Today I want to talk about making investments that will reap you big dividends. No, it’s not on Wall Street. I’ll share with you a different, much more rewarding way to look at investing—investing in your life and in your relationships.
When I talk about investing in your life, I’m referring to the fundamental, universal truth that says, “What you give, you get back.”
- When you show love, you get love.
- When you show respect, you get respect.
- When you smile at people, they smile back at you.
- When you show an interest in others, they will show an interest in you.
- When you encourage others, they will encourage you.
President Kennedy’s famous words from his inaugural address in 1961 are a fitting mantra for today’s lesson: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
I have lived a life that is proof of the fact that when you invest your life in helping others get the things they want, you will get what you want. The key is to stop focusing on your wants and desires and start focusing on what you can do for others.
Long-Term Returns Are Worth the Wait
The kind of long-term return I’m talking about is the lifelong realization of success and happiness you receive based on how you treat others and how you manage your expectations. Simply put, you get out of your life and your relationships what you put into them.
Giving more than you get must become a way of living, and you must focus on the big picture of how you can improve the lives of others. You must not allow yourself to be discouraged when one person here and one person there doesn’t appreciate or notice your efforts and respond in the way you had hoped. Just like in the stock market, think of what you put into this effort as a long-term investment. It will pay off.
What We Can Learn From Warren Buffet
Buffet is one of the most successful financial investors ever and is currently noted as the third-wealthiest person in the world. Riches aside, there are a few lessons from Buffet’s life and investment philosophy that can be applied to helping you reap a return on the investments you make in your own life.
One of the strategies Buffet is famous for is finding things to invest in that are valuable but not recognized as such by the majority of other buyers.
This is very much the philosophy of doing the little things that matter. Little things are the habits and choices you make that cause you to stand out from the crowd. Doing the little things that others simply don’t do or profess not to have the time for is what helps you develop the personal initiative and character it takes to become the person you need to be to achieve your goals and live the life you want.
Buffet is known for his frugality as well as his generosity. Several years ago, he announced a plan to give away more than 75% of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation upon his death.
While Buffet may be giving away his fortune when he dies, I encourage you not to wait that long to give generously of what you have. You have been endowed with special qualities, unique to you. By sharing yourself, your time, your encouragement, and your love with others, you are also making a generous donation—one that cannot be measured in dollars— to family, friends, and our society.
Giving or Getting
Do you currently give more than you expect to get? Or, are you preoccupied with waiting for people to do things to meet your needs or expectations?
It’s common for people to say “When you start showing an interest in me, I’ll show an interest in you,” or “When you love me the way I need to be loved, I‘ll love you the way you need to be loved.” Employees in the workplace have said, “When you start paying me more, I’ll start doing more.”
When you concern yourself with how others should be serving your interests and desires, you set yourself up for disappointment.
Picture a Fuller Life
Are you more concerned with giving or getting? One way to determine this is to take a quick self-assessment to help you make an objective observation.
Think about a significant relationship you have with someone—a specific person such as your spouse, close friend, parent, or child. Do you spend more time thinking about what this person should be doing for you rather than what you could be doing for them?
Think about your job or whatever you spend the majority of your day doing. What influences your decisions in this role? Is it how the outcome will benefit you or how it will benefit your employer, community group, or others?
When you are intentional about giving more than you expect to get in your life and in your relationships, you will experience a more rewarding, enjoyable, and successful life.
Family, In-person Communication, Personal Brand, Relationships, Things you were never taught