WARNING: This is not a blog post about financial management: I try to stay away from anything like that as most people think that I have ridiculous financial management skills (or maybe I should save that for a future blog post, if you insist.)
I love reading. I spend a lot of time on printed books as well as digital ones. And I am not really a gadget guy but about five months ago, I’ve decided to make one of those purchase decisions that my instinct would have immediately disagreed with. I never looked back after that. I got myself an Amazon Kindle (with the keyboard but without the 3G) thanks to the wonderful sponsors at PASS SQLRally 2011 in Orlando. At first, I thought about giving the Amazon gift card to somebody who really needs it more than I do. But my wife has been trying to convince me to reward myself for all the hard work that I am do. So, I bought the Kindle. Enough said.
I’m an advocate of professional and personal development. It’s one of the reasons why I speak at conferences, write articles and provide mentoring and training to people who are committed to continuous personal growth. However, growth comes at a PRICE. Remember the time you had to learn how to write your name? The price you had to pay to learn the skill was the time to practice (and probably the foot-long ruler hitting your fingers when your teacher didn’t like how you were doing.) You also might want to include the sheets of paper you needed to write on, the pencils that you needed to use, and maybe the amount of orange juice and sandwiches you consumed while practicing your handwriting skills. Or maybe you’ve already forgotten. Maybe because handwriting now comes naturally (I still have an awful handwriting that I can’t even read sometimes, to be honest.) You’re not alone. The majority of the population thinks that growth comes naturally so they do not plan for it. What’s worse is that this mindset is reflected in organizations and corporations around the world.
Let me teach you a natural principle that I’ve kept over the years when it comes to personal growth: Plant trees. When you plant a fruit-bearing tree, you start by planting a seed. The seed comes at a price as you need to buy it maybe from the nursery or some place else. Then, you plant the seed. You would need tools to bury the seed on the soil. The tools also come at a price. Then, you water the seed. The water also comes at a price. If you are storing rainwater, the storage that you use also comes at a price. But does the seed turn into a tree overnight? Of course, not. You wait, you aerate the soil, water it some more, and you wait some more. The waiting comes at a price – your time. Your heart smiles with you when you see the seed turn into a small plant. And you continue to do what you’ve done. Do you see where this is going? It is only after paying the price that comes with planting the tree that you see the fruits and enjoy its benefits. Most people call it cost. I call it an INVESTMENT. Why? Because you are getting a return on what you spent. If you are expecting a return without the investment, that violates the natural principle. It’s like expecting a fruit from a tree which you didn’t plant.
So, what are you willing to pay for as part of your investment for your personal growth? Time? Money? Commitment? Mine started with the books that I read that led me to that Kindle I purchased. I’d like to hear about what you’re doing.