Investments in yourself will pay you 10x more than a stock market index fund that has limited upside.
You can either invest time or money. If you have no money then the default option is time. Here are some small investment ideas to try.
Reading books instead of online content
Too much online content in my content diet leaves me starving.
Much of it is rubbish. There’s no depth or thought. A lot of it feels like a content mill run by ChatGPT AI overlords.
Books are a better investment. Especially timeless books. The key to having books produce great returns is to act on the knowledge. Don’t read books for learning.
Read them as a way to find ideas you can self-experiment with. Otherwise, the book is often no better than rubbing one out to skin-on-skin action.
As a guy that got sucked into a religious cult, I have a love-hate relationship with spirituality.
But true spirituality has nothing to do with a god or any kind of bible.
Spirituality is the path to return peace to your inner world. It can come from spiritual revelations that happen after failure or rejection. It can come from deep contemplation or daily journaling. It can even come from meditation which helps you see the present differently.
I even find flow states are deeply spiritual. It feels like an out-of-body experience, where the meaning of my life is temporarily replaced and I’m serving a higher power I can never speak with.
Spirituality is when you feel there’s something bigger than yourself. Invest in that cause every day and you’ll find something far more powerful than money or fame.
A second brain
Your brain is an asset.
Thanks to information overload, many of us have scatterbrains. We can’t think. We can’t remember important stuff. And we’ve got brain fog.
A small investment to try is in a second brain. It’s basically advanced note-taking software that helps get data out of your head and into your phone or computer where it belongs.
I use Roam Research. Many use Notion. You do you.
The opportunity with a second brain is it helps you access compound thinking, where you take unrelated ideas and join them together to make something beautiful. Your learning speed goes up too.
“Most writing online is done for selfish reasons.”
That’s wrong. Writing online is a small investment. When you give up your time to do it and help others, opportunities find their way into your DMs and email inbox.
The payoff is huge. Your luck surface area increases. You stop asking for permission or applying for jobs or degrees. Instead, you become a filter. You become proactive at what you’ll say yes to and aggressive with what you’ll say no to.
The danger is writing takes courage.
It’s often not understood widely. There is a chance you might write something that upsets people or accidentally reveals too much about you or someone you know. The risk is small.
But if you can get past the risk and use courage to write, from experience, your entire life will change in ways you could never predict.
I get people that email me all the time and say “how much money will I make if I start writing?” They miss the point.
Writing directly for money is the dumbest way to do it.
Writing indirectly brings you money if you can remain helpful and build a writing habit that lasts more than a year. Too many don’t show up long enough to access the payoff.
Increase your attention span
Energy is a resource that can be invested.
The challenge is our attention spans are getting nuked by deadly viruses known as TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube Shorts. Sometimes I think…
If we shut down TikTok for 90 days many of the world’s mental health issues would disappear.
It’s not just mental health. Too much short-form garbage, designed to spike your dopamine levels, takes away energy. That’s the energy you’d otherwise be able to invest in yourself and a side hustle.
Regain your energy. Delete dopamine-sucking apps.
Forgive hurt people
There are plenty of miserable people in the world.
You’ll likely come across a few. Some may even double-cross you. The temptation is to become the prison executioner who drops the ax on their heads. One of the best small investments I’ve made is to forgive people.
Even if they don’t deserve forgiveness.
It removes a lot of the negativity from your life, and it helps you focus on what matters. I’ve found when I forgive, often, the act itself can transform certain people and they realize their mistake. I’ve even become friends with a few.
From spewing hate to I love you amigo — that’s the power of forgiveness.
A personal brand
Scratch that. Personal brands are full of selfishness.
A better small investment is to build an email list that provides true credibility and a group of people who can amplify your ideas.
With a big enough email list there’s almost nothing you can’t achieve. An email list is a way to provide for your family too. Because an email list equals money.
You can literally send an email that says “I now offer a consulting service. Reply to this email if you’re interested.”
Now you have an income that’s not a job in a cubicle prison.
An online business
Not to get rich but to learn how to run a business.
Yesterday my online business taught me how to run a payroll. Last week it taught me how to borrow money to buy a house. The week before that it taught me how to find an illustrator and send them a brief.
Even if the online business fails, the skills you learn about how to run a business transfer to any job. Plus, you sound smart in a job interview because you can articulate what business owners do and provide evidence.
Run a tiny online business to learn about business.
A small bedroom podcast
Maybe you don’t become Tim Ferriss or Joe Rogan.
Who cares. Investing in a podcast is a way to meet cool people. It’s a way to take another person’s life and distill it into actionable takeaways real people can use to imitate certain results.
Obviously podcast success won’t happen in a month. It probably won’t even happen in a year. But after 5 years there’s a good chance of success because most podcasts don’t make it that long.
If yours does then you can succeed on nothing more than grit.
Fall in love with Ryan Holiday’s obsession
Old mate Ryan is the poster boy for stoicism.
It’s a branch of philosophy that’s easy to understand and can teach you more than a 4 year business degree.
When you read stoic advice from a long time ago, it helps remind you that wisdom is timeless — that everything has changed and simultaneously nothing has changed at all.
Daily forest baths
A forest bath is what Japanese people call a walk in a forest.
The bath washes the inside of your head and cleanses your thoughts. This happens because walking in nature is meditation.
It’s when the mind can become present. It’s when the dots in your head can link together and make sense of the noisy world we live in. Find a forest and go walk in it. Come back feeling like a new person.
Investing in learning makes you better at earning.
We all know that deep down. The best skills right now are:
- No-code software
- Video editing
Let new skills make the next 5 years look like a piece of piss.