Investing in Yourself

It was the last class before graduation and the professor asked the class to do an exercise. “There are 10,080 minutes in a week. Project for me how you plan to use those 10,080 minutes once you start working. Use major categories of time such as work, sleep, etc.”

The class spent some time doing their projections. Once they were through, the professor put the range of estimates on the board. The estimates were as expected with a few exceptions.

Then the professor asked the students to estimate how much money they intended to invest in building their future wealth. By future wealth, he specially mentioned their retirement savings. Again, he put the range of estimates on the board. While these estimates had a wider range, no one planned to allocate less than 2% to building their future wealth.

The professor then commented, “I find this very interesting. You’ve given some serious thinking to your future and I’m glad you are thinking now about your future financial security. But what you haven’t thought about apparently is investing in yourself.”

“Investing in yourself consists of things you do to prepare yourself for the future you want to live. Some of those things might be time spent in furthering your education, purposeful activities leading to mindfulness, explorations about possible future interests, and others. Basically, investing in yourself is a commitment you make to yourself.” 

“If you spend just one hour a week investing in yourself, that’s just .6% of your week. If you allocate as much time investing in yourself as you invest in wealth generation that would be close to 3.5 hours/week.” 

“You know the consequences of not investing for your financial future. But have you thought about the consequences of not investing in yourself? Here are some: burnout, mental fatigue, obsolescent skills, brain drain, loss of curiosity, etc. I don’t think any of you want that to be your future.” 

“Sitting here right now, each of you are thinking you will invest in yourself. But guess what: life happens. Your job eats away at your time. Family demands your attention. You over-obligate yourself to social activities. The next thing you know, you put nothing into your self-investment piggybank.” 

“I’ll leave with a quote from Albert Einstein: ‘Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it’.”

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“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pelé (Soccer great)

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