Investing in yourself is necessary and highly valuable in the cultivation of a happy and enjoyable life. I hope to offer some new insight and ideas to implement into your self development.

Listen to the audio for this article below:

Before hopping to my recommendations, here are a few results from other blogs when asking Google: “invest in yourself 20 something”

Huffington Post (Top 10 Ways to Invest in Yourself and Why It’s So Powerful)
Set goals
Honor intuition
Invest time in your creativity
Build your confidence
Read educational books
Attend seminars & workshops
Take care of your health
Choose to be happy
Work on bucketlist
Invest in a coach

Thought Catalog (18 Habits To Start In Your 20s)
Start saving money ($20/week)
Learn how to do taxes
Invest in First Aid kit
Go outside “your type” when dating
Medical basics
Eat more greens
Workouts you don’t hate
Do homework on disease in your family
Long-term investment spending (car, house, quality shoes)
Connect with mentors

There are several decent ideas in these lists which will provide small to big value if you add them to your life. However, I want to look at key investments that have huge returns over a lifetime if begun early and with effort.

 

Self awareness is one of the greatest strengths you can develop.

If you become aware while you’re young, it will alter your trajectory and allow you to enjoy a life in line with your values and aspirations. It takes time and work to develop but is well worth the effort.

Where to begin? Sit with the following questions, do your own analysis, and dive deep.

Who have you been up to this point in your life?

This specifically is not “Who are you?” That is an enormous and almost impossible question that just results in paralysis. Understanding who you’ve been sets you free for growth in any direction you wish moving forward.

We all have biases and interests that resulted from the opportunities and exposure of our upbringing. Detaching your likes and dislikes from a static image of your self and asking how they came to be will let you choose which biases really ring true for you under the scrutiny of analysis.

This will open paths and new interests for you to explore. It could take could take many weeks or months to fully answer this question, but it is well worth the effort.

What industry will you be most effective? Or how can you make the most impact in the world with your current skill-set?

Although it is enticing to search for a long term and lifetime purpose, again, the timescale is too long and leaves you paralyzed, unsure by all the uncertainty and choice.

When answering these questions, it may be more valuable to squeeze the timescale down to 6 months – 2 years. Using such a constraint will move you towards action where you can develop reasonable goals and begin the necessary work towards those goals.

If you don’t have an initial answer to these questions, let them simmer in your mind and come back to them every so often over the next few months. Eventually, you’ll develop a good answer and be able to take some new actions accompanied by the new knowledge gained about your self.

 

What else? Movement!

If I didn’t plug exercise this wouldn’t be a legit post on self investment, right? Instead of why exercise, why move? Exercise may seem like a bigger commitment and there’s plenty of content on that subject. But exercise is a facet of movement.

There is a theory on the development of brains which offers that the driver for the evolution of brains was movement. Sea Squirts float in the sea looking for a lifetime home. Once it settles in, it no longer needs a navigation system and digests it’s own brain!

Homo-sapiens obviously don’t digest our own brains, but movement in our daily lives pays dividends to our long term health. Exercise is one of best drugs. The brain rewards us as we increase movement and can also improve our brain power like executive functioning.

Maybe you’ve never walked around the neighborhood, climbed mountains, danced, boxed, or biked before but that doesn’t mean you can’t start now (or soon).

Outside of aesthetics, a lifestyle of movement results in a healthier brain which will benefit all aspects of your life. Figure out fun or just bearable ways to increase movement in your own life and let it become a habit of your lifestyle.

 

Develop a voracious appetite for novelty.

The brain loves new stuff, whether it is a new experience or simply new knowledge. New experiences may come with anxiety or nervousness beforehand, but pushing past uncomfortable boundaries will result in a more interesting and rewarding life.

The great thing about new knowledge is seldom does it ever hangout with anxiety or nervousness. If you are frustrated by school or out of school and no longer being “educated”, don’t starve your mind from the luxury of learning.

Maybe you haven’t experienced true learning before. Learning is not about tests or exam scores, it’s about absorbing new knowledge in areas specifically of interest to you. If you don’t enjoy learning, maybe you’re actually just being “educated”.