Sunday, March 29, 2009


When we think ‘investment,’ especially in an economic climate like now, most of us will ask "WHAT should I invest in now that times are challenging and so unpredictable? Is it properties, bonds, or equities? What will still give me the best returns?" 10%? Or 20%? Or more?"

We need to think different. And if you really think about it, there is ONE singular investment you can make that could bring you not 10% or 20%, 100% or hey, even way past 1000% in returns if you invest it well. In fact, investing in this could give you returns that could reap dividends for a lifetime. If you think it’s your car, or your home, or your stocks and bonds, you’re wrong. What’s that, you may ask?

The answer is simple: INVEST IN YOURSELF.Your most valuable asset is YOURSELF. Your knowledge and your skills are your intellectual assets - and it literally knows no price. Its value cannot be measured through dollars and cents - but it can be measured by the success of your life. Your knowledge makes YOU an asset (or a liability to others when there’s lack of it.)

When you’re mired in turbulent times, and the external economic situation is so uncertain, what’s left to rely on but yourself? Consider your other options:

• Property prices are unstable
• The share market presents itself as one long gloomy tunnel with no light at the end of it
• Doing the tried-and-tested thing of ‘saving’ your money can yield losses when interest rates are lower than the inflation rate!

For me, one of the main reasons why many people get trapped when a recession takes place and end up stalling in place or worse, regressing backward instead of moving forward and succeeding, is because they’ve got their priorities wrong. In other words, they’ve failed to focus on the ESSENTIAL.

They focus instead on the trivial things in life. They tend to concentrate on unimportant things that bring short-term benefits or short-lived happiness without paying attention to the more significant matters that will actually make a substantial difference in their lives.

What do I mean by this? Well, when I say ‘things’ I literally mean ‘things!’ We all know people who wouldn’t blink an eye spending hard-earned money “salary” (even in critical economic times like this) on the latest gadget like a smart phone or the iPod Touch, a game console, a new LV or Gucci bag and designer silk curtains and drapes for their apartment, luxury watches, designer eye glasses, new car and... the list goes on.But these same people would very well think twice... or ten times before deciding to invest in themselves through education, training and personal development. Funny isn’t it? Maybe because the latest LV bag is a tangible thing that they can hold and feel, and show off to friends. While the results of self-investment are intangible and it takes time to bear fruit.You know, we would never forget to feed our bodies several times a day (or more) but sometimes we literally fail to feed our minds just as often. We are all aware that failing to feed our bodies will cause our physical selves to suffer as our bodies starve or suffer from malnutrition. But truly successful individuals also know that feeding the mind works in much the same way as they feed their bodies. We all have to keep our minds healthy by giving it sustenance - be it through books, classes, seminars, and self-development courses. If not, we might very well have a healthy body but only with a mind that is weak and fast-becoming obsolete. And how can an underfed mind keep up with the challenges of our present economy?

Well... don’t you think that you owe it to yourself to invest in your most valuable asset?

You are your own best ally in times of adversity.It makes sense then that this is the year that you go all out to cultivate yourself. And you can do this by increasing your KNOWLEDGE. Think about it: knowledge gained is converted to abilities and skills that when put to proper use is converted to wealth. For yourself! And the best part of self-investment is that "no one can take your knowledge away from you"! It is always yours, to be further improved and polished for perpetual returns.

Your ability and strengths in your job, career, and business have a lot to do with what you have learned in the past. Most people these days don’t think twice about sending their kids to university or pursuing a tertiary education because it’s an investment for their future.

All the skills that you picked up during your years at school and university have become indispensable for the life you have right now. But hey! what got you this far may not get you further due to this present economy. In this current economy situation, it won’t be just about what you already know but how much MORE you can offer.This advice should be considered in a broader context - whether you’re looking for a new career or staying in your present one, building on your skill and diversifying it is the way forward.

Your time is your capital.

Many says, “hey I don’t have the capital to start my own business, or the money to quit my current job and find my ultimate dream job”. But you do have 24 hours a day - the same 24 hours a day that any other super-successful person like Bill Gates or Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey has. What do you do with YOUR 24 hours a day? Work, eat, watch TV and sleep? Time is the fertile soil for wealth and success and it must be cultivated! Invest in your time to gain new skills and knowledge TODAY instead of spend your time complaining about how bad things are.

Stephen R. Covey, one of my favourite authors, the author of bestselling "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" book describes that: "The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." When you think of it that way, two of the biggest investments you can make are in yourself and in your time. You don’t need a single cent for that!

Let’s not mince words about getting ahead in uncertain times - you’ll have to work harder and you’ll definitely have to work smarter. Professional experts and pundits all agree that diversifying your skills and learning new things puts you on the fast track towards career advancement and solidly cushions your job from being outsourced and protects you from being made redundant.

This could be anything from learning how to develop and design websites, to learning a new language, or taking up part-time courses that train you in a secondary job field that is unrelated to your day job - be it real estate, internet businesses or even stock trading. The opportunity to gain wealth presents itself in numerous opportunities; and likewise, the chances to gain knowledge and skills in whatever interests you are endless if you’re interested enough to go for it.

Think and Act wisely. Gather new knowledge and skill to weather the financial storm, who knows? it might gain you Great Wealth along the way.


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