of those people will shout out loud that a course or mentor is a scam. Again, most people genuinely believe only in quick results.
Having the “whatever it takes” mindset
Nobody in this world is holding us back from changing our life. We may think that we don’t have the time or we don’t have the money, or the skills to accomplish something. But in reality, these are just excuses that we all use in order to stay on the safe and secure side.
Please understand, it is completely normal to be afraid of getting outside of our comfort zone, doing things that are new, being afraid of failure and the idea that someone we love may not like as much our ambitions. This is how all people feel, but we should not allow these things to dictate the outcomes of our future.
If you truly want something, you have to push yourself beyond your fears. You have to be ready to learn, to invest in yourself and ready to take action when needed. Only through taking action you will be able to come closer to your dreams. There simply is no other way.
Giving up time
Investing in yourself means also giving up time. Don’t be afraid saying “no” to your friends on a Friday evening. Don’t be afraid to skip a party or a night out. If you want results, you must learn to be different from everyone else. People that do what everyone does get the same results as everyone else.
Hard work is totally fine, especially when you are motivated. Hard work is what allows you to move beyond everyone else. Yes, it may seem lonely at times, and you may feel exhausted, but think about the times when you will achieve the things that you are after. How will that feel?
Recommended read: What Our Parents Never Told Us About Time
At first, you plant a seed. You water it day and night, and nothing seems to grow. It may feel like you are wasting your time. But just wait. Sooner or later, if you are consistent, you will see a sprout emerge. It will begin to grow, bigger and stronger, and eventually, it will turn into a tree that nothing, not even a storm, can take down.
Giving up money
We are happy to buy a new expensive computer or a mobile phone, but when it comes to learning a new language or a business model, we feel that it’s too expensive. Maybe it’s just not worth it.
If you have decided to change, learn to give. By investing in yourself and educating yourself, by taking courses and learning from experts, you will be able to change and become better.
As brilliant as we may sometimes think we are, we need someone else to teach us a new skill, to show us a different point of view. You may be an expert in cooking, but if you want to become an expert in marketing, you need to find an expert in marketing to guide you.
One important characteristic that is common amongst many successful individuals is their desire to always learn more. Life is all about learning, and the moment we decide that we now know enough, that is the moment we begin to die. Learning is never a waste of money, as some may think. Even when you can’t apply something straight away, there may come a moment when that acquired knowledge will save your or someone else’s life.
The last thing that I would like to remind you of is that money comes and goes. You can buy a computer today, but in two, three, four or five years, you will need to buy a new one. Knowledge, on the other hand, that comes from you investing in yourself, never leaves you. It is yours and you get to keep it forever.
If you truly want something, but you can’t afford it, then find a way to afford it. This can be your new motivation for getting up early every morning to go to a job that you don’t necessarily like. But you know that you are doing it for the greater good, for the benefit of your future. When you have this mental attitude, life will become very different for you, in a positive way.
We can’t be perfect, but we can always strive to be better tomorrow than we were today.
Thank you for stopping by and good luck!