Avoid Ground Hog Day... Invest In Your Most Valuable Asset - YOU!
Updated: Jul 12, 2020
"The swiftest way to triple your success is to double your investment in personal development" Robin Sharma
"You’ll have a more rewarding life not only in terms of how much money you make but how much fun you have out of life; you’ll make more friends the more interesting person you are. So go to it, invest in yourself" Warren Buffet
If one of the most financially successful men on this planet tells us to invest in ourselves, then who are we to argue?! Well, this could be one of the shortest blogs ever but I want to share my perspectives and experiences to further persuade you that investing in yourself will not only pay for itself many times over financially but will also lead to a much more interesting and fulfilled life too.
Stand still and become obsolete
The television programme which had the biggest influence on my career choice was called "Troubleshooter". It was presented by a fantastically charismatic and successful former chief executive, Sir Harvey Jones. Each week Sir Harvey would be invited to visit a company struggling to make money - and many of these companies were old, established and prestigious companies (e.g. Wedgewood Crystal, Morgan cars) and they asked Sir Harvey to evaluate them and advise them.
I found the weekly show riveting and Sir Harvey was one of the main reasons I wanted to become a management consultant. His advice was always constructive, pragmatic and effective and he made it look so easy! I think you can still watch these episodes on YouTube - highly recommended as Sir Harvey is very entertaining too!
It covers a broad range of activities - but the one thing they all have in common is that doing something new breaks your old established patterns of thinking. Why is this so important? Career-wise - unless we learn new skills and keep on improving, you're going to find it tough to get promoted or achieve a more interesting career. Even worse, you will probably find your job being taken over by a more hungry and ambitious colleague!
On a personal level, doing new things and learning new things makes us and life more interesting. Who wants to go through life doing the same thing day after day for your whole life - what a boring groundhog day!
Why am I telling you this story? Well, because this story is relevant to individuals as well as companies. What does investing in yourself mean? Investing is spending either time or money or both to acquire new knowledge and skills.
So the possibilities are endless -
going on courses
learning a new language
listening to experts via podcasts
joining new clubs
learning a new skill or hobby
Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not asking or advising you to read a new book every week or take up skateboarding or take up new hobbies regularly - nothing extreme! I am suggesting that you should try something new at least once a quarter and each year, try and plan what new activities or hobbies you might want to do. Although I have been doing this for a few years, its only been in the last couple of years that I have been putting my thoughts down on paper.
So for this year, I have given myself a target to learn to cycle properly and do at least one 50 mile bike ride, publish at least 6 blogs and read 20 books a year. The benefit of writing it down is that it gives you something to focus on and helps you to review your progress too.
What's been my experience of self-development?
My biggest investment has been to do an MBA whilst I was in my thirties - to do this I took a year off work (unpaid) and did a one year course at Warwick Business School. Previously, I had also trained as an accountant and worked for an accountancy firm in London. However, I always felt that I need to broaden my knowledge and thought an MBA would be an ideal way to achieve this as it covered so many business topics that I hadn't studied before.
Of course, it was a risk as there are no guarantees that the investment would lead to anything better. But it was one of the best decisions I made. The course was fantastic, I made some life long friends and I learned so much! When I returned to work,