For the first 25 years of my life, I was asleep. I don’t mean in a literal sense, but my perception of the World was narrow at best and my avenues for growth were few and far between. I had one thing that mattered enough in my life for me to focus my drive on, and that was my music. I remember having conversations with my friends and peers and wondering why they were interested in so much, yet my passion was focused so exclusively on this one thing; my band, and my music. The rich diversity in the World had not yet discovered me – or rather, I had made no effort to discover it. I thought of my singular passion for my music as the focused dedication that would take me far, and surely result in my realising my childhood dream of becoming a World famous rock star; playing gigs to thousands of doting fans across the face of the Earth, recording albums in remote and inspirational places that would one day become historical classics, and living a life of abundance in every way imaginable.
Further more, I believed I could do it on my own. I taught myself to play bass, guitar, and all sorts of electronic gadgets including a synthesiser. Primarily I was, and am, a vocalist, and it was in this one talent I finally invested in by taking singing lessons from a World class opera/theatre singer. This was lesson number one about the value of investing in myself in ways that could – and would – seriously accelerate my rate of growth.
Up until that point I had fed myself bullshit about how I would loose my unique individual sound if I allowed myself to be taught how to sing – and I correlated that to ‘ sing like’ – by someone else. Besides, I was a smart guy and so being strong headed as I was (and to some extent still can be) I decided that it would be easier and produce better results teaching myself. How ridiculously naive – I was 18 years old.
It wasn’t until I was 25 that the next lesson came like a wheel kick to the face; there’s a World out there so weird, and wonderful, so full of exotic unimaginable diversity, that when you open your eyes to it, see it for all it is and can be, you have no choice but to exist from that moment on in a perpetual state of awe and fascination.
But a lot of us like existing in our ignorant, cosy little bubbles; it’s easier there. Those people are bullshitting themselves, and all it leads to is suffering coupled with a severe lack of fulfilment. This state perpetuates our societal failure to understand one another. It closes our minds to possibility, and in doing so closes the doors of opportunity.
So, I woke up! I starting becoming interested in reports of UFO’s and extra terrestrials, which in turn led to my studying astro-physics, astronomy, and helio-physics; which in turn drove me to buy a telescope so I could see the planets, nebulae and galaxies for myself, and which in turn humbled me in ways I cannot even begin to describe. I started training in Tae Kwon Do, which in turn led me to desire better health and fitness to improve my performance as a fighter; which in turn inspired me to qualify as a personal trainer. I then started to think about other elements of fighting that I could also study and train in to add to my Tae Kwon Do, and so began training in Systema (a Russian martial arts system) and MMA. I am now a well rounded fighter, with a shit-load left to learn! What’s the theme here in this paragraph? I opened one door which led to two more, and every single time I got results because I took MASSIVE action to move forward, investing time, effort, sweat, blood and tears into setting and not only achieving, but smashing through my goals.
We now arrive at the point of this post; you cannot place enough value on investing in yourself. It is an absolute must in order for you to continue to grow throughout your life, to perpetually evolve and each day wake up a better version of yourself than you’ve ever previously known. This, I believe, is the true meaning of life. We are explorers; we scour the planets and stars alike; we scour the Earth from coast to coast, to the top of the highest mountains and to the depths of the chasms that stretch across our seas – why then do we not place the same level of importance and passion into exploring ourselves? Our strengths to build on and weaknesses to learn from? Who we are and why? The source of our passions, and the unlimited possibility that lies before each and every one of us? This is the real adventure in all of our lives; to invest in learning and growth, and to discover the endless bounds of possibility within. We are driven to find our limits through some ancient primal force, and for all we’ve achieved to date, we’re still not even close.
You may have heard people say that if you think of yourself and your own personal needs then you’re selfish, you may even think that of yourself or people you know. It’s bullshit. I concede that there are people in this World who think only of themselves and whom would be appropriately described as being self-centred; we are not talking about these people. There is a reason that when flying with major airlines, they tell you that in an emergency you should always put the oxygen mask on yourself before attempting to help others, and the logic behind this is sound. If you don’t breathe, you’re dead – and then you’re helping no one. Extrolpolate that out, and the same applies here. It is imperative that each and every one of us makes the time and invests the effort required for taking care of our own personal needs; it is imperative for longevity, health and wellbeing. That includes down time to relax, regular physical exercise to keep your body and mind fit, mental exercise and stimulation to keep your mind sharp, love and lots of laughter.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself.
Invest in yourself; the return on your investment will be nothing short of incredible – and you deserve it.