Spending money (or time) has boosted my health, happiness, and overall well-being.
Most people argue the best investments have the highest return rate.
Looking at my net worth’s development, they’d assume I start this article sharing my crypto portfolio or the compounding benefits of my ETFs.
But the best investment returns aren’t monetary, and I won’t bore you with asset classes. Instead, I’ll show you how the right investments can increase your long-term health, happiness, and well-being.
1) $1500 for Fixing My Eating Habits
It doesn’t matter what you eat but why you eat.
No fitness-tracker, diet, or sports-program will save you if you have underlying beliefs that destroy your plans.
I fought with my body weight since 2011. In 2013, I used will-power to reach my dream weight, and yet, I knew I would eventually fall back to old patterns. I felt my body was working against me, and I wasted hours a day worrying.
What helped me the most were investments in an intuitive eating course, psilocybin therapy, and a psychotherapist.
It took me four years and around $1500. But without these investments, it likely would have taken me a lifetime to uncover my underlying beliefs and change them.
Now, I feel aligned with my body. We’re a team, and it feels easy and natural to make healthy eating choices. Again, I reached my dream weight. But this time, there’s no willpower or fear involved—only trust and gratitude.
2) 10 Days for Joining a Vipassana Course
Here’s the daily schedule of a traditional course, based on Goenka:
When I first read through this schedule, it seemed crazy. Why would anybody voluntarily meditate for 10 days, 10 hours a day, without speaking, talking, or writing?
By the time I’d been meditating with an app for some hundred sessions. I experienced the benefits that go along with meditation: a clear, focused, calm mind. And so, I leaped and signed up for a Vipassana course in 2019.
Afterward, I absolutely agree with Blaise Pascal, who said:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
By increasing your awareness, you’ll unleash any stuck emotions. You’ll understand yourself. You might even experience oneness.
The Vipassana technique is a mental tool that helps you deal with life’s hardships. After ten days, you understand the meaning of true happiness.
There’s no fixed fee for the course. Attending the course is donation based. You give what you would like to give. The real investment is ten days of your time. But I promise it’ll be worth it.
3) $250 on Journals for Organizing My Life
In 2017, when I first learned bullet journaling, I almost abandoned the system. I felt Cal Newport was boasting when he wrote, “it will not only help you get more organized but will also help you become a better person.”
I was wrong. And Cal was right.
Around 16 bullet journals in, I know this journaling technique improved my well-being like no other productivity tool did.
The system helped me establish an NGO, host a podcast, become self-employed, read 52 books a year, and so many other things while enjoying my life to the fullest.
Once a year, I sit down and envision the year ahead. Once a month, I translate the yearly goals into the next 30 days. Every week, I’ll break it further down to the next seven days. And every evening, I plan the next day.
$250 for the 16 bulleted journals are among my best investments because every page is a constant reminder of what I care about. Every day is a chance to move further towards my big five for life.
4) $1200 for Writing Courses & Coaching
During the first lockdown last March, I followed my gut feeling and bought access to Sinem Günel’s writing academy.
Before, I hadn’t written anything except for my Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis and around 1350 pages in my bullet journals.
While this investment has also paid monetary rewards, the personal benefits are even bigger.
While writing, my heart opens. While writing, I forget time. While writing, I’m at peace. And without the initial investment in the writing academy, followed by some other online courses, I probably would have quit.
Because the first articles are the hardest. A writing career isn’t linear. You write and write and write, and still don’t see any results.
Learning from people who’ve walked the way helped my trust in my own process. Without a blink, I’d reinvest the $1200 into a writing coach.
5) 7280 Hours for a Fulfilled Relationship
We met in 2014, some months before I’d move to India, then Argentina. And while our long-distance start is rather atypical for romantic relationships, we made it work.
Quantifying my relationship feels odd. In our 7-years together, I never calculated the time we spent with each other. And that’s a good thing.
Here’s a counterexample.
Ali Abdaal, a UK based doctor, YouTuber, instructor, and podcaster, is one of the most productive people on the internet. I admire his reading strategies.
Recently, he shared that in a hypothetic relationship, he’d love to spend 90% by himself and about 10% with his love.
But this thinking is flawed. We can’t, and we shouldn’t quantify our relationships.
Ryan Holiday summarized the phenomenon perfectly, writing in one of his books:
“Many relationships and moments of inner peace were sacrificed on the altar of achievement.”
One of the best investments for personal wellbeing is time spent with my partner. It’s time spent supporting, listening, being supported, loving, laughing, crying, and cuddling.
6) $200 On Turning My Books into Learning Devices
Many people are e-reading enemies until they read their first e-book. I wasn’t a fan until fifteen books in.
You can’t interact with your e-reader as you can with your book. You can’t inhale the smell, dog-ear your favorite pages, or elaborate in the margins.
But you can do something that far exceeds all of the above. You can transform your Kindle into a learning device. Here’s how I made it work for me:
I highlight everything I want to remember. Then, I use the kindle notes page to cut down my highlights to their essentials. Then, I use Readwise to import all highlights to my Notion library.
I spent $150 on a Kindle and $50 a year for Readwise. But the rewards are priceless. The investment in e-reading changed the way I store and access my knowledge.
The Bottom Line
Generalizing investment advice is impossible because every person is different. What might be an incredible investment for me might not resonate with you.
And while these six investments in eating habits, meditation, bullet journalling, writing, relationships, and an e-reader have been great for me, they might be meaningless for you.
Your life, your rules. Whatever you determine as your most valuable investment is up to you.
But in any case, remember: The best investment returns aren’t monetary but the ones that increase your long-term health, happiness, and well-being.
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