Have you heard the expression ‘invest in yourself’? It is a term we hear all the time, but do we ever take the time to live up to its meaning?

Invest in yourself can mean a lot of things to different people as we seen in Nollywood movies where their version is having the latest blackberry phones, and the latest fashion. In regards to career development, it means equipping yourself with the right education and skills.

In the book Outliers written by Malcolm Gladwell, he mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. How do you think Bill Gates or Steve Jobs revolutionized the technology industry?

Investing in your self is dedicating time to acquire new skills and learning concepts that will help achieve your career goals. Many Nigerians want to become entrepreneurs because of the lack of jobs. The dynamic shift calls for self-investment now more than ever.

One of the best ways to invest in yourself is reading books among the likes of E-Myth by Michael Gerber or How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Reading books will help you see a variety of viewpoints. There is no exact formula for success, but it can be learned by reading other success stories.

A formal education is a stumbling block for Africans because of low acceptance rates and high tuition rates that come with going to a university. But there are other alternatives such as training courses, career development training centers, and online free courses platforms like MIT Open Courseware. Not only should you look into educating yourself with new ideas and competencies but take the time to learn life skills as well.

With the power of Internet it is easier to network with people all across the world. Take the time to understand how to make solid connections and not just a big network. Learn how to be diplomatic even if a situation is not exactly going your way. The best way to learn how to network is attending conferences and meeting different types of people. Yes, conferences can be expensive, but the right conference can bring a great return on investment.

Investing in yourself is worth more than investing in a house, stocks, and bonds. Learning is a lifelong process; take every opportunity to indulge yourself with knowledge.

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