The moment Robert gets paid, he heads to his trusty sneaker dealer and buys that season’s latest sneakers. He splurges on fancy steak dinners, video games and movies until what’s remaining of that paycheck is often barely enough to cover rent and living expenses.
Mance on the other hand, invests most of what he’s paid back into himself. He uses it to buy books that he’ll read, towards the skills he’s learning to develop and on purely materialistic things only when out of necessity. Anything he doesn’t use, he saves.
When you think of Robert versus Mance’s spending habits, who do you think is more likely be more rich and successful in the future?
The person who’s most likely to be successful is the one who invests in himself because by doing so, he’s setting himself up for more opportunities in the future.
Sneakers, steak dinners, video games, clothes, jewelry — these are all items that depreciate in value over time, unless you’re collecting them of course, in which case would then be a demonstration of the skill you’ve invested in as a collector.
When you invest in a skill or even a hobby, you’re increasing your proficiency of an undeveloped talent. You’re investing in the future a skill that’ll allow you to benefit when the value of that skill has compounded over time. Take cooking for instance — the more you cook, the more experienced you will be at it and eventually, it might be possible to even make a living out of it either, through catering, starting a blog, starting a cooking channel on Youtube, etc.
Compared to the more obvious but short-term benefits that you get from splurging on materialistic goods, it offers a value that benefits you far into the future. All the skills you build, all the time you invest and all the knowledge you learn is what determines your future. Whether or not you want to be successful largely has to do with the every day decisions of what you do and the choices you make.
You could be like Robert and splurge, but ask yourself: will you be happy twenty years later when you’re still living the same lifestyle, paycheck-to-paycheck without having an opportunity to do more?
Investing in yourself will always be difficult because throughout the journey, it’ll almost always feel as if you’ve never really progressed and since you can’t realistically make any goals because you’ve never actually done it before, it’s always less appealing when compared to being able to splurge on things we want.
But ultimately, compared to splurging in the long-term, twenty years later, you’ll actually have the opportunity to do more even if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck because the skills you’ll have invested in would have given you opportunities that couldn’t have existed otherwise.
And the truth is, we’ve known all along. Deep down, for those of us who’ve always dreamed of being rich or successful, we already knew what it would take — we just never put any thought into it. The more skills we develop, the higher the mastery of two or more skills, the more likely we are in creating a path to success that’s unique to us.
And now with all that said, let me ask you: what are you going to do with your next paycheck?