When I was growing up, the general attitude towards money was that you could either spend or save whatever came your way. And although I was the sort of person who would save a lot more than what I had spent (thanks in part to my Chinese upbringing!), I began to realise that there was a limit to how much I could grow those savings. That limit being controlled by the interest rates the banks were offering across their product range.
It was at this point when I discovered that there was actually a third option to what I could do with my money, which was investing. The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers were replaced with The Financial Times and business sections of broadsheet newspapers as my curiosities led me to investing a portion of my savings into companies listed on the stock market.
I learnt that I could either simply contribute money to line the pockets of senior company management in my role as a consumer, or, share in the growth of an exciting and highly profitable business. The latter was clearly more appealing!
This experience taught me the benefits of self-education as the subject of how to invest and grow your money was absent from the school’s curriculum. More than anything, it became obvious to me that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself. Because the more you grow, the more you feel alive.
You can develop any skill through effort, persistence and most of all immersion.
Carol Dweck – a researcher at Stanford University – describes this as exhibiting traits of a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset ‘believe that even basic talents and abilities can be developed over time through experience, mentorship, and so on. And these are the people who go for it. They’re not always worried about how smart they are, how they’ll look, what a mistake will mean. They challenge themselves and grow’.
A fixed mindset however ‘is when people believe their basic qualities, their intelligence, their talents, their abilities, are fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that.’
An important question I therefore made a habit of asking myself on a regular basis was: “How do I want to grow and develop myself?”
This simple, but powerful, action-oriented question will prove as instrumental in your personal development as it has mine. Some of the benefits that have come from this self-questioning include:
Remember, the greatest investment you can make is in yourself.
Take a moment now to jot down a few ideas in response to the question of “How do you want to grow and develop yourself this year?”
Blog courtesy of Simon Alexander Ong
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