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Eighteen Ways to Invest in Life

Eighteen Ways to Invest in Life
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    Do you invest your money? Putting away a portion of your income into an investment plan creates more money later. With interest rates and financial pundits it is easy to see why financial investment makes sense.

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    But what about investment in other areas? Do you invest in your time, brain, body or space? What about investments in the books you read and friends you meet? Although few areas of life have the precision of an investment account, applying investment principles to other situations can have incredible gains.

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    Here are a few started points to consider your investment into life:

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    1. Mind. How much time do you spend learning? Not just studying for mandatory courses, but subjects you seek out only to learn. You can’t predict the value new information will have until you learn it. So pick up a book and start investing in your brain.
    2. Body. Until medical science allows full body transplants, your stuck with your body for awhile. Putting in the right investments of exercise and healthy eating will ensure it can pay out later. Extra energy, less sick days, increased mobility and a longer life are just a few of the returns.
    3. Skills. What skills may come in handy later? Knowing how to prepare your taxes? How to fix your computer? PHP? Spend a half hour each day investing into a skill.
    4. Order. A small amount of time spent creating an organizing system can save dozens of hours otherwise lost. A simple system to order your tasks and office will keep mess from compounding.
    5. Tools. Need to upgrade your computer? Or maybe you just need to do a quick reformat to clean out the hard drive. Craftsmen keep their tools sharp, why not yours?
    6. Writing. Do your e-mails look like they were written by a thirteen year old on an instant messenger chat screen? Writing isn’t going away any time soon, so learn to communicate clearly in print.
    7. Network. Building a professional and private circle of friends is something you can’t do on demand. It takes considerable upfront investment, often when you don’t really need it. But having an extended network can give you access points to opportunities later.
    8. Communication. How are your speaking skills? Can you do a fantastic cold call? Are you good at talking to strangers? How about empathizing with a friend? Find opportunities to invest in your communication skills.
    9. Stories. Are you living a life worth talking about? I like to see interesting experiences as being investments in stories later. Do something worthy of telling stories later.
    10. Courage. Make getting uncomfortable a habit. If you regularly flex your emotional muscles in handling new situations you are better prepared for when you really need to. You don’t need to take huge steps, just small investments.
    11. Work Ethic. Invest in creating the character traits to get stuff done. Investing in these core traits are easier because the act of investment is useful in itself. While exercising at the gym may lead to a healthy body it doesn’t create new value. Finishing projects, building discipline and developing a productivity system will invest in a work ethic while adding value.
    12. Leaky Faucets. The drip-drip-drip of a leaky faucet can waste huge amounts of water over time. But water loss isn’t the only type of leaky faucet you can encounter. If a problem is small but likely to reappear, fixing it immediately can save enormous costs later.
    13. Habits. Your regular routine is an often neglected but incredibly important aspect to consider. You can’t turn yourself into a robot, but you can take simple steps to ensure your daily activities flow smoothly. Eating habits, sleeping habits, work habits and your daily rituals all contribute to your life.
    14. Strong Connections. Networking isn’t just about adding names to a Rolodex or a Blackberry. Having close professional and private bonds can be an incredible asset. Investing in empathy, listening and softer, more passive, skills can be an incredible asset in making you a people person.
    15. Rest. Frustrated stress is an emotional debt. Although it’s good to have a challenge you also need to invest in your psychological well-being. Finding outlets for frustrations and creating rituals to recover your energy can ensure you don’t accumulate debt payments later.
    16. Basics. Invest in the areas of your life that come up frequently. If mastered, basic skills, routines and places can reduce the amount of work you need to do. Basic skills such as cooking, reading, exercising and listening all benefit from investments.
    17. Appearance. You could definitely argue that the world is far too shallow, and I’d have to agree. But your appearance and attire is a subtle form of communication about yourself. So if you’ve been sporting the four day stubble and your shirt has one too many holes, maybe it’s time to invest in that first layer of communication.
    18. Business. Anyone who tells you that running an online business or self-employment is easy is either a liar or a fake. That being said, working on your entrepreneurial skills has advantages that go beyond money. Besides doing something you love, you can make new connections, build a reputation and immerse yourself in an environment of learning. I know many people that have started businesses, and while it definitely takes work, the investment is usually worth it.

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    Scott H Young

    Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

    More About Continuous Learning

    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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