By Tensing Rodrigues
Often we come across people who invest heavily, and wisely, in bank deposits, stocks, mutual funds, gold, real estate, etc., but forget to invest in themselves; and, as a result, cannot enjoy the gains from their financial and commodity investments. Let us today take a casual view of what could be done to avoid such a silly blunder in investment planning.
How can we invest in ourselves? We can visualise three broad categories of self-investment: physical health, peace of mind and what we may call ‘joy of living’. Physical health is relatively easy to invest in. Doing what is good for our body and avoiding what is bad for it. Easier said than done! What is good for our body ? Definitely not hair shampoos, body lotions and cucumber packs. Let us think of the real goodies. Again, not chocolate cakes and chicken tandoori. I do not mean all these are bad but that is not how we invest in health.
The basic necessities are good nutrition and physical activity. Nutrition includes all that is necessary to keep us fit and going; and keeping out all that makes us unfit. We all know what it means. Physical activity is not necessarily gyming and jogging. It simply means not missing an opportunity to move our limbs. I suppose that should be good enough to keep us running. Yes, the machine does break down now and then. But feeding it with pharmaceuticals is not the solution. The body has its own correction mechanism. We have to only recognize it and let it work. And there is lot of food that can help the body do it. Perhaps the most common of all is water – plain water.
The next is peace of mind. Yes, peace of mind needs to be nurtured. We are born with it but lose it too soon. But it can be regained, at least partly. How do we regain peace of mind? By not letting it get lost on unworthy pursuits. The biggest killer today is the stress. In fact, many of the common ailments owe their origin to it. Diabetes is not contracted by eating lot of chocolates; nor is high blood pressure the result of eating too much of chips so also, high cholesterol is not a result of eating too much of butter.
Our garbage treatment plant is capable of breaking down and getting rid of all that junk. But the stress breaks down that plant and then junk clogs our system. And stress is not tiredness. We may drop dead of tiredness. But we will not be riddled with diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension. Stress is a conflict within between what we think is right and what we desire to do. It is the continuous tearing between our heart and our mind. The way out of this strife is simple: Think, say and do what we feel is right. There is a simple thumb rule like the compounding rule. Anything that gives us lasting joy is the right thing. Anything that gives us a momentary high and then pushes us into despair is the wrong thing.
Last, and perhaps the most beneficial investment we can make in ourselves is enjoying life. Yes simply enjoying life. But how can we enjoy life if life is so bad? And how can life be good if everybody and everything around is so bad? That is where the secret of enjoying life lies. We cannot enjoy life if everybody and everything around us is so bad. So, how do we enjoy life? Just assume that everybody and everything around us is not too bad. Stupid, right? Not really. Surely everything around us is not perfect. But perhaps that is how it is supposed to be. It is for us to make it perfect! If we do not want to or cannot let us just forget about it. Perhaps our scale needs re-calibration.
It is now scientifically proved (earlier I used to think that only I feel it that way) that social media is a major cause of depression. You can check it for yourself. Just count every day for a month how many daily posts on FB are positive and how many are negative? I did it and saved myself from having to see a psychiatrist. Much of the matter in print media too can have similar effect. So leave all that adrenaline inducing crap and just enjoy life. And you have made the best investment of your life.
The author is an investment consultant. Readers can send their comments and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org