What are you investing in for 2015? Have you decided yet? Never invested before? Let’s talk about investments.
What is it that you think of when you hear the word “investments”? If you are anything like me you think of money, the stock market or even Wall Street. You might think of businesses, the Dow Jones Industrial, averages, mutual funds, hedge funds, online trading or retirement. I was not a business major in college. Also, when talking about investments in the traditional sense, my mind gets a little boggled. Yet I feel that investments are a great way to capture the idea of increasing value or profit and loss when discussing personal growth, happiness and life satisfaction.
For the sake of clarity and to get to my point, let’s look at the definition of “investment”. According to Investopedia, the definition of investment is:
“An asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future. In an economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or appreciate and be sold at a higher price.” (Investopedia Site, 2015).
So taking into consideration this definition, I wanted to discuss a new way to think about investments. In this new perspective investing is an interaction. Also, ‘to invest’ is a verb or an action. In the traditional sense, money is our currency and investments are used to obtain a profit or material result. However, money is not our only currency. Therefore, when we shift our perspective regarding investments, it is evident that we make investments all the time in which we may or may not expect a return. Sometimes we make an investment and are unhappy with the return which produces frustration. For example, time is another currency that we use yet many people may not see time as a currency. You see, we all have the same 24-hours in a day and how we spend our time could be equated to how we make or spend our money.
In other words, if time were money, would you spend it the same way? Or, would you be more conscientious about how you spend your time?
When you go to work, you are making an investment of your time in exchange for a paycheck and in some cases an exciting, rewarding career. If you are business owner, you invest your time (and money) into your business working towards obtaining a return on your investment in terms of a business profit, a paycheck, fulfilling your passion or purpose and a rewarding career.
After work, where do you invest your time? Are you investing your time into television, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, books, self-improvement, learning, video games, reading articles, activities such as hiking, raquetball, swimming, paddleboarding, surfing, etc.? All of these could be pleasurable activities in which you may or may not reap the benefits of your investment in one or more areas of your life. Some people may spend loads of time watching videos about adorable, cute and cuddly, fuzzing looking cats. People love watching these cute cat videos and why not? They are so stinking cute, right? But, in the time people are watching videos of cats, they may find pleasure, a good laugh or giggle, and an uplifting experience in watching cute cats do silly things. But, is this a quality investment of your time?
If you spend time watching cat videos and accept that this is how the time was spent, and you are okay with it, then the return on your investment is satisfactory. If you spend hours watching cat videos or engage in any other activity, and then mentally beat yourself up over it because the time was lost, or something else did not get done, or a belief is created that the time was “wasted” watching cat videos (or any other activity) then it is recognized as poor investment of time. This is because the investment has created a frustration or unhappiness with one’s investment of time. And, ultimately, that time was lost without a profitable exchange.
In terms of body and health, investments in health and in one’s body are made in a few different ways. For example, investments in one’s body and health could be characterized by purchasing and eating foods that fuel your body’s needs (healthy proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables, etc.). Exercising is a time and energy exchange to achieve long-term health benefits of wellness such as endurance and longevity. You may also reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as an investment over a period of time engaging in these activities which also could be characterized by steady blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. This theory of course excludes a genetic predisposition, but I digress.
Therefore, when you eat foods that fuel your body and when you exercise to maintain your muscle mass, movement and heart health, there is a high probability that you will gain a high return on your investment, i.e. your health.
If you have invested in yourself through a gym membership, but never use it, is this a good investment of your money (and the time you spent to sign up)? If you have invested in leafy greens but do not eat them, is this a good investment of your money? If you have invested in purchasing a book or online course that promotes wellness or self-development but do not invest your time to take the course, is this a good investment of your money?
If you spent your time on your own personal growth like you spent your money on personal growth, would this be a quality investment?
So when there is a shift in thinking and in perspective of how someone invests in one’s body, in one’s mind, in one’s own personal development, workplace or business, there is a greater and deeper understanding of investments. Also, with this increased awareness, there is a greater consciousness that emerges. Also, as a nation, we have more money than we do time, yet we spend our time a lot more frivolously than we do our money.
It is understandable that there is a desire to invest and reap the rewards and gain greater return on investments made. However, so many of us make the investment without following through to reap the rewards. So my question and challenge to you for 2015 is not only to ask what you will your investments be for 2015, but also what return on your investments do you expect? And, if you are making investments that no longer serve you or will not bring you a greater return, how will you alter your investing power to gain a greater return? In other words, since we know that time is just as valuable as money, how will we spend our time this year? Will it become more, less or as equally valuable as money?
The greater point here is to practice mindful awareness regarding how you invest in anything. Do what brings you joy and fulfillment. If this comes in exchange for your time, is it a good investment? You are the best person to know what is time well spent, and time ill spent. So, with this, I would like to give you a few questions that you can ask yourself to help with your investments this year.
How can you be more mindful of your daily investments (activities in exchange for time, food and exercise in exchange for time/energy/health, etc.)
What are the top five investments that you would like to focus on for this year and what is the exchange?
For example, if you focus on health – what investment will you make in this category to get a greater return? (Exercise, Food, etc.)
If you focus on time, how will you adequately or joyously spend your time so you can consciously feel that it is “time well spent”?
Feel free to run wild with this to plan your investments so that you can focus on the increase in return while also knocking out old habits that do not provide you with an adequate return on your investments.
Essentially, this is a new way to help you shift your perspective on time and on investing in you and what actions this may entail. As we are giving a limited amount of time on this earth and as I imagine it is important to make that time count. What are you doing to invest in yourself, your life and to leave your mark by giving back?
Where will you place your investments in 2015? I look forward to your comments below.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” -Benjamin Franklin
“Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” –Jim Rohn
Investment Definition: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/investment.asp
In love and light,