Best Investment You have Ever Made?

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So what is the best investment you’ve ever made? Someone asked me this the other day. Real estate? Stocks? Commodities? For me, it’s none of the above.

The best investment I ever made was in myself.

That’s because investing in yourself is the only investment you can make where you are in total control of how well it will perform for you. There’s an adage which says that the most efficient use of capital is you spending your own money on something for yourself. You know what you want and why, as well as what you are prepared to pay for it. Any other type of investment depends on external factors beyond your control, leaving you hoping for the best. The success of your investment in yourself, however, is dependent only on you.

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Accumulating piles of money is in no way proof of savvy investing, especially when you look at all the phenomenally wealthy people who can’t help but complain about how miserable their lives are. I know too many people who are addicted to accumulating money at the expense of their own happiness and true success. Investing in yourself and your family with things that make you all happy and healthy is truly the best investment anyone can ever make. Anyone who disagrees is most likely either a grumpy millionaire or an aspiring grumpy millionaire who thinks money will make him or her happy.

Investment in yourself can take many forms: not just money, but also time and personal sacrifices. It may be about fulfilling life-held dreams to experience something special, for others it’s about learning something new. Often it’s about developing your career and opening up the opportunities that will provide greater job satisfaction or financial rewards.

However, too often we meet people who know they want to do something that will help them to get more out of their life but feel unable to make that commitment. The only person in the world that is telling them it’s impossible is themselves. But that’s also fixable because it’s your decision to take. You control it.

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As Alistair Cox shared his experience in one of his articles – “I’ve faced this question myself. As a young engineer, I spent my early career exploring for oil in the North Sea. Despite a good job and a clear career path ahead, I recognized that there were other things I wanted to achieve in my life and career that were likely unattainable on my current path. In my case, I chose further education as the route to open up new options. My investment in myself was to put myself through graduate school and take my MBA.

The cost: 2 years out of work while I studied and a large bill for tuition and the cost of living during that time. That’s a lot at stake, but it was a risk I was willing to accept because the outcome was in my hands. It turned out to be absolutely the best investment decision I have ever taken because it put me in greater control of my own destiny. Financially it has paid off many times over. But more importantly, it gave me the opportunity to pursue the sort of life and career I really wanted.”

So think about it. What is the investment you could make in yourself that would make a big difference? Because when you invest in yourself, you are placing a bet and your trust in the only thing you can really control: you.

“Invest in yourself. You can afford it. Trust me.” 

What am I missing here? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in!

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