Merry Christmas errrr’baaady!
It’s the time of the year again to get together with your loved ones and have a special meal of turkey and festive food.
In Singapore, nothing beats catching up with your friends and relatives over food, right?
And how can we forget the gift exchange that comes along every Xmas?
We love giving gifts to others as it feels right.
Research has shown that giving stimulates the same neural networks that light up when we feel pleasure, such as eating a cookie or running warm water over cold hands.
Another part of exchanging gifts is receiving. When we receive a gift, we feel good, we feel touched, and we feel loved.
However, how many times have we gifted a gift to ourselves?
Let’s pause and think for a moment…
Not many of us would have thought about the concept of gifting something to ourselves. It just sounds weird, doesn’t it?
But, it’s really simple to do so.
I think one of the best gifts we can give ourselves is the gift of knowledge.
And we can do that by simply buying books on topics that we would like to expand our knowledge on and spending some time reading it.
That’s also called investing in yourself.
The Best Gift And Investment Ever
Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world, mentioned in an interview that the best investment you can make is one that “you can’t beat”. That investment can’t be taxed and is not affected by inflation as well.
And that investment is investing in ourselves.
“Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. … Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet.”
By investing in ourselves, we will amass the knowledge that would not have been possible otherwise.
There are thousands of books out there on thousands of topics.
For people who wish to learn about investing, they can start with some investment books on this booklist.
Warren Buffett also said that knowledge builds up, just like compound interest.
What Can Beginners Do
A commonly-asked question in our Seedly Community is how does one go about investing.
A number of answers point to one thing, and that is to read.
I jogged back my memory to recall out how I first started investing. I didn’t have much money when I first started investing just like many others.
I remember all I had was the monthly allowance given during National Service, which I managed to squirrel away diligently.
With the money I had, I invested in books on personal finance and investing.
I remember the first book I chanced upon and bought at Popular Tiong Bahru Plaza was Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
That book was not a step-by-step guide on investing, but it at least changed my mindset on how I view money.
From there, I had the thirst to learn more, so I went to read up more on investing.
I also went for an investment course to improve my learning curve since I had no accounting or finance background from school.
After starting, we should never stop learning.
In Tamil, there’s a saying that goes like, “Known is a drop, unknown is an ocean”.
There’s always something new to learn about every day, especially in investing, since the stock market is very fluid.
Even Buffett, who can be said to have arrived at investing, is a fervent reader.
He once gave students this advice in an investing class at Columbia University on the power of reading:
“Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
Compound interest is said to be the eighth wonder of the world.
What happens when you apply such a magnificent force to learning?
You become a knowledge machine.
But, Who Has Time?
I can hear you lamenting that you don’t have time.
You might not have the luxury to read 500 pages a day, especially if you are a slow reader like me. However, we can commit to reading at least 10 minutes a day and build it up from there.
For example, you can read 10 minutes daily each week.
The following week, you can read 20 minutes and slowly increase your reading time to something that you are comfortable doing every day.
If you hate reading, there are audiobooks. That’s a productivity tip Bill Gates has to compound knowledge.
Famed author, JK Rowling, was once quoted as saying:
“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”
So, for this Christmas, gift yourself something out-of-the-ordinary by investing in yourself.
Pick a book on any topic that you want to learn more about.
You will never know how magical that gift can be until you try.
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