3 ways I spend money to improve quality of life
The illiterate of the future will not be the person who does not read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn - Alvin Toffler
I practice andragogy, which means I am constantly investing in my education as an adult, for betterment, fun, and naturally profit! This takes many forms, but one of the media I consume most is podcasts, and one of the podcasts I intently listen to is The Tim Ferriss Show. A few weeks ago I listened to his then latest episode, How To ‘Waste Money’ To Improve The Quality Of Your Life, and it got me pondering… By pure coincidence, I had just espoused the same mindset a few days earlier!
Now I would like to state a few words of caution. I am not advocating you spend all your money solely towards self-improvement, at the expense of your savings. You must maintain an appropriate level of financial discipline as building cash reserves is important to weather the unplanned storms life may throw at you, and build up the capital for the realisation of some of your material goals. Even if you have made the big money, I don’t recommend squandering cash like those guys here:
It seems one of the often neglected ways to invest money is in your own human capital. If done right, you are more likely to reach the goals you set yourself to and feel a higher sense of satisfaction. Of course, you do not necessarily need to spend money on human capital: time (or both money and time) could be the currency used to acquire such capital. Although both constitute important coins in the acquisition of human capital, this post will focus on money.
1. Learning a Language
One activity I resumed is learning Japanese. I had stopped taking classes for close to one year, shortly after starting the job at my current company. Back then, I was swamped with work and could not find a way to better manage my time nor disconnect from work enough to commit to this activity. I am now attending classes on a weekly basis on Saturdays. I managed to find a good course at a very attractive price at International House in Holborn.
Thanks to the resumption of this course, I feel intellectually challenged and rewarded for being able to slowly improve my understanding and express myself in a language that is totally different from western tongues. While not the driver for my learning another language, multiple studies have shown brain and health benefits to knowing multiple languages.
Moreover, the classes have forced me to better organise my time as well and make the necessary sacrifices on elements of my life which yielded me no great benefits. To put a modest cherry on top, I even registered and paid for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Level 5 (the easiest — we all gotta start somewhere!), which will take place this December. The gauntlet has been thrown and I am picking it up!
Another area I have decided to invest further in is meditation. About three weeks ago, I purchased a one year subscription to the mobile app Headspace. I have found meditation to be a powerful method at canalising my thoughts and helping me clear my mind and focus. For over one month now, I practice meditation every morning and have thus incorporated it in my routine. It’s at this stage difficult to quantify its benefits because I have just debuted on my meditative journey, but I certainly feel more aware of my outer and inner surroundings and feel capable of exerting a higher level of concentration when focusing on a given matter.
3. Personal Trainer
I embrace a holistic approach in my quest for self-improvement: body and mind shall both be expanded and reach new summits. If you read my previous post about how I remain sane in the startup storm , you already know that almost every morning upon rising I exercise and regularly go to the gym. I took it one step further recently and invested in a personal trainer. I must say it’s one of the best decisions I have taken for my body. I feel at every session that I am going beyond my limit and have acquired, through sheer hard work, mental resilience, professional guidance, and better eating habits, greater strength and firmer muscle definition in a short space of time. It does not get easier, but the mental grit and physical strength I call forth at every session reinforce my being. I feel practically invincible and believe nothing can topple me; my body is an inviolable temple of strength, my mind an impregnable spiritual fortress.
Of course, life still remains complex, with many twists and turns. I am far from being where I want to be, but I feel intellectually sharper and physically stronger, ready for the battles to come, while paradoxically shrouding myself in an aura of interior peace and infinite gratitude for the fruits life has already offered me.
Now that you have read this post, think, and tell me, how are you going to expand your human capital?