I was sometimes asked, “What is the best investment you’ve made?”. My answer is always the same – the best investment is in myself.
Investing in yourself does not necessarily require money. It requires something of more value — time.
I was an average student with an average goal when I was still in college. I want to graduate, pass the board exam, work for forty years, then retire.
That was common thinking for many Filipinos because we also observed from the previous generations, especially thru our parents, relatives, and other adults.
However, a turning point in my life changed my goals and aspirations for the future. I started to re-learn how to learn and how to improve myself.
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Reading and the Importance of Continuous Development
In the six months that I was unemployed following my board exam, I read a very familiar book for everyone moving on their financial journey.
The book I was referring to was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Though I can’t entirely agree with some of his ideas, that book was still instrumental in my journey to personal development.
Following that book, I read more about the opportunities in investing, which opened a gateway to looking up more resources on the Internet. Soon, I also learned about budgeting and managing my finances.
That’s why even before I received my first paycheck, I was already moving towards my journey towards financial freedom.
Sometimes Boredom Can Be Helpful
Reading has never been my strong point growing up, but I had nothing to do all day on the bench during the first three months of my first job.
Because of my abundance of time, I decided to start and soon finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. That book was the one that got me hooked on reading.
In 2015, I bought and read more books than I ever did in the first 23 years of my life.
Also, during that period, I had enough time to read every blog post Sir Fitz Villafuerte wrote, laying the foundation for my personal finance journey.
Attending Free and Paid Seminars
When I was still in Metro Manila, my weekend calendar was usually full of seminars, conferences, runs, hikes, and various activities in and out of the city.
There were even months when my weekends were fully booked that even my sister needed to find a schedule to meet me.
One of the transformational seminars for me was with IMG, especially its hierarchy of a strong financial foundation, which I’ve already written here.
The Forward Pilipinas Conference was also instrumental in my thinking regarding going to places and events where you’ll feel insecure.
Also, I only started writing confidently because of one of the presentations I attended at the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival (PRWF) in Makati.
I attended events and seminars that were free and paid face-to-face or online, alone or with friends and many more.
Since then, my goal has been to leverage my learning through other people’s knowledge and experiences and see if they are applicable to my life.
Maximizing Social Media For Productivity and Learning
Though I wrote something about digital minimalism and limiting social media, it is essential to understand that we should always set our boundaries.
There’s plenty of trash on various social media platforms, but there are also gems.
We must be careful where we look because social media can be a great avenue of learning, both beneficial and harmful.
I followed different pages and personalities on Facebook, which are helpful while avoiding entertainment pages (except NBA), celebrities, and even some of my FB friends.
My favorite social media platforms today are LinkedIn and YouTube because they offer the greatest value to me. With the right content and the right people and creators, we can learn many things.
Always remember to use social media in moderation. The social media algorithm is mainly designed to show us what we like to see, so it is still good to look at the other side and maintain a level of reality.
Transfer of Learning, Binding Them All Together
While we learn about many things, evaluating what is valuable and what is not is crucial.
Learning from many sources can be overwhelming, so we must align them with our values.
So many things on the Internet are not beneficial to anyone, so we need to be careful. Take what you need, and discard the things which are not helpful.
The concept of transfer of learning is crucial for us to connect what we learned and apply it to new situations and contexts—some of the things we know can be used in other aspects of our lives.
Though I formally learned this concept in my Educational Psychology Subject, I was unaware that I was already applying some of them.
An example is how playing computer games led me to understand more about economics and how minor subjects became helpful in strengthening my communication skills.
When we invest in ourselves, we gained a better position to improve our lives. Money should also not be a hindrance in our journey toward personal development.
We have to maximize our resources and our learning opportunities.
Also, finding a mentor is crucial to minimize our learning curve. Always remember that what information we consume will eventually manifest in us, so we need to be careful.
Finally, the beauty of life is we can always restart. We can change our dreams, we can change careers, and we can constantly improve our lives.
If ever we need to restart, remember that we are not starting from scratch but from experience. God Bless!
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