Investing In Yourself Pays High Dividends

Posted on | April 28, 2011 | No Comments

It is difficult at times for me to write some of these pieces.  On one hand, most of the time I have to speak about myself and it is usually something I am doing or have learned to do.  It is never my intention to come off as preachy or in a “do as I do way” but with frequent mentions of myself, it is likely to be construed that way by at least a few people.  On the other hand, it is difficult to make a serious point without going first and discussing my own involvement and relation to the topic at hand.  I need to go first so those reading can understand my basis.

From Thurs- Sunday November 4th-7th of 2010, I spent a total of 50 hrs at the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within event and it was certainly a life changing experience.  For anyone that does not know, Tony Robbins is a peak performance coach and helps people understand themselves, why we do the thigns we do and how to change that.  He helps people work at their peak state to accomplish their goals and also discover what truly makes them happy in life.  Robbins has been called upon by CEOs, those in the entertainment industry, famous athletes and even former presidents and world leaders.  Anyhow, like a lot of people there I went there to get to the “next level” in my life.  I was pretty confident that the experience of being surrounded by people with similar motives and an outstanding individual who has helped so many people help themselves achieve their goals would be a worthwhile investment for me.  The 2 days off from work did not turn into relaxing and instead led to an even more intensive, energy demanding day out of me.  I was waking up earlier, spending the entire day there and leaving late at night, much later than I usually leave work.  This article is not about that though and I am not trying to brag or impress.  If you are not investing in yourself as much as you would like to be, I hope it shows you a glimpse what is possible and creates awareness that people do this and are capable of doing this.  Also, it helps you to understand me because awareness has to come first.

Why It’s Important

When I mention “investing” in yourself, I am referring to engaging in any activity or taking an action that adds value to your life and helps you work towards becoming the person you want to be or getting what you want in life. Most of it revolves around learning and taking large, consistent action. It can be as simple as reading a book to learn about how to go about starting your own business and following those steps or it can be trying to shadow and learn from someone who is an expert in a subject of interest to you.  As I mentioned, I invest in myself because a large part of life to me is about getting to that next level.  Your standards are what determine the quality of your life.  It is about what you accept from yourself and what you demand out of life.  If there is something in your life that you want that you do not have and are not taking massive action on a consistent basis to change that, you are settling for your current conditions.  I believe I am capable of a lot as a person and have shown it but deep down I believe I am also so much more.  I am about maximizing my capabilities and seeing what it truly possible while evolving as a person every step of the way.  Choosing to invest in yourself is one investment that keeps paying huge dividends for you.  Whether it is improving at a skill, understanding and allowing your emotions to work for you, looking at life through a whole new perspective, it is cumulative.  Today, I appreciate things I ridiculed or took for granted in the past such as art, fashion, and some of the simple but beautiful things in life such as a gorgeous sky at night.  The point is when you keep adding to yourself it changes the way you see things and can enrich your happiness.  A few years ago, I read about “being present” in a book called “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.  The book is pretty comprehensive but particularly revolves around being your body & just feeling rather than thinking and not taking your thoughts seriously letting them control how you feel.  By grasping the theory in the book as well as practicing presence first hand, it changed the way I thought and felt which affected many areas in my life.  Being a classic over thinker, it had a profound impact on my life.  For starters, I became less stressed, started feeling “clearer” and my focus improved.   Additionally the way I processed thoughts of doubt or fear became different and they no longer had the same effect on me.  Another surprising thing happened as I noticed I was able to process art differently.  In the past, I would try to think too much about it and come to a conclusion whether I liked it or hated it and what was logically nice about it.  After becoming more present, I was able to just look at art without thinking and just “feeling.”  Suddenly, I felt like I was able to understand it a lot more, be aware of the feelings a painting was supposed to evoke in me and appreciate beauty that I could not understand in the past.  Another instance is when I was trying to get an artist to design a logo for this site.   I wanted someone to create a logo to represent the site based on the name and purpose.  After many flaky artists, a coworker with artistic talents helped me but instead of just designing something, he stressed that it had to come from me.  He made me show him pictures I enjoyed, dig deeper onto why I liked them and articulate colors on a level I had never consciously thought about.  I truly had to change the way I thought and it was difficult but I did it anyway and proposed some concepts for what I liked and he helped put together a couple different designs including the one that is currently up.  Just from exposure to having to think on that emotional and design level, it changed the way I saw life.  I grasped art even better, I took an interest in fashion and my appreciation for creation was elevated.  I had added another level of depth to myself and the way I create whether it is writing, humor, a website or an idea.  The way I dress has evolved and so has my understanding of fashion.  I dress differently and I can understand or appreciate people better from the way they dress.  My eyes were opened to imagery, scenery, colors, fashion and the way I create.  I have a ton of these stories and you probably have your own.  The rewards I have gotten back from investing myself have been exponential.  The same way learning a martial art might teach you to be calmer while under pressure in other areas of your life or teach you the importance of discipline which you apply at school or work, the rewards are the desired ones you want but can also include ones you never even thought about.

How to invest in yourself

You have to be responsible for your post-college learning.  You can look at life as “hey college is over—woo no more studying & reading books” or you can look at it as “ah college is over, I have more time & can put more focus on what I truly want to learn and read.”  It is your choice because if you don’t give a shit, no one else will.  We are living in a time where the greatest amount of resources to learn and help you do just about anything are available and at your fingertips.  The resources are out there but you have to seek them out and invest the time to use them.  Whether you want to learn about a new interest, emotional control, eliminating fears, goal setting, goal achievement, business strategy, get in shape, relationships, business, adding new skills, etc. there are resources out there for you to use.  However, they are only tools and while reading educates you, the action is what creates results.  Many individuals including several friends of mine would rather play video games than read a book or improve themselves.  Quite frankly, it’s easier to do, there is instant stimulation, and it pays rewards that are quicker in the form of entertainment.  In some ways, I look at my life as its own game.  My powers are my intelligence/perspective/strategies/idea.  Guns/weapons/bullets are my writing, my voice, and taking action.  Training and attributes come from adding more value to myself whether by learning, having a new experience, adding a new skill, etc.   My enemies are my challenges and what stands in the way between me accomplishing my goals.  How I close the gap and push through them is how I defeat them.  Every “failure” where I can learn something is a second life or a chance to reset the game and redo the level.  The next level for me is where it not only feels but I know I’m not playing on the same field anymore. Where I know I will never go back to the way I was living before, my standard of life is higher than ever.  Living is my game where everything I do is cumulative and the ultimate goal to winning the game (in short) is finding that balance between achieving your goals/dreams & being happy every step of the way.

The past few years of my life have been as consistently productive as I have ever been but I want more and demand more out of myself.  At the end of the day, I am just a dude who enjoys living and having fun but I believe in progress.  I believe that by bettering ourselves we can be happier and attain the goals we truly desire.   We can give more to those around us and especially those we care about.  I believe that seeing firsthand what we are truly capable of will only lead to extraordinary things happening in our lives.

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