Investing In Your Greatest Asset

The greatest asset you own is yourself.

Your skills, traits,  talents, and experiences are the greatest possessions you own.  Cultivating and developing these skillsets provides innumerable returns—happiness, well-being, financial prosperity, sense of purpose.

When we typically think of investments, often the first things that come to mind are stocks, bonds, 401k’s, roth IRAs, etc.

Your financial investment activity might be guided by comparing various opportunity costs.  A 30-year mortgage, student loan repayments, or expected return investing in the market.

Often forgotten in the investment portfolio is the development of self.  By shifting your focus and considering yourself as an asset, you can apply the same concepts of compounding interest into leveraging your own abilities.

Analysis of your personal “portfolio,” so-to-speak, can often result in sudden changes.

This can look somewhat perplexing to others who aren’t aligned with your interior motives.  You want to quit your job and do what now?  What the hell is wrong with you.  Career changes, moving to a new place, returning to school, night classes, or investing in new tools and resources to help further expand upon goals—all these are micro examples of what investing in yourself can look like.

Your greatest asset take a long time to develop.  It can be years before you see any return on your investment.  This can be a really frustrating part of the process.

But when you set yourself up with a long-term growth orientation, you capitalize on compounding interest.  It’s slow at first, but with consistency, can provide exponentials results.

Let’s say we marginalized your skill development to a penny .  You may have spent $1000’s or tens of $1,000’s on schooling, training, or additional resources that provide you with a $0.01 increment of development per month.  The fool says: this is a waste of my time.  It’ll take me over 100,000 months before I see any return on my investment, and even then, I will just have broken even.

The wiser one recognizes the compounding interest that comes with investing in yourself.  A penny today becomes two pennies next month, then four the next month.

It may seem small at first, but overtime your asset grows and accumulates development.  All skills and ideas start this way.  As a fledgling thought; a seeded idea.  The initial growth can feel painstakingly slow.  You might feel lured away from pursuing a passion or dream you always wanted to follow, but never did.

One of the biggest excuses used is age.  We often view learning and passion development as something that falls between the ages of 5-18, when brains still largely forming.  If you miss the window, sorry, you’re shit out of luck.

But this is largely an excuse, and intuitively, we know it.  Big audacious goals are scary to stare down.  Yet there are plenty of examples of people who made incredible changes, even late into life.

J.K. Rowling didn’t get her Harry Potter series approved for publishing until she was 32.  Benny Lewis, my favorite polyglot, didn’t start language studies until his twenties, and now speaks 7 languages fluently and conversational in 4.  Jan Koum, founder of Whatsapp didn’t start until he was in his 30’s.  He was previously rejected by Facebook when applying for a job, only to come back a couple years later and sell Whatsapp for $19 billion.

Going back to penny development per month example, what do you suppose the penny grows to after 1 year?  What about after 5?   The four pennies of development one month turns to eight then next; then sixteen.

Your skill continues to develop.  You gain confidence, expanding upon your abilities.

After 1 full year, that single penny per month has now compounded into a $20.12 unit of development per month

It’s often counter-intuitive, because we view things linearly rather than exponential.  But investing in yourself is juat that.  Continuous small and steady gains, that provide exponential gains over time.

After 2 years, that single penny per month has transformed to over $880,000.

Investing in yourself often looks like this.  Painstakingly small gains that stack up in ascending results.  Much like a rocket uses over half of its fuel to take off the ground, investing in yourself takes time and resources.  But those who do it right experience life above the stratosphere.

How will you invest in yourself today?