“The times, they are a-changin’” ~ Bob Dylan, 1964 . It’s hard to believe that nearly 50 years since that song was new. The craziest part is that the advice is just as relevant now as it was then. If you don’t keep up with the times, you’re going to get left behind. But I’m not talking about politics like Dylan was; I’m talking about your education. Specifically self-education.

“Formal education will make you a living. Self education will make you a fortune.” ~ Jim Rohn

We are quickly approaching an unknown future, one where there are very few things on which we can count on. Unlike our parents, we cannot trust that there will be a pension waiting for us at the end of our work lives. We cannot afford to trust that our jobs will truly give us the foundation that we desire in the long term. We have to gain the skills necessary to ensure that we can build our own foundation under ourselves no matter what circumstances arise, and the only way to do that is through extra education and experience.

If you are not taking charge of your education, then you’re putting your future at risk. If you currently work for a company, you never know when you might get let go and have to rely on new skills. Even if you are the boss, you have to worry about whether your clients will stay with you or go with someone else who has the latest and greatest in technology. Just like buggy whip makers in days of yore, you may find out that the information which you knew in the past has become obsolete.

“Today the greatest single source of wealth is between our ears.” ~ Brian Tracy

You are not helpless in this situation!

Fortunately, there are plenty of avenues you can take to tune up your skill set or learn something completely new. You can seek out and read quality online blogs, articles and books about topics and trends related to your field. You can spend some free time listening to leadership or sales training CDs or watching self-improvement videos. One of my favorite ways to learn is to listen to podcasts on my I phone as I am driving. That is an easy way to recoup time lost to sitting in traffic during a commute.

There is no better time than now to develop your skills for the future. You don’t know what the future will hold, but you can prepare for it. The quickest, easiest, and most potent way to live the life of your dreams is make time to invest in yourself.

By investing in yourself, you become more:

Knowledgeable about current trends.

Confident that you can face the future.

An expert in your industry and within your company.

A leader and resource to others.

Potentially wealthier, if you can leverage your knowledge.

Intelligent through greater use of your mind.

Look at the people around you. Are there any people who really stand out in terms of fame, fortune, or success? Perhaps it’s your boss or someone higher in the corporate ladder. Perhaps it’s a mentor that you reach out to in your own business on occasion. Have you ever noticed that people like these are readers who constantly apply their knowledge to the world around them? They purposefully set up a feedback loop of knowledge in their lives:

Learn something

Apply it in their work

Study the result and learn from it

Learn new information if necessary and start again.

It’s essentially the scientific method all over again. People who don’t invest in themselves have a loop like this:

Memorize something.

Acquire any available job.

Become comfortable within the job and stagnate.

Panic when the world changes around them and they haven’t.

Think about millionaires for a moment. People who have a significant net worth have two main traits: they view most of their interactions as potential investments (whether financially or in some other domain of life), and they are perpetually researching. Now, as an individual who wants to have some of these qualities yourself, is it too much to ask for just three percent of your time and assets to put into yourself? That’s really all it takes to see a noticeable change!

Now, I’m not talking about buying anything specific. I’m not saying that you should run out and purchase my book or anybody else’s book. What furthers you along your own path is completely outside my knowledge.

“Invest three percent of your income in yourself (self development) in order to guarantee your future” ~ Brian Tracy

What I’m saying is that the best and most economically sound way to get ahead is to invest in yourself and your personal growth. Through the information you learn, you might come up with the latest and greatest breakthrough in the adventure of your life.

What are examples of self investment?

Reading business and self-help books

Attending Seminars

Watch a video series about something you love

Subscribe to Trade Magazines

Subscribe to Podcasts or audio books

Hire a coach

Take online training courses

Learning how to teach a class

Take time to mentor others

There’s actually no limit to the things that you can learn and the thinks that you can think (hat-tip to Dr. Seuss.) Expanding your mind is the key to staying relevant within this world as well as making new friends. I leave you with this quote from Benjamin Disraeli.

“As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli.

GOYA-CISE: Take some time and come up with a plan of action. Write down the books, the videos, the podcasts and the seminars that you will need to listen to and attend that will help you sharpen your skill set. Keep a journal of all the great things you have learned and start using them. You will be amazed the goals you will accomplish when you put these new ideas into action.

“Remember that it is up to you to choose everyday to Get off Your Attitude and to create a positive lifestyle for yourself and others.” Ryan C. Low

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