Before August 2019, I wasn’t the firmest believer in veritable Self-development. Most of my salary was spent on clothes, restaurants, gifts for random people etc.
In August 2019, I can’t explain what came over me, but just overnight, I started listening to podcasts and TED Talks. Within a day or two, it inspired me to change my lifestyle.
Shortly after, I invested in a Video call app to build my confidence in online communication, purchased a subscription for 3 Audio book apps (since not all books were available in one App), took up 2–4 online courses that weren’t just for my resume but specifically for self-development/learning (this included a wide range of topics such as tips on maintaining healthy relationships, Buddhist learnings, Environment sustainability and even one about Space exploration), spent on a meditation app, a health app and the biggest of all, a Life coach.
Self-development encompasses any form of self-awareness or self-improvement. It can be about your physical health, mental health, hobbies, or any new knowledge or skill sets that you want to learn.
Here are a few things I learned by investing in Self-development:
1. Your Money is your Power. Know where you spend it
I used to spend hundreds of dollars on shopping and online purchases. Not because I wanted anything urgently, just because I had the funds to do it. Like everyone else, it gave me the “temporary high.” I also spent a lot on restaurants because my physical health hardly mattered to me.
Once I started spending on something that was aligned towards self-development, I stopped paying for things that didn’t matter. I haven’t shopped for clothes/shoes in almost six months now and haven’t eaten out/ordered-in in 5 months. My last purchase was a tube of black acrylic paint and an essential oil diffuser that I practically use every day and love very dearly.
2. There is Infinite Knowledge out there
Ever since I started on this journey, I have learned something brand new Every Single Day.
Not because I made a list of “you need to learn a new thing today,” but I just did. The one thing that I have learned the most was about Myself.
The other day, I saw a question posed in one of the Social Media sites, “Would you like a person who was exactly like you?”. I had posted this same question to myself almost ten years back, and my answer was “Never. I would hate her”. Today, I comfortably typed in my response, “Absolutely. She is adorable”.
We think we know everything, but we have No freaking idea about the things we are blissfully ignorant about, including ourselves.
3. Finding the perfect Mentor/Life coach can change your Life
In August 2019, I went through several personality tests and found out that I was a highly sensitive person (HSP). It didn’t shock me, but by reading books, I realized that I needed help to be the best version of myself. I researched a lot about the best HSP Life coaches, watched many free online webinars, and finally found the perfect person.
Honestly, I never really understood the job descriptions of a Life coach.
So, just before my first session, I sat down in front of my laptop and thought to myself, “I already know how to live this Life. Maybe this is a mistake? Why and how could a stranger know what was best for me?”.
Oh boy, was I wrong! In the first session, I balled out crying. It felt like all the stress and tensions that I carried with me finally came down tumbling. I never knew about the things that were stopping me from innovating and creating. “I” was stopping me from innovating and creating.
I started spending more time improving myself and less time trying to change things or situations that weren’t under my control.
I will be going for my 8th session this month, and I can’t imagine how much things have changed since the first one.
4. Investing doesn’t always have to be Monetary
When we talk about investing in ourselves, the first thing that comes to mind is “money.” Although I have used my finances to purchase pieces of training and books, investment doesn’t always have to be monetary.
If you think that spending $15 on an Audiobook App is expensive, you can consider taking memberships in public libraries that are either ridiculously cheap or even free. If training/online courses are expensive, hundreds of free videos and webinars can help you learn new things. If you can’t afford a Life coach, you can always look for a committed mentor who can sacrifice their time for you. Options are plenty.
Investment of Money may not always be necessary, but the investment of time is MANDATORY.
After my day job, I take time to sit down some evenings to learn new things, listen to books, or watch something informative. Weekends are gold for me. During weekends, I set aside time for self-reflection, painting, writing, and so much more. It doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. If you see self-development as work, you will never enjoy it. Trust me! I was in that phase for almost 3–4 months.
But lately, I listen to books because I want to learn. I write because I love writing. I paint because I love painting. Nobody is holding a gun to my head and asking me to do these things. I choose to do it, I want to do it, and I love to do it.
5. Pay your Dues
Not everyone might agree with this notion, but ever since I have invested in Apps, courses, and a Life-coach, it has given me more confidence that someone might invest in my future Business/skill/job. I no longer feel that the world would bleed me dry.
I have seen so many people with proper financial backgrounds, trying to get away from paying their dues and confidently posing about how they tweaked the system. More than saving money, it inclines towards a scarcity mindset since they believe that they will lose their money sooner than later.
When I pay for an Audiobook App or a Meditation App, I am basically telling the creators that I am grateful for their precious time, energy, and resources that they spent on creating something beautiful and user-friendly.
If I open a business tomorrow and work day-night to build something, I wouldn’t want someone to find tweaks in my system that allow them to use my resources for free without my consent. I would want them to respect my hard work. That is precisely what I do with my Money. I send it to people and businesses that have earned my respect through their discipline, perseverance, and hard work.
6. Choose Wisely
Out of the many things that I invested in, at least 5–6 things have failed miserably. There were Apps that didn’t work for me, books I couldn’t finish halfway through, courses that bored me to death and products that I wished I hadn’t purchased. But that’s the risk we take when we invest.
I am happy that 90% of my investments were a success, but the rest 10% helped me learn more about my next self-development journey.
But since Money is crucial, do your research before you invest!
Most of us walk around in Auto-pilot carrying things that are donated to us by the society or our parents. It’s upto us to build our own fort and gaining self-awareness is the best way to do it.