The Best Investment . . .

mom and dad

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

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
This entry was posted in Human Psychology, John R Childress, Life Skills, parenting, Personal Development, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Best Investment . . .

  1. So believe this John. Great post.


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