Are you thinking of making an investment? Considering investing in a business or in the stock market? Or maybe investing in a house?
Before you invest in any of these things, you should have already made a few wise investments of an entirely different nature. No, I am not talking about financial investments. I am referring to the type of investments that without which, any financial investments are almost sure to fail. Or at least prove extremely difficult to get off the ground.
The very first thing you must invest in, from as young an age as possible, is yourself. This might sound like a nice, ‘airy’ concept, but without investing in yourself, you’ve got no chance of any other type of investment. Think about it.
Invest in your own name, reputation and integrity. Everyone is given a name and credibility when they are born. However, if an investment is not made to build that credibility and foster goodwill in that name, it can quickly disappear or become a liability. If you make a promise, honour that commitment. If you say you will be somewhere at a certain time, make sure you are there. Do not lie. Foster trust in yourself from others by ensuring they have reason to have confidence in you. If you do not invest in your name and integrity, when the time comes to make a financial investment, it will be difficult to secure trust from those you will need support, whether it be banks, business partners, financial supporters, or references to ensure your investment.
Invest in your position. This means investing in your studies and investing time to better yourself and to absorb all the information and knowledge that you can. Think of your mind as a notebook. If it is closed, its pages will forever remain empty. But if you open your notebook, you are then able to write as much information as you can and record as many experiences and memories as you want. Also remember to invest in your appearance and your image. Again, just like books, many people will judge you by your ‘cover’.
Next, invest in other people. Invest in relationships. Invest in forming trusting alliances with people whom you respect. Work on earning their respect in return. Even from childhood, invest in friendships. Give favours, help others, and invite people for coffee or for dinner. Become friends with people. It is from here that networking really stems: your network of friends. People often ask me where I find people whom I can trust and whom I am willing to do business with. I say it is a result of a collection of friendships and partnerships from the past 40 years.
I cannot, today, call upon the interest of my past if I did not first invest in myself, my reputation, my position, my image and in other people. I cannot call upon that for favours now if I did not sow a good reputation. So the only way I can reap a relationship will have to be from what I have planted in the past. If I had ripped those people off, or lied, people would not do business with me, because once you ruin your reputation, it is very hard to undo the damage.
Please take a moment to ponder… Never underestimate the importance of investment in yourself. Consider these important investments before even contemplating financial investment, as it is personal investment that allows you to go on to the business investments.
Next week, in Gems of Wisdom, we can start to think about investment of the financial kind.