My father began his career as a teacher, then became a Principal (Head Master) and later the Superintendent of Schools for a county in California. He was an educator all his life and believed in education. But he was definitely not a businessman. He wasn’t very good with money, although we never had much in the first place so there wasn’t any extra to invest.
However, he did have some good investment advice and to be honest, out of all the clever business people I have met over the years as a global management consultant, his advice is by far the best.
The best investment you can make is in yourself!
The ROI (Return on Investment) is by far greater than any other type of investment; property, gold, stocks, bonds. And it is an investment that improves with age (which is atypical of most other types of investments).
He singled out the four best investments to make in yourself:
your health, mind, reputation, and your integrity.
These are lifetime investments, but they are not one-time investments! You must make an investment daily in all four of these areas.
The former Fidelity Fund manager Peter Lynch, in his book, Beating the Street, recommends an investment strategy of finding a solid company with good management and not investing all at once, but on a regular schedule, no matter what the market conditions. He believes this habit builds a greater ROI over time than does sporadic investing with large sums.
Another way to look at it. Investing in yourself is like practicing the violin. We learned this from my daughter’s violin professor, who constantly reminds her that she can’t skip practice for a couple of days and then catch up by practicing twice as long in one day. It doesn’t work that way.
Practicing an instrument is actually building up a mind-muscle memory, or pathway, and it takes the time in between practice sessions for the biochemistry of your neural pathways to solidify the patterns of movement (that’s my layman’s version of how it happens).
The same is true for investing in your health, mind, reputation and integrity. You must be working on it every day in order to reap the positive life-long benefits of your investment.
What’s your self-investment plan?
Thanks for joining the dialogue.
John R Childress
Senior Advisor on Corporate Culture, Leadership and Strategy Execution
Author of LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid
PS: John also writes thriller novels