One of the lowlights: The Zoo didn’t have very nice things to say about me (or one of the Tasmanian Devils)
You don’t have to spend thousands
After spending 12 months solid doing consulting work last year, I’m fortunate enough to have a successful business where people pay me for my expertise.
But don’t interpret this as that investing in yourself needs to be like investing in real estate or mutual funds. Money isn’t the point here, far from it.
Investing in yourself is all about continuing to grow as a person by gaining new knowledge and expertise. Sometimes it is targeted at improving a specific skill, like what I just did with my sales skills. Sometimes it’s about staying aware of what developments are taking place in your industry, such as by reading trade journals, attending workshops and conferences. And sometimes it’s about investing in your personal self, such as with hobbies, travel or other activities.
This doesn’t have to be expensive.
In fact, some of the best investments you can make in yourself are incredibly cheap, or even free: books.
When I first started Improvides (my innovation and creativity consultancy) in 2013, I didn’t have much money to invest. I was on an extremely tight budget trying to build up a company and network in an industry where nobody knew me. But I did have two resources that allowed me to gain an almost limitless treasure trove of useful insights and lessons which would help me build the foundations of my work. One was the internet, which was fast but the information could be quite unreliable. And the other was the library.
For only a few pounds, I registered at the British Library in London and spend several days a week for about two months there. I would bring a packed lunch and read and take notes for about 6-7 hours, gaining the knowledge and evidence that would ultimately form the basis of some of my most powerful insights.
This allowed me to access hundreds (or thousands) of pounds worth of knowledge for free.
Nowadays, I can afford to buy the books on the subject I read. In fact, here is my reading list for the next couple of months, excluding those on my kindle waiting for me:
Each time I read another book, watch another documentary or speak to a new expert, I get a bit of a rush as this new knowledge begins to lodge itself across the various networks in my brain, occasionally sparking a Eureka moment, othertimes just reinforcing or sometimes contradicting other knowlegde I already had.
This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself to keep getting ideas throughout your whole life. Don’t let your learning stop after school or university.
It can only make you better.
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