Investing in yourself may be the most profitable investment you ever make. It yields not only future returns, but often a current pay-off as well. The surest way to achieve a better quality life, to be successful, productive, and satisfied is to place a priority on investing in both personal and professional growth. The effort you put into consistently investing in yourself plays a large role in determining the quality of your life now and in the future.

Investment options

1. Develop your skills

Improving your skills doesn’t always mean investing in higher education, though that’s surely an option, and perhaps a necessary one depending upon your career field. Investing in your knowledge and skills can take many forms. In addition, expanding your level of knowledge and skill isn’t limited to the business arena and doesn’t necessarily need to be formal. There are many “skill investment” avenues.

  • Advance your education -  extra classes, advanced degrees, relevant certifications, are all valuable investments. Take classes, either in person or online.
  • Utilize available training – enroll in workshops, attend conferences or participate in webinars.
  • Expand your knowledge – there’s lots of information available on nearly any subject imaginable. Read books, articles, white papers, anything related to the talent or skill you want to work on. Keep current – stay abreast of the latest trends or advancements. Subscribe to publications, read blogs of experts, and follow the latest news.

2. Explore your creative side

There is a fountain of creativity within most of us that has never been tapped or certainly hasn’t been used to its highest potential. We may need to unearth, and hone our individual creativity. Creativity, in any form, helps us to grow personally and professionally, to view problems and solutions in different ways and to utilize other parts of our mind that may have been previously untapped. It’s important to keep in mind that creativity has many faces. It’s far broader than being a painter or sculptor; it’s also about trying new things.

  • Learn a new language –  take a class or use language training software
  • Try gourmet cooking – enroll in a formal class, by a new cookbook, or ask someone you know who enjoys cooking in a different way.
  • write something – a book, short stories, poetry, anything
  • Explore the outside world – try gardening, bird watching, or landscape photography
  • Enjoy music – play an instrument, learn a new one or join a music group of some kind.
  • Create something tangible – paint, sculpt, make pottery, make jewelry or design your own clothes.

Choose some form of activity that you have never tried, haven’t practiced in years, or have never explored fully.

3. Nurture your mind and body

Nurturing both your mind and body allows you to have more to give now and  in the future, more energy, more knowledge, more compassion, more ideas, greater strength, physical and mental endurance.

Expand your mind. Learning new things and keeping your mind active even in simple ways helps to grow and maintain your mental ability.

  • Read – anything and everything
  • Explore culture – attend performances, listen to different style of music, travel, or join an organization or group comprised of people from different backgrounds.
  • Open your mind – engage in conversations with those who disagree with you. Look at an argument and try to make a case for the opposing point of view.
  • Keep your mind active – play word games, (yes, even Words with Friends counts,) board games that include strategy, or try using your brain to perform simple calculations rather than relying on a calculator.

Care for your body. Your body is like a well-oiled machine. If you care for it in the way that you might maintain an expensive car, it will perform marvelously and last for a very long time. Remember the basics:

  • Give it high quality fuel –translation: make healthy food choices as often as possible. What you eat does play a large role in your energy and ability to perform. You truly are what you eat.
  • Don’t push it too hard – translation: rest and relax often, slow down and don’t overload your system. Also, don’t shift gears too quickly; it causes stress and damage to “your machine,” A.K.A. your body.
  • Get regular and necessary maintenance – translation: go to the doctor when your sick – don’t put it off until you totally break down. Better yet, use preventative maintenance; get check-ups, take appropriate vitamins and pay attention to irregular or erratic behavior.
  • Polish the exterior – translation: take care of the outside too. Many people dismiss this as frivolous and self-indulgent, but it’s not, as long as you don’t go overboard. We’re not talking about facelifts and Botox, we’re talking about getting a fabulous haircut, and wearing clothes that make you feel confident and attractive.

Investing in yourself truly makes a difference in your life, your well-being, and your ability to thrive and perform to the best of your ability. The extent to which you invest in yourself, mind and body, not only shapes the way you interact with the outside world, it often reflects the opinion you have of yourself. Your future is in large part determined by your willingness and ability to invest in yourself now.

Featured photo credit:  Group of Teenage Students at Park with Computer and Books via Shutterstock

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