Invest in Yourself
I honestly believe that taking independent action with the goal of improving yourself is one of the most important things you can do (especially as a younger person) and is also highly underrated by society at large.
Sure, there are traditional education structures which give you permission to learn. But from my experience the traditional education system is designed as a means to an end in the formulaic pattern of life. Get good grades in school and get into a university. Get a good degree and get a job within that field. Is there any real reason behind this apart from maintaining the status quo?
I would say that a great majority of these institutions focus on the end result of getting a qualification rather than the actual process of improvement. Who cares if you learn anything? Just tick the box. Get the certificate. And move onto the next stage of your life where you can continue to nod in agreement and stay exactly the same. That’s what the system wants for you.
But is that what you want?
Here’s what you can do.
Think of yourself as a blank slate. Someone untouched by the influences around you.
And then figure out not only what it is you want but more importantly who it is you want to be?
Try to be honest with yourself. Think independently. There are no barriers here. There is no right or wrong answer.
From here you can start using your time constructively to invest in yourself. Ignore those pre-set rules and work on the things that will really help you be the person you need to be.
Read more books. This is something that I have started doing obsessively. Mostly non-fiction books but some fiction too. Stories are a great way of making sense of life in a way that would be very difficult without them.
But what do I read? Where do I start?
If you there is a particular subject that interests you or would help you move towards that vision of your future self then start with that.
If not, just pick something that seems somewhat interesting and start reading. Who knows where it will lead.
If you really don’t have the money to buy book after book, then try googling the book (‘NAME OF BOOK’ PDF) then download it for free…I hate to admit it but this is what I tend to do at the moment as I’m living abroad.
Learn about yourself. Unplug from this hectic world we are living in for a while and be introspective. It’s amazing what you can discover.
Go and do something that scares you or excites you. What is it that presents you with the most resistance or the most passion? Go and try it. I know this can extremely difficult but the payoff is incredible.
Work on your health. Maybe you want to start getting into better shape. Eating at least somewhat healthy is actually not that difficult. The funny thing about this is that the healthier you eat, the better you are going to feel about yourself and the more motivated you are going to be to eat healthy. The hardest part is starting. Just make the decision and do it.
Stop letting mass media take over your life. TV, news, film, games, online content. I’m not suggesting you have to cut yourself off completely from these things but try being a little bit more selective about what you let influence you. Because believe it or not, you are being influenced. All the time. Your beliefs about the world and your beliefs about yourself. Focus on consuming the positive influences. Not the negative ones…however tempting it may be. With today’s internet driven world, you do have a choice.
Society will tell you what it thinks you should do, make as much money as possible and then buy, purchase, spend. This will make you happy! But will it really?
I would argue no. I could write a whole blog post on this subject (and I probably will) but let me put it this way. The money that you make, the things that you buy, they will come and go. They will bring you temporary happiness.
But the person that you become, that will last for a lifetime.
Anyway, I know it’s easy for me to sit at my laptop eating a Chinese lunch box, drinking an ice tea and writing all these instructions on what you should be doing. But this is a topic that is important to me. It’s a topic that I want to focus my blog around more and more as I move forward. I am taking steps in my own life to work on many of the suggestions written above and I will continue to invest in myself.
I’ve got a long way to go and most likely you do too. Let’s get started.