Many of us, if not everyone, kickstart our adult life with defective beliefs and misunderstandings about life, the world, the human experience, and what’s possible in our future. Then, these beliefs and misunderstandings hinder our capacity to fulfill our potential and create the life we want. When we talk about investing in ourselves we’re talking about taking in new ideas and points of view that will help us get those things we want, no matter if they are material or not.
It’s easy to see why it would make sense to invest in a good car or a good house since we’re all clear on what these things can do for us. However, it’s not so common to hear someone say “I want to hire a coach to help me improve my relationship with my spouse” or “I’m looking for books to learn about creating a life that I enjoy” and it should be. Most people just don’t see that if they invest money in changing how they think or their perspectives on life that can be their biggest point of leverage in getting the things they want. If you change what goes on inside you, what goes on outside will also change automatically.
As an example, these days I’m listening to an audiobook called 17 Lies That Are Holding You Back and the Truth That Will Set You Free by Steve Chandler—I love his books because it’s likely he’ll offer a perspective that will transform the way I understand life in a positive way. In one of the final chapters, he talks about how self-control is often seen as self-punishment when actually a happy life can only be created through self-control. In a nutshell, we all need to do more of what’s good for us and less of what’s not, that’s where self-control comes in. The key is that having self-control doesn’t need to be a painful experience; it can be fun and satisfying.
Steve’s little but powerful nugget of wisdom changed my perspective on how I was experiencing self-control. Even though I consider myself to be well-read on this topic—commonly also known as willpower— this perspective made a difference for me. Now, for instance, staying away from refined sugar is not an act of strength but rather something fun. I change internally and automatically there’s a result in my external actions. This is just a tiny example of what investing in ourselves is and can do for us, it changes our life one insight at a time.
Investing in a good car will get us to places faster while investing in getting new ideas and perspectives will get us the life we want. As another example, I used to think it wasn’t in my genes to have a muscular body and I’d never be able to build muscle. That’s a clear example of a defective belief because I wasn’t even trying… Until I started trying. I learned about exercise and nutrition and I saw that I wasn’t muscular just because I never used my muscles much and I wasn’t eating the right foods, not because of my genes. As soon as I started exercising my muscles and eating differently, slowly but steadily, I started seeing results. I also never thought I could ever be an entrepreneur and here I am selling coaching and signing clients at a pace that I enjoy. All thanks to the time I put into learning about ethical ways to sell and improving my coaching skills. Meet me in my mid-twenties—I’m thirty-one years old at the time of writing this article— and I’d have told you this was completely impossible.