A confession: I've slid in deeply into denial about the current speed of life. An endless amount of information and options live at our fingertips at any given time, and I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the concept of time itself. Time, our most precious commodity, and the prospect of wasting (which unnerves me). In a relentless attempt to preserve such a fleeting relativity, I can't help but ponder about better ways to spend it.
First come the simple methods, some sort of distracting agents. These can range from TV to music to reading; each a solid means of escapism. While we can all agree it's not inherently wrong to do something like watch TV, no real accomplishments come from partaking either. You have to admit the lingering complacency in simply seeking and passively accepting surrounding stimuli.
Then come the tasks that require more energy and brain power. Consider these your engagers, the items on an agenda that burn fuel and require work to upkeep. Think of a hobby, skill, or any job quite frankly that forces you to step outside of your comfort zone. Anything that demands energy from you; not just to think, but also to act. You can always expect some sort of reward at the end, comparable to a transaction. A way to measure your time against some concrete result.
After that comes the category I find the hardest time reconciling, which I can only describe as investing. Our attempts to fulfill hidden desires, resolve past traumas and create a happier tomorrow. These events take place in the privacy of our own thoughts; the value only we see, and that only we can make sense of. Investing can refer to a broader scope of subcategories like people, jobs, property, finance, hobbies, and so on. Though no matter the subcategory, in this context we can regard any means of investment as an exercise in developing a sense of self beyond the consequence.
If you think hard, it only makes sense for investing to have a different category from the other ways we spend our time. While you can watch something on tv, that doesn't require any sort of commitment to self-empowerment or self-improvement to do so. Only a willingness to take in. You can also spend your time on a hobby or work without really investing yourself because as people, we have the ability to compartmentalize. Our ability to perform a monetary task, which doesn't really begin to breach the same level of investment, has no relation whatsoever to the purpose we derive from the more unguaranteed investments we carve away for ourselves.
For all the ways that we can spend time, there stands one that without a doubt that seems equal parts difficult and risky, and that's where to invest. Our investments push us along the long-term hustle and essentially become the prerequisites in the classroom of a fulfilling life. They need the most consideration, effort, and maintenance while simultaneously testing our limits. They represent the kind of person we wager to become in the future. In other words, they influence the content of our character over time and can lead us in infinitely differing directions.
So in what ways can someone make the most positive investments while spending the least amount of time and energy on unproductive endeavors as possible?
The only tangible answer comes from a more academic perspective, and less of a feel-good one: experimentation.
You have to take a good, long look at the kinds of smaller investments made in the past. Who did they involve, what were you looking for in the first place, and most importantly - did it work out the way you wanted? From there, branch out to find what worked best for you.
Investing in yourself doesn't differ much from tailoring clothing. The best results come when you find pieces (and people) that compliment your style; collaborating to fine-tune the outfit. You often already have the piece in your closet - so customize the fit.