Where should I invest?

dollar-227748_640Money is a subject that most people have an interest in.

We all want answers to questions such as: How can I make more money?  How can I have more money at the end of the month? Will I have enough saved for retirement? Where should I invest my money? These are all valid questions and should be not avoided.  However a more important question that is relevant to all people at all stages of life is: How and where should I invest my time and energy?

This question was much simpler in ages past and in countries less developed than our opulent United States.  When resources are scarce and survival is the primary challenge, deciding where to invest one’s energy is easy: shelter, food and water.  Once these priorities are met, one can focus on attaining a better life for the next generation through training, sustainable food resources, health care and property.  For example, the first priority of immigrants to the American colonies over 300 years ago was survival: shelter, food, and water.  Once these were attained, colonists and their children were able to build a land that would provide its abundance to their descendants.   American society now reaps the benefits of investments made by the colonists and Founding Fathers.

Our abundant lives

Today we live in a land of unprecedented abundance.  The majority of Americans are above the absolute poverty level.  Food, water, and shelter are abundantly available compared to ages past and lands outside of North America.  So what do we now do as affluent Americans?  How do we spend our time, individually and collectively as a society, if it is not for mere survival?

Strangely, each and every person on the face of the earth has accessible the same amount of one resource – today.  Today is the one equalizer for all humanity.  No one can make a day last any longer.  Twenty four hours is the limit; one spin around the axis of the earth; a slight progression of 1.6 million miles along earth’s orbit around the sun.  Thus, we are each given the same opportunity to squander today or use it wisely.  Personally, I want to use my day to its fullest – to live in the moment, to savor the food and drink I have available, to contribute positively to the people around me.

Be open and thankful

Recently I was struck by a sentence written by a fellow blogger.  Kendra at havemercyblog.com stated she wanted to “spend less energy analyzing and more mental time being open and thankful.”  This is a profound endeavor, and one we should all embrace.  Throughout my life I have flourished at analysis.  It is one of my strongest talents.  I can budget, plan, and compare courses of action with great proficiency.  This trait is why I was well suited for a career as a Naval officer.  I could analyze until the cows came home.  But has extensive analysis add to my quality of life?  Does analysis enhance a relationship or improve the earth for all to enjoy?  It does not.  Being open and thankful do.

Our time is limited

Time is of immense value.  Ask a cancer patient with six months to live.  He wants to stop time and live to the fullest in the short time remaining.  We should all live as if our time is limited.  We are only issued one day at a time.  Time is not a renewable resource.  We can’t store any days for future use; no container or vault will hold them.  There is no rainy day fund of time waiting at the bank for us to withdraw from in a pinch.  Carefully consider how you will invest each and every day – for good – for the things that you value most, or for fleeting things – vanity.

  • Invest wisely –  your time, your today.
  • Be mindful.
  • Be open and thankful for the beauty that surrounds you.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Lay aside and release the inconsequential.

King Solomon’s ancient wisdom sheds light on this:

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun, the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.  Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil – this is the gift of God.  Ecclesiastes 5:18-19

We each have the same wealth to invest – the wealth of today.

What small things can you do today to better invest your time?  Is there something trivial that you could eliminate so you could more effectively use your time for things that matter?

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About John Forrest