Being A Smart Investor
We don’t just invest in concrete things, like stocks or property. We all spend time and energy investing feelings in abstract things, like people’s characters or relationships. What would life be without passion for your loved ones or the causes that make your pulse beat harder? But, I have noticed that countless individuals, myself included, tend to use up so much valuable life force on things that are guaranteed not to have a return.
In line with the concept of simplicity I like to espouse, not every issue is worth devoting yourself to – simply put, streamlining what takes up your attention will give you more options to redirect your focus to another activity that is more personally satisfying.
Let’s look at a common way of dealing with those we have troubled relationships with. I know a good many people who have a certain person in their life that just kind of saps their energy. They might have serious self-esteem issues, or be out of control, or just treat everyone around them badly. Obviously, I don’t mean that you should dump your manic-depressive friend. Far from it. But what can mean the difference between distance and an even tighter relationship is how much the other person puts into the relationship as well.
If your depressed friend happens to be an all-around cool guy that cares about you as much as you care about him, then of course you’d want to help him out. On the other hand, if that same friend would rather talk to anyone other than you, and just doesn’t seem interested in knowing about your life, then maybe reducing the importance of that relationship is a legitimate possibility. It sounds selfish at first glance, but friendship is in fact a two-way street; it is not synonymous with being a pushover.
The same goes for a specific activity that you might be doing. For example, watching TV/using the internet all day. You are investing in this. But do either of those things really give you a return on your investment of several hours a day of your life? Sure, a movie might be relaxing; an hour browsing 9gag might be thoroughly entertaining and remind you of the hilarity to be found on Planet Earth. However, I’m talking about when you literally spend 6 hours on Tumblr or watching Community until 5am.
Being a smart investor is all about being strategic with your investments. Hence, if you divert your attention to maybe reading a (challenging) book or two a week, that maybe perhaps possibly will yield more overall satisfaction for you. I’d label the previously mentioned activities as ‘junk-food’ activities – they’re kind of like the Cheetos of time-spending. They taste great at the time, but in the end, that doesn’t negate your need for the really nutritious stuff. If you only spend time on them, you’ll just feel sort of empty.
Similarly, a problem that is bothering you might be a massive energy vampire. I should know, because I am the type of person who stays bothered for days if an issue isn’t resolved. That, I know, has got to go. Compartmentalization is incredibly significant here – if the negative feelings you’ve been harbouring over this and that affect your mood when you are conducting yourself at other times, then the situation has gone on long enough. You may not have a lot of options in terms of solutions, but if an issue is giving you prolonged grief, I say nip it in the bud. Be direct and do what has to be done. As much as you may care about how your actions affect others, remember that you are your number one priority, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can always reach a happy compromise if you look hard enough, without having to sacrifice your sanity.
I think that if we only looked at our time like it is literally a commodity that possesses worth, we’d fare a lot better in terms of how we spend it, and where we place our focus. In truth, we don’t have much of it, meaning we should know what works for us, namely what is worthwhile ‘stock’, and what will grow to your advantage. Parceling out your energy like this will ensure that there are always adequate reserves of drive and determination for the obstacles that do demand your attention.
P.S. Sorry if the introduction of economics-talk was grossly off. It sounded right to me.