Take some time to invest in yourself

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: CHRISTOPHER MISZCZAK
How much are you willing to invest in your own growth?

When we think of the word investing, what comes to mind? For a lot of individuals, the picture that is painted is the stock market in which many use to buy and sell stock. While technically investing is a part of that job, that is actually referred to as trading. This is because you are literally trading stock back and forth for a profit.

This story begins so long ago that no one in my own family even remembers where and whom it came from. However, this idea has been passed down for generations. When it comes to raising the next generation, we are provided with five jars. Labelled accordingly: Tithing, Offering, Saving, Spending, and finally Investing.

There has been something about this that has always clicked with me. It has always provided perspective in terms of learning how to save and budget. More importantly however, it has taught me how to manage one’s time and internal resources. I do not know how many sleepless nights I have had where I have been picturing those five jars in my mind, thinking about my own happiness, stress, time, mental health, and even education. I would argue that time management is one of the most important skills that you can have in your arsenal. I also think that when people hear the word “management” or even “investment” they can become a little intimidated. I have found though that the more that we surround ourselves with the concepts and familiarize ourselves with what these words mean, the less intimated we become.

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When I started studying at Fanshawe College, one of the biggest things that I was told that a challenge would be time management. At the time I thought that this meant that one simply had to organize the time they had with the commitments they may have. It was at this stage, once again thinking about those five jars that really got me thinking more about the time that we should be dedicating to internal investment. The tools that we have internally have a greater profit than pure monetary gain.

After a long day, I will sometimes take a nap, I would go for a walk, or I would take a relaxing soak and read a book. For the longest time I would be looking at this as quite simply taking a break — now I am thinking about this as an investment. It is an investment because we are saving ourselves a lot of stress, anxiety, and grief in the future just to take care of yourself a little bit at a time. It is amazing how a 15-minute or 30-minute investment in yourself now can save hours of stress, anxiety, and grief in the future.

Not terribly long ago someone told me that it looked like that I was in control and had a cool head. At the time, what I did not communicate is that all I was doing was managing my time not just for the workload that I had — but also for the time to unwind that I knew that I needed as well. The simple truth is that the work is never-ending. I still have a lot of work and a lot of stress. I am however taking the time to manage that stress.

So, what is investment, knowing this and having this perspective? Quite simply, it is growth. Thomas Jefferson once wrote “The harder that we work, the more luck we seem to have.” This quote got me thinking about how the education that we are pursuing today is helping us leverage and invest in our collective future, to witness growth firsthand. Much more importantly what it has done for our collective disposition.

The perspective provided by this reflection is that everything can be treated as a currency or a trade of some kind. One trades time for exercise for the benefit of your health. One trades trust when they reveal a secret to a close friend. One trades food for energy. One even trades tuition for education, knowledge, expertise, and networking opportunities.

The question that I pose then, how many tokens of stress will you trade in for a greater return of investment in the future? How many tokens of unwinding will you invest today for a greater return tomorrow? How much will you invest in your own emotional well-being? The return on your investment on what you spend on today, will surprise you for your return in the future — especially when you are feeling richer, refreshed, and in control.