A tremendous amount of my decisions result from a self-investment mentality.  I use this mentality for everything from choosing a meal to choosing a university.  For the means of this post, we need to narrow the scope of this mentality to one area — finding and chasing your dreams.

Investment Costs

I have over 30 different paid online courses stashed away for my future enrollment.  The courses in total equate to thousands of dollars of material.  The investment is bountiful beyond that, however.  The true investment is time and energy.

Enter Self-Investment Mentality

Payoffs shouldn’t be financial, unless that is what your true self values. (Hint: if you think that applies to you, you are likely incorrect.  Most people don’t understand what their values are.)

My payoffs are: learning something new about a topic; learning something new about myself; building a wanted habit; reaching a goal.

Yours don’t have to follow that, but they should follow your values. My values embrace lifelong learning and personal growth – a great fit.

Have you had this mindset? (Spoiler Alert: Yes!)

I can’t say that I was always fixated on self-investments, yet I do have a history.  I think most people do, but unless we make it top-of-mind, we miss out on many opportunities.  It was not salient for me until recently, and the benefits have been tremendous.

Side Note – You have to be willing to take risks!  Perhaps making a point to keep this mindset will help your risk taking endurance!

Avoiding the multitude of issues in higher education, one major issue is the value of learning.  Many college students value small short-term fortune for experience that allows long-term benefits.  I was there for months at a job that I made incredible money in for a college student.

At some point though, I needed to decide to invest in myself instead of my bank account.  TRUE SELF-INVESTMENT.

So, I found opportunities that I would learn from and enjoy.  Some paid nothing, others paid a wage so low it wasn’t legal.  Compensation was moving toward my dreams.

Yet so many people, from college students to established white-collar workers and on, get lost in the shuffle. The struggle for financial gains captures everyone, poor to rich. But that isn’t self-investing.

That is greed. But it isn’t our fault — that’s how society has formed us. Our values are predetermined. Work overtakes family, friends, hobbies, and personal growth.

Personal Example

In summer of 2013 I made my first major self-investment course.  I took a startup Business Development class by successful BD-artist Scott Britton.  The total cost was $300 and a few hours of my time.  Being a long-time multitasker, I finally found a way to bring my attention to one task – the course.  I believe it was the monetary investment I made that drove my time and energy investment.  By focusing on it exclusively I received tremendous added benefits.  This was in stark contrast to my usual passive style of listening to materials.

Self Investment: $300, 6+ hours of my time

Return on Investment: Huge understanding of the Biz Dev career, requirements, and personal insight on my alignment to Biz Dev and learning.

110% worth my investment.  I tried another course in October that ran me a solid $900, plus $100 in supplies.  I had a similar result to the Biz Dev course, but I haven’t completely implemented my learning.  I can’t yet speak to the success of what is in-process.

Both took investments of hard-earned cash.  Neither promised to earn that money back as a result.  Still, no buyer’s remorse.

In Conclusion, the Benefits:

a. Choose your own values;

b. Value what you choose (i.e., less buyer’s remorse);

c. Don’t get caught in the whirlwind of life and lose sight of your dreams (e.g., choose the high paying job over your beloved work).

Actions For You

Unless you know of a way that works great for you, here’s my suggestion:

1) Write a note reminding you of this mentality on your desk, or wherever you spend a lot of time.

2) Schedule a weekly check-up on this note. All you need to do is take a moment to reflect on the note. Honestly, did you use this mentality? (For your first time reading this post and if you haven’t been using this mentality, you can use it immediately. I bet you’ve already begun thinking about how you have, have not, or could use it.)

3) When done, move the note somewhere noticeable but elsewhere. Even the other side of your desk helps. Notes in the same place always end up forgotten!


Let me know in the comments below of your own mindsets, similar or different.  Whether you think this is useless or great, let me know!