There are five ways to invest in life.
When I say “invest,” I’m not talking just in terms of finance. I’m talking about the investments you can make into yourself right now, where you are, with the resources you have available to you today.
In episode #106 of the Work On Your Game Podcast, I explained Why You Need To Invest In Yourself. Now, let’s go into detail about each one of the five forms of investment, and how to utilize each.
Before that, let’s remember what investing means: Putting something in now, expecting to get a larger return later. That’s the whole concept of investing. You invest sleep to have energy. You invest in exercise to have health. You invest work time to get paid.
The five forms of investment are time, money, attention, focus and energy.
You’ll need all five to reach any goal. You can look back on your life right now and notice that every achievement to this point required all five. No goal worth reaching is possible without a combination of time, money, attention, focus and energy.
If you’re not where you want to be in some area of life right now, it’s because you’re deficient in at least one of these five areas. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing something wrong — you may need to put in more time, or invest more money. You may need to pay more attention. Maybe you’re not fully focused or should put more energy towards your goal. It doesn’t mean you’ve messed up. It just means that, until you have given the proper amounts of all five, your goal cannot be reached. You can’t cheat on these.
All relationships — intimate, a friendship or business partnership— require time.
You don’t become best friends, choose boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives in one day. You build a relationship and learn what a person is about, learn to trust, and learn what to expect from them. They are doing the same with you.
To become a great athlete, you put time into your game. It may take 10 years of work before you even get a chance to show yourself to the NBA, NFL or compete in the Olympics. You might put that 10 years in and still not get the chance.
You may be doing everything “right.” You have all the right pieces in place. Acquired the proper resources and know all the people who you need to know. But if you have not yet put in enough time, you won’t get the outcome.
Athletes tell me how much they practice and train, and despite all that work, their skills are translating to the games. I tell them, you need to play more games. Game experience is a time investment. Live game repetitions make you better at playing in games. There’s no shortcut around it.
There is no shortcut to putting time in.
This is what most people think of when they hear “investment.” And it’s the aspect that gets people the most uncomfortable.
Anything you’ve achieved in life, money was invested.
People like saying ‘time is money.’ If that’s true and you’re putting time in, then you’re also putting money in — every minute invested is time you could be using to earn money doing something else. So the opportunity cost of using time is money.
The most common excuse with both time and money is not having any. The most common — and correct –– response is, when you seriously want something, you’ll find both the time and the money.
When I wanted to become a pro basketball player, I didn’t have much money to play with. My first pro tryout was for a small team in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
I rented a car to drive from Altoona to Lancaster. I paid $50 for the tryout. The whole tryout experience took all of one day, but my broke-college-graduate ass didn’t earn any money that day. So the investment in the tryout was more than the car rental + tryout fee –– there was the opportunity cost of everything I could have been doing that day.
That same team invited me back to three different tryout events, all of which I attended. I never played for that team. So my time + money investment didn’t pay me back directly, but the experience became a story that I‘m leveraging right now by having you read it
Almost exactly one year later, I went to another exposure camp. This one was in Orlando, Florida. I drove there from Philadelphia with a couple teammates.
I had a job at Bally Total Fitness at the time that I took the weekend off from to go to Orlando. It was a commission-based sales job; my check reflected the memberships I sold. My trip to Orlando not only cost me the expenses of going there, but the opportunity cost of not selling any memberships at work.
I didn’t sign my first pro contract until months later. I started playing ball age 14 and I became a pro at 23, with no guarantee that that would have even happened. Any athlete makes that investment with no idea if you’ll ever get paid back –– and knowing that 99% of people who make that same investment don’t get paid back. But without that investment, you’re guaranteed to not get paid back.
Sports careers are a risky investment.
To get to your desired outcome, you have to invest money somewhere along the way, whether in real cost or opportunity cost. With this understanding, you see that nothing in life is actually “free.”
Attention is defined as notice taken of someone or something.
What are you looking for? What you are seeking out?
Are you looking for ways to be a better car mechanic, or a basketball player? Are you looking to build your mental toughness and confidence, or to get more followers on Facebook? Attention is limited to one thing at a time. Which means, you must decide where yours is going.
Success doesn’t happen by accident. It demands your conscious attention. Where attention goes, energy flows.
Along with attention, success requires intention. What is your expectation? What outcomes do you want?
When you expect nothing, you get nothing.
Focus on the other hand, is what you zero in on while paying attention.
Do you remember ever being in school and though you’re looking at the teacher, you were unable to recall a single thing they said?
That’s the difference between attention and focus. You can be paying attention and still not be focused.
What you focus on can make or break your success. For example, Google can provide thousands of links to information on nearly any topic. Your choice as to what to focus on amongst all those options determines whether you find what you need or not.
I’ve made thousands of pieces of content over the years, and have had many people challenge me with the fact that some of my content is in direct conflict with other content. I said one thing on my podcast, then said the opposite on Instagram.
Which one is it?
If I post a 20 minute video, and you only focus on 10 seconds of what I said, you missed the other 19 minutes and 50 seconds of context that would answer your question.
Maybe you saw Steph Curry do a 10-dribble combination move into a three point shot that became a highlight clip. If you focus on that instead of the fundamentals that are the real foundation of Steph’s success, you’ll try to skip over the fundamentals and try to go straight to the fancy stuff. Will that get you on your school’s basketball team? Probably not.
You were paying attention –– but had the wrong focus.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you may see Grant Gardone or Tai Lopez pulling up in fancy cars and showing off their luxury vacations. They do that because it draws attention. The foundation of their success, however, is not as sexy. But that tedious, monotonous daily work –– the fundamentals –– doesn’t sell as well. So a bunch of people who paid attention but had the wrong focus jump into the game playing it the wrong way.
When you model someone else’s success, make sure you’re focusing on the right aspects of what they do. HINT: It’s often not the same things they use to draw your attention. That’s the paradox.
Energy is 85% of the job in life.
You can’t do work without energy. Scientifically, work is produced through energy, and energy is the capacity to do work.
You can’t work on your game without energy. Athletes, business professionals, writers and construction workers all need energy to do their jobs. The non-verbal communication of the energy behind your actions plays a huge role in how people perceive you and if they buy into you or not.
When there is no energy behind your presence, nobody returns energy to you.
This is the law of karma in action. The energy you put out is the energy you get back. If you exert no energy, what would you expect back?
Recap: The Five Forms Of Investment
Time: Nothing worthwhile happens without a time investment.
Money: There are no free lunches. Whether a hard cost or opportunity cost, you must pay to succeed.
Attention: In what direction are you looking? What are your expectations?
Focus: While paying attention, what are you noticing, what are you taking away from it?
Energy: 85% of the job. When you put no energy in, you get none out.
Speaking on investment, get your FREE copy of my book The Mirror Of Motivation so you can be in the frame of mind to invest in yourself consistently. Get it here: http://MirrorOfMotivation.com