“I am the best investment I can make”, I thought. I had just finished making a payment of $2000 for the membership to an online community around personal growth created by the author Steve Pavlina. I felt uncomfortable yet excited. Uncomfortable because I had never spent that much money in one fell swoop on anything let alone an online community. Excited because I was going to join a group of people as enthusiastic about personal development as I was. I couldn’t wait to meet them.
I didn’t tell my friends or family. They would think I was cuckoo. Who spends $2000 on ‘personal development’? If you have $100,000 in your bank account, sure. If you have $4000 in your bank account? Not a chance. But I had a different take on this. I thought I was being intelligent. In my view, I wasn’t ‘spending’. Rather, I was investing in a place that would bear dividends for the rest of my life – me.
It baffles me that people don’t mind spending money on booze, partying, and other ephemeral (and often detrimental) stuff but balk at the thought of spending on resources that can advance their skills, character, and mindset. I’ve often found it much easier to convince myself to spend on things like coaching, books, online community memberships, courses, etc. I might think ten times before I buy a new pair of jeans (do I really need it?) but will sign up for a course on upgrading my mindset in a heartbeat.
This isn’t true across the board, of course. I often see people who want to get better at their craft and are playing at a bigger level – top performers in any field, top athletes, business owners – investing heavily in themselves. They are constantly investing in themselves one way or another. Some pay a pretty penny to the top coaches in the world to up level themselves. People like Tony Robbins get paid $1 million per coaching session.
The general populace, though, views money as a scarce resource. Anything that is non-essential is considered a luxury. Additionally, personal development itself is considered as largely unnecessary. These are ‘soft skills’, aren’t they? That’s not something you spend money on. According to me, investing in oneself is one of the most essentials things. Also, the lower you are on the rung, the more necessary it becomes.
I’ve found that investing in oneself doesn’t need to be an expensive affair. It doesn’t have to be a $2000 membership access to the Conscious Growth Club. It can be books borrowed from the library. It can be the gazillion free resources available on the internet. When I was in my early adulthood, I devoured dozens upon dozens of books from the public library to feed my mind and soul. Later, I listened to the innumerable podcasts that would help me develop a better mindset. After I started earning and had money to spend on audiobooks, I transitioned to those. Then I invested in inexpensive courses on Udemy. Slowly I started purchasing premium courses online. The interesting thing about paying a premium for content is that you take it seriously and actually do the work to get the maximum out of it. If you have an expensive dress, you’ll make sure that you keep it in pristine shape.
These days I believe in the concept of investing in myself so deeply that the only question I ask before I invest in something is, “Will this help me grow at warp speed?” I’m obsessed with results. Anything that gets me closer to my goals at a faster rate worth it. I see investing in myself as a top priority. Currently, my #1 goal is to write my novel from a place of creative flow. To this end, I listen to books such as On Writing by Stephen King, write for 3-4 hours a day, and read fiction daily. I have a coach I work with who is helping me hone in on the right mindset to being a pro writer.
Maybe it’s weird or uncommon, but I wouldn’t know a better place to put my faith and money in than myself. No amount of booze, clothes, or partying can replace the satisfaction of watching myself morph from an amateur to a pro and achieving my goals at warp speed.