[A dear friend and client of mine is slowing climbing out of a financial mess. He had spent so much of his time and energy working and investing his money on the stock market. He put his life on hold for much of the decade. He worked tirelessly because his plan was to make enough money so he could eventually retire and spend time travelling with his wife and ‘being happy’. After the GFC hit however, he had to start again because he lost so much on the stock market. The following is a snapshot of what I shared with him.]
Imagine if you will a tall beautiful tree with two branches; a left branch that reaches high into the sky with a barren trunk but the most abundant fruit sitting at the very top. And a right branch that reaches away from the left branch but then curls back towards it at the very top. This right branch has an abundance of lower lying fruit scattered throughout, and is easier to climb.
This “money” tree is a metaphor for creating wealth. The left branch represents investing your money in shares, bank deposits or real estate. The right branch is where you invest in yourself. I see so many people trying to climb the left branch too early in life and then fall. They lose their money and become despondent. They end up quitting on the idea of being rich. The mistake they make is this: The left branch may or may not make you rich but it will never make you wealthy. Only the right branch can do that.
Being rich gives you money but being wealthy gives you freedom. The irony is that most wealthy people I know have both, freedom and money. And they all have one thing in common. They invest in themselves by climbing the right branch first.
What does it mean to invest in yourself? It means to spend your time, energy and money improving the following areas of your life: Your health, your love life, your family, your work, your friendships, and your learning.
As you invest more and more in these areas you are climbing your way up that right branch and getting closer and closer to the top of the left one. A funny thing happens when you actively live your best life. You put yourself in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. When you live a complete life that makes you happy, healthy and loved, you start to develop a positive frame of mind and a warm attitude. This attracts good things and good people to you. And these often come with opportunities to work and invest in new ideas that excite you and make money for you.
Then, and only then, should you invest some of your time and money on the left branch. Whether you make money or not, you will always have your wealth. No one can ever take that away from you.