I had a conversation recently with a woman who complained about being desperately frustrated and dissatisfied with her life, yet when I asked her what her hopes and dreams where, she quickly admitted that she had no clue. After talking with the woman, I walked away thinking that she was actually very successful. You see, she was getting out of life exactly what she was putting into it. She was getting a return on her investment, and by all measures, that is the definition of success.
The problem with so many of us is not that we can’t succeed, but in fact, we don’t realize that we are already succeeding…just not at the things we wish we were succeeding at. We are getting a return on our investment; it’s just we’re investing in the wrong things. For so many of us, we simply invest in the stock of surviving. Since most of us are surviving, at the very least, we must conclude that our investments are succeeding.
Yet, we walk around feeling stuck or worse, like we are failing. So what gives? If you want to thrive, you have to invest in thriving. You have to have big dreams and goals, a plan for getting there, and the willingness to make hard sacrifices in order to make it all the way.
If all you have is frustration for the life that you live and the spot that you’re in, but you can’t identify what you don’t like, or where you would rather be, don’t expect to find yourself anywhere new and exciting any time soon. Life is all about making the right investments. Like with any investment, you have to be willing to set resources aside for the investment. That may mean time, energy, even money, but if you are not willing to invest anything, then you will get exactly what you put in: nothing.
There is no such thing as a better life if you can’t examine where you are and figure out how to define “better.” An undefined goal, simply saying you wish life was better, is the same thing as spending all the money for your retirement plan and then, 20 years later, wondering why you have no money.
Part of any good investment means that you have to trust and believe in the company in which you are buying stock. In the case of your life, you have to believe that you can succeed at whatever you put your mind to…but you have to put your mind towards something. Don’t get me wrong: the stock market of life can be just as volatile as Wall Street. Your investment will go up and down. Sometimes, you may even have to start over. But, just as we have seen, time and time again, the stock market always goes up given enough time to prosper.
Don’t expect to make it big the moment you define a goal or set a new dream. Time is the greatest resource on Wall Street and the same is true for your life. Investments take time to grow. Hang in there, stay strong, and invest wisely.