Quite often, I hear or read these lines: “invest in stocks; they’ll go up in value;” “invest in land; it’s always in demand;” “invest in a business; it will give you extra income;” and the list goes on. Rarely, however, have I ever been advised or reminded to invest in myself.

What kinds of investments am I talking about here? Should I invest on a new music player… an iPod perhaps? Should I invest in a new laptop for my presentations? Or, should I invest in a new facial care treatment to make myself look younger? While I am definitely tempted to invest in that last one, the investments I am talking about here are those that may give me enormous returns in the future.

It is important to note, however, that the investments I am talking about here might not give us immediate returns. I’d like to think of them as fertilizer (perhaps not the best metaphor), that will help seeds grow and bear produce one day. Perhaps we should consider investing our time and money in these:

Read books. Education is very important! We can read about handling money, running a business, leading people, motivating oneself and, on occasion, battling “evil,” like the heroes in fiction novels (I just had to throw that in there). Yes, even reading for leisure is good because it relaxes your mind and allows you to exercise your imagination. That said, I suggest that, when it comes to books with more serious contents, we read and reread these books often. I do this a lot. In fact, when I’m not busy with work – like when I’m waiting for an appointment or when I’m stuck in traffic (which happens quite often) – you can always find me, with my nose buried in a book. I never leave home without a good book and never go to sleep without reading a few chapters. Through books, I have obtained knowledge – that my rather limited experience could not give me – which has given me confidence. Though I agree that “experience is the best teacher,” I also believe that reading about “other people’s experiences” is an inexpensive way of gaining knowledge.

Attend seminars and workshops. Like books, seminars and workshops give us a chance to learn from other people’s experience. Workshops, like our very own B.E.S.T. (Beyond Entrepreneurship Skills Training) Workshop – yes, this is the part where I make a plug for our workshop – offer the kind of experience you can’t find by reading books. Interacting with a speaker or doing hands-on activities may even have some advantages over reading. Also, attending seminars and workshops helps you increase your “network” of contacts, which reading can’t do.

Interview knowledgeable people. It would also benefit you to talk to people who knowledgeable in the field or endeavor you would like to pursue. In my experience, I have found that these people always seem to be happy to answer my inexhaustible supply of questions; and believe me; they’re not hard to find. Through these “wizards,” I have gained valuable information and specific insights, which have helped me in my own pursuits. I recommend that we try to find people we look up to – probably people who motivate or inspire us or perhaps people who are into the business you are interested in – and simply talk to them. There may be a few who might be too busy to talk to you, but you will find someone willing to talk to you; and the rewards of this type of contact are priceless. If you plan to take this step, preparing a little token of appreciation for them would go a long way.

I encourage everyone to spread the news and tell a friend to invest in himself or herself. Enriching the lives of others is, for me, one of the most important things a person can do. This is the path to becoming a true wizard of business.