“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” -Robin Sharma
Have you ever heard the statement, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”? If the answer is yes, then you’ve likely heard the sayings, “If you’re going to work, get paid for it,” and, “Only do what you’re good at, delegate the rest.” These phrases are commonplace in our vernacular and often spoken with a certain degree of reverence. However, there is something lacking in these popular assertions. The lost child in the formula is, “What the world needs.” Yet, this may be the missing element that correlates to the highest level of success.
One idea I read a long time ago that I strongly agree with is: a satisfying and rewarding occupation is found at the intersection of “what you love,” “what you’re good at,” “what you can be paid for,” AND “what the world needs.” Although it might seem counterintuitive, investing in bettering yourself is the best way to discover what the world needs. When asked what the best investment someone could make was, Warren Buffet responded, “Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you…If you’ve got talent yourself, and you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold.” Highly successful individuals tirelessly invest in their own self-improvement. By improving yourself and growing your talents, you will be poised to see and meet the needs of the world around you.
In 1997, Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix and now has a net worth north of $3.5 billion. However, without joining the Peace Corps after college, then later returning to school to get a master’s degree or learning from his previous mistakes as CEO at Pure Software, Hastings never launches Netflix. Now, the world enjoys streaming movies and shows from all devices. John H. Ware Jr. resurrected the American Water Company in 1947. The lack of a college degree and humble beginnings did anything but hinder Ware Jr. from constantly developing himself and mastering many trades. Persistently learning new skills allowed him to transform from an electrician to the President of the American Water Works & Electric Company. Everyone in the world needs these services and through his self-investment, he was able to provide water and electricity to millions. Another person who discovered what the world needed was Steve Jobs. Exercising the ability to frequently reinvent himself and his company while providing a product that he knew everyone would need, led to his enormous success. While their stories are dramatically different, a common theme is their willingness to better themselves which in turn, impacted the world.
Behind the scenes of the companies represented in the stock market are real-life stories of people discovering that intersection of doing what they are good at and love, while also providing services and products consumers need. Stories abound of people who invested in themselves. When we invest in ourselves, we can find the intersection of what we love, are good at, and what the world needs. When you invest in yourself, you are guaranteed a high rate of return, not only for you but for the world around you.