People forget this (Investment on the Self) because they are advised to get investments on: Stocks, Bonds, Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs), Mutual Funds, Businesses and Real Estate as advertised in billboards, finance people, bankers, ads, seminars and the like. Investment on Self is very much considered an investment because of SIMPLE ECONOMICS.
Basic Resources as defined in Economics as: Land, Capital &, labor, Time and the like which is in a way can be called as “Human Capital” of which training and education is integral adding value to other factors of production. Without this, or skills or talent and knowledge, we cannot do anything productive or even form critical decisions.
Investment on our self is even more important and critical these days since we are now having a Knowledge Based Economy where information is readily available and accessible across various media: radio, tv, print and internet. So the question here is, how do we keep up or make ourselves grow? How do we invest in ourselves? Try out these investment choices:
Volunteering – People think of this as something Pro-Bono or ‘Kawang Gawa’ lang or for the sake of personal satisfaction. But did you know, that one way to get some live application for leadership skills is infact doing volunteer work which definitely sharpens one’s determination and patience. Volunteer work either in church, NGOs, or community is an avenue to develop interpersonal, communication and leadership skills without the pressures, rigidity and formality of the workplace.
In this sort of environment, one is able to naturally let one’s personality flow and leadership capacity surface due to the openess and lack of heirarchy of an organization. The things one learns from this can be a good foundation for your future projects, and endeavors. Even until now, I still do volunteer work.
Extra Studies – Well, this is an obvious choice, but most people easily dismiss this due to cost. Well it doesn’t really mean that what you will take is another bachelors degree or post-graduate studies, but it can be something complementary or supplemental like technical skills courses, diploma or short courses too. If not, there are also Online courses and you also have options for certifications from independent or professional organizations.
For example, I am an Industrial Engineer, but recently the professional organization for IEs (PIIE) has a certification program, if your an IE you have this exclusive opportunity for you.
Sure it will cost you some money but take it as something to refresh you, and also learn something new. If cost do really bothers you, look up your company benefits, who knows they can subsidize your expenses or even full scholarships maybe available as well!
Other choices can be becoming a RFP – Registered Financial Planner, or a be Certified Welder or go for Culinary Arts Classes. Depending on your profession, this can not only add/refresh some skills or knowledge for you, it be a basis for a salary upgrade or can also make you more credible as a professional or enhance one’s reputation within the industry.
READ READ READ – Reading is the MOST UNDERESTIMATED Learning method and although it’s a bit sad that we are not a ‘reading nation’ but I do hope that it will change in the near future. To be honest, I was not a reader until College. Since Elementary and Highschool, I was a forced reader~meaning I had to read to pass an exam (History, Literature and the like). And once I found the Joys and Benefits of Reading, I even have ‘backlog’ books on queue that I need to read!
Reading in a way broadens one’s perspective and sharpens your saw which is your brain. You can read Dailies or newspapers to know what goes on in our country in general and through that, it can also be in a way to spot opportunities to tackle one’s interests, economy, news-in-general or business. I’m a blogger, and I also read other blogs aside from my immediate circle of bloggers or any other interesting article online. Books are the most obvious choice, it can range from fantasy, novels, self-help, and the like niche topics that you can use for your personal growth and development.
Seminars and Trainings – If you work in a company, then there will definitely be free or subsidized seminars provided. Other options can be from external sources (outside your company) provided by other companies or training firms. I hope you also consider comprehensive programs offered by NGOs, which are some-what free but you have to qualify for your spot. If you lack some time, you can wait or observe Expos or Conferences where they may provide some talks, forums or the like activities. If you are exploring to go outside your industry, there are so many entrepreneurship seminars out there as well.
Extra (Curricular) Activities – Well this is not only limited to when you were still in school, but also an option for professionals. One can join a group/club/hobbyists/organizations and avail of their trainings or engage in informal activities since Learning need not be formal in the first place anyway. Do not be limited to the four corners of the classroom, enjoy and explore the school of life! Some successful entrepreneurs were hobbyists who eventually made a business out of it.
You also need not learn or experience everything yourself, you actually have the option to learn from other people, people you meet or network through this groups. As you get to know people, you learn from their experiences or sometimes you never know what you can learn or it can also be an avenue of fighting the love of your life or even a potential business partner.
Ask Dumb Questions (Learning from others again!) – Some agree and some don’t when it comes to this. But for me, it works! It works to have mentors, or it does not have to be mentors but from your immediate influences, circles, friends or colleague. If you have a friend who’s into sales, why not talk to them by grabbing a drink, dinner or catching up session? If you know someone into business or any other interested field that you want, why not talk and ask them?
Most of us would be shy in these sort of situations but you won’t know until you try, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And aside from knowledge transfer, they can also perhaps transfer some of their what-no-to-do’s or wisdom to you! Now that’s really really awesome-valuable-free information!
So what if you are asking dumb questions? It only means you are not knowledgeable in a particular field and you are willing to learn, besides, no one starts out as an expert in the 1st place.
If you don’t have money to invest in specific formal Investment outlets, you have these options to explore and invest in yourself before everything else. These activities are also important since the skills you may get from this can also be used in the other investment activities.
The more skills, knowledge, experience you gain or have, the better equipped, prepared or edge we have in dealing with our work, activities, ventures and challenges.
So, Invest in yourself!