How to Invest in the Right Things
Header image: Our recent social media post featured a work-in-progress commission for someone that really loves Mumford & Sons. In their song Awake My Soul, they sing the line found on the image – a line that I believe has resonated with many people in the years since the song’s release.
Where you invest your love…
I actually sat down today to write a post about the five biggest printing mistakes designers make, but I suppose you’ll just have to wait with bated breath for that one until next week (in the meantime though, please Google ‘how to add bleed to your print files’).
But as so often happens in life, I got too caught up in humming this song as I drew the piece in the header and my thoughts drifted so far away from print mayhem that I find myself uninspired to rant about the topic today. So instead, as I bravely (or feebly, somedays) work toward a life bursting with fulfilling moments, I thought I would share the tips that I have gathered so far in my limited experience about how to make the things you love – whatever they may be – a bigger part of your life.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life
1. Make your passion marketable
This may seem a little easier for some interests than others. If you love working with cars and getting grease on your hands then it seems quite obvious that you need to devote yourself to doing just that – become a mechanic, a tech, a one-make specialist, etc. But what about our more abstract passions? Our green-thumbs, book nerds, introverts, adventurers, and whoever else, whose path to daily personal happiness lies in a talent that seems, for lack of a better term, useless in an office.
Artists, for example, fall into this rather ambiguous grey-area where you could end up getting very famous and painting an Obama portrait, or you could end up nearly-homeless in your shabby loft, sitting idly with your three cats and wondering why no one will acknowledge your art for the masterpiece it so clearly is. I myself had no idea that art was a legitimately marketable skill until I’d spent four years and more money than is proper to mention in polite company on a degree that had very little to do with my passion.
The moral is this – if you love to do something, there is a way to sell it. Maybe you need to refine your talent first to make it sellable – so be it! Take courses and become incredible at it. Maybe you need to find the right audience – many crafting talents especially have found a home on the internet on sites such as Etsy. Or maybe you take it slowly at first and make a hobby out of it, showcasing your abilities to friends and family. You’d be surprised at how much interest you can garner in something just through word-of-mouth.
Whichever path you choose, incorporate more of your passion into your daily life and find a way to at least supplement your 9-to-5 with it; investing more of yourself into this passion will help you not only hone your skills, but will also allow at least a piece of your income to be something that you can truly be proud of. We all have to work to make a living so why not spend some of those working hours in joyous self-fulfillment?
2. Learn to invest in people
This has to be one of the most difficult lessons that I’ve had to learn throughout my life. Many people will course through our inner and outer circles as we traverse life’s highway and there are few skills quite as important as learning which people to cling to and which to let drift away.
I can’t of course tell you which person to ditch and which to keep, but I often find myself asking two simple questions when in doubt: do they make you better in some way and do they care about you as much as you do for them?
Drop the people that never call you first, that always demand too much of your time with their selfish rantings, and that seem to drain the life out of you with each interaction.
Instead, invest yourself in those few people that buoy you up, that believe you can be better and encourage you, and that are there when you need them. Invest in real friends and genuine colleagues and stop wasting your time on people with no interest in being good to you.
3. Make that one purchase that will really change your life
An article with ‘investing’ in the title would be a little bit of a let-down if I didn’t include at least one money tip, don’t you think?
Now, I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy the new Corvette, or spend a bundle on some impulse electronic, but don’t be afraid to buy that thing you’ve always wanted and that will help you in your quest for happiness. Think of it this way – in a year, will you still be glad you purchased it? Will it make your life better in some way, no matter how small, each day?
For me, my big purchase was the computer I’m currently typing on; man, I love this thing. Not only is the solid-state hard drive impressive and the graphics card top-of-the-line, but it enables to me live my dream each and every day (see point 1). It was a very big one-time expense but over a year and a half later, it’s still one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.
Maybe some of you are thinking that the new 72″ flat screen OLED TV that you saw at Best Buy would help you find your zen – and you may be right! My husband bought his dream TV almost two years ago and still finds happiness in it daily. Your dream purchase doesn’t necessarily have to be ultra-practical but make it something that matters deeply to you.
Whether you buy a camera, a really nice new set of knitting needles, a new backpack for your climbing adventures, or maybe just that book you’ve been wanting to read for a while, don’t be afraid to invest money in your own happiness.
Above all, remember that each day we are given only so many hours and so many minutes to carve out our time in this world. Invest in your passion, your family, friends, and colleagues, and occasionally in Target, Best Buy, or Bass Pro Shops. Invest in what you love and you will grow to love your life as well.