Let me start with an unpopular opinion: it’s okay to be selfish; to focus on your own needs first.
Often, many of us are brought up to believe that being selfish is completely wrong; we are made to believe that doing so will create ill feelings between us and our friends, family, or the world in general. I believe this should not be the case. This is because, believe it or not, focusing on your own needs first will benefit you and the world around you in many more ways than if you choose to do the opposite. The value you will add to both your life and the lives of the people important to you may not be immediate, but it is worth it.
You will notice that in none of the statements I have made until now have I said, “focus on what you want.” This distinction is important to make because as much as focusing on your needs can add the greatest value to your life and the lives of those around you, the process often requires sacrifice. And yes, I said sacrifice; that taboo word that no one who aspires to live an easy life wants to hear.
The reason sacrifice comes into the picture is simple: when you focus on your own needs, you should not only learn to say no to the rest of the world, but you should learn to say no to yourself as well. This includes saying no to certain desires you might have that give you temporary satisfaction, but ultimately take away value from the greatest investment – which is YOU. Say no to desires that leave you worse off at the end of the day.
Do you remember that “TASTY BURGER COMBO” that you indulge in regularly? I’m talking about that combo that leaves you begging for more despite putting a dent in your wallet. That one that leaves you begging for more even though hours later you forget about all that goodness like it never happened. Yes, that one. You must learn to say no to buying it! I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself with good food once in a while, but why not buy yourself a book instead?
If you’re skeptical about being selfish enough to buy yourself a book instead of going out and spending all your money this weekend on friends and alcohol (a satisfaction that is temporary), ask yourself about the value you gain from reading a worthwhile book. With a good book you will learn a new skill, a skill that will help you get that promotion, a skill you can turn into a business, or simply a skill that can help ease your life and make you live better. For the young audience, don’t wait for later in life to start buying and reading books and learning the skills these books have to offer. Start now. Just like how an investment in any asset will give you higher returns (more money) if invested for a longer period of time, as opposed to one invested for a shorter period of time; the same principle applies. The earlier you start, the greater the returns.
In case you’re thinking, “But buying and reading books to gain new skills is not investing in anything,” think again. Investment in yourself has an economic term attached to it called human capital investment. This type of investment helps you understand the importance of investing time and money into education and training opportunities. Once enough time and money into education is given, the returns will start to show themselves in the most unimaginable and useful ways. Trust me when I tell you that.
Below is a list of books you can get your hands on in order to start today:
MAKE A DECENT BUSINESS PLAN
- Successful Business Planning in 30 Days by Peter J. Patsula
- Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies by Rhonda Abrams
LEARN TO CODE
- Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction by Steve McConnell
LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
- Becoming Fluent: How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language by Richard M. Roberts, Roger J. Kreuz
LEARN TO DRAW
DEVELOP A LOGICAL OR CREATIVE WAY OF THINKING
- A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science by Barbara Oakley
- Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko
CALCULATE BIG NUMBERS IN YOUR MIND
LEARN TO COOK WELL
LEARN PERSONAL FINANCE
- Become your own financial advisor by Warren Ingram
- Manage Your Money Like A F*cking Grownup by Sam Beckbessinger
The list goes on and on…
In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote by Warren Buffett, who once said: “Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself.”
This article was written by Karabo Motau
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