Investing Time and Effort

When people think of investing, they usually think about investing money. They consider the return they are likely to receive, and how much risk is involved. Yet there are investments available to us that are far more powerful than any monetary investment.

Image courtesy of Chipmonkey (^o^)

Imagine all the investments you have made that have nothing to do with money: investments of your time and effort, investments in people and relationships, investments in your body, mind and spirit, etc. These are investments that are mostly non-monetary. I believe that certain investments in time and effort are more important than any financial investment.

Think about it. How do you calculate the value of connecting with a best friend? Enjoying time with your family? Or even spending a Sunday doing whatever you want, because there is nothing that you “have” to do that day?

A wise man once said,

There is nothing of value that you can buy with money.

I could talk to you all day about the above quote, but today’s post is about how we can invest our time and effort. If you think about it, our time and effort is worth more than any amount of money.

Recently I decided to look for a partner to launch a new business. I discovered Programmer meets Designer, Techcofounder and Founders Hookup which provide exactly this service: they match up people looking to start a new business. Apparently there are dozens of sites that do the same thing.

One of the things I have learned over the years when talking to potential business “partners” is that 95% of people are not looking for a business partner at all. They are looking for a job. The first thing they ask me is, “Do you have money to pay me a salary?”

It always makes me laugh. I think, “If you are looking for a job, don’t talk to me!” Then I say politely, “Sorry, there is no money for salaries at this time.” They never contact me after again.

So, now I am going to invest large amounts of time and effort to develop a new business. How much is the return? If I am successful, I will create massive value within 5 years. If I am unsuccessful, then I have learned something useful.

The interesting thing about this investing paradigm is that most people are not willing to invest anything in themselves. Several years ago I signed up for a one-day speed reading course and invited a friend to join me. He didn’t want to pay for it himself (it cost about $100), so he asked his employer to pay for it. When his employer refused, my friend decided that he didn’t want to go. He wasn’t willing to invest $100 in his own future!

I thought, if you aren’t willing to invest $100 for your own education, what are you willing to invest in? It seems to me a common attitude in our society. Why? Because it’s easy. It is much easier to sit on the couch and watch All Worked Up on TV than to use our brain or our body to improve our future.

Our destiny is our choice. We choose to watch TV or go to the gym. We choose to drink a beer or to read a book. It creeps up on us slowly, and we rarely notice it. The surprise is that where we end up in life is the result of our daily choices.