On balancing short-term self-investment and longer-term goals

Your money is finite — your goals endless. Obviously, there are going to be complications and necessary sacrifices.

Your short-term goals can be defined as self-investment and happiness. Your long-term goal is whatever accomplishes the overarching task of your life.

Both are important. Neither can be neglected.

Spending money in the short-term, you must be careful whatever you buy has two critical qualities. The short-term purchase must bring you joy, and it must improve you.

Short-term happiness could be buying a handle of vodka and partying with friends. But is it self-investment that will improve your skills and knowledge as a human being? No. Not a chance. Next.

Purchasing a one month pass at my local rock climbing gym for $90. A significant outlay of capital — for a purpose.

The benefits: rock climbing doubles as the physical fitness discipline in my day. Rock climbing also makes me happy as I slam new routes at the gym. And because I intend for rock climbing to be a huge part of my life if I spend money now, I learn now — I don’t begin climbing a full six months later than I could have. The best time to start is yesterday — the second best time is now.

Buying $40 worth of books. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Tao te Ching by Lao Tsu and translated by Stephen Mitchell, The Dharma Bums, and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Priceless; books that change the way you think? Books that have butterfly effects for the rest of your life as you leaf through your notes in times of need? Incalculable benefits. For an initial cost of roughly $10 a book.

Short-term happiness and self-investment cannot be neglected or else you atrophy. If you think you’re maintaining equilibrium in life you’re not — you’re either growing, or you’re dying.

But long-term goals must be be a constant focus as well. I’m not sure how my savings will end up when I leave on December 16th, but I feel they won’t be where I desire them. In part because of my self-investment now. But that’s fine. They will be around there, and I’ll have grown significantly in the short-term because of those books. Because I have access to a gym where I can grow my rock-climbing skill set.

 

And because of the books I’ve read, that have, yes, shortened my capital for traveling, I won’t end up with the money I want. But also because of those books I’ve made myself happier, more knowledgable, more disciplined, and confident that I’ll sort out what needs to be sorted when the time comes.

You cannot afford to atrophy now. Your investment in books, classes, courses, and self is part of your long-term plan and you must see it as maybe even more important than saving for a trip.

It’s a delicate balancing act, but never wince away from spending money on something that makes you a better person. It will only help you.

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