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Why You Should Sharpen Your Wits and Invest in Yourself

"They can take away something that you have, but they can't take away something that you are."

When you learn to live without the comforts and security that life typically has to offer, you become strong inside yourself. You learn to rely on your wits and wisdom, and to become something more. If you rely on something tangible that you have, it isn't true security. Everything that you have can be lost.

However, when you depend on your skills, abilities and knowledge, these are things that you always take with you. No one can take away innate qualities that you have within yourself. You don't forget all that you have learned in life so far. There are many things that you know how to do quite well, and these skills can serve you in the future.

This makes learning the most valuable thing that you can do for yourself. The more you know, the more power you have. You can develop skills to survive in any situation that life throws at you. You can develop confidence and self reliance in ways that you never thought possible.

Become a Life Long Learner

In our society, many of us are conditioned to believe that all our learning takes place in school, and once we graduate and move into the world, we stop taking time out of our day to learn. However, many workplaces are now providing professional development to employees. Finding this type of supportive employer can really help you learn more skills to serve you in the future.

According to Harvard University, Benefits of Professional Development for Employees include:

  • Learn new skills

  • Boost Confidence and Credibility

  • Develop Leadership Skills

  • Build Your Network

  • Advance in your career

When you engage in professional development for your workplace, it can help you to advance your career, and show that you are serious about being a top candidate in your field. If you company doesn't offer opportunities for professional development, you can seek them out on your own, too.

In the last couple of years, I have gotten a paralegal certification from Boston University, as well as an online life coaching certification from David Key. I actually found the life coach program from an ad on Instagram, so that just goes to show you can find opportunity to learn from anywhere!

If you don't have money to invest in learning a new skill from a local university program, not to worry! There are many free opportunities to learn new skills as well. You can always watch how-to's on YouTube, participate in Webinars that you find on social media, or attend something like Colorado Free University. LinkedIn Learning also provides a one month free trial of their programs, if you are able to learn things quickly.

Don't forget, there is also always your local public library. Since there is no cost to get a library card in most places, you can check out books on any topic that interests you, and learn about new things that way. TV networks like Discovery and the History Channel also provide a wealth of information through their shows.

Learning from life

In addition to learning in a structured manner as I mentioned above, there is knowledge and wisdom to be gained through everyday life as well. Everyone with whom you come in contact throughout the day is a potential teacher. We all have unique and different experiences and ways of looking at the world. If you happen to strike up a conversation with someone, you may be surprised what you learn just through making connections with others.

As we go through our daily routine, there are lessons to be learned in our own experiences as well. By handling new and different situations, stretching our comfort zone, and looking for solutions to daily problems, we can learn a lot through what happens to us each day.

Throughout our lives, we learn practical skills for living, as well as lessons about how the world works. This knowledge becomes the basis of wisdom, as we learn to handle the struggles of life more effectively.

According to Ladders, here are 10 important life lessons that many of us learn too late:

  1. Walk your own path

  2. Don’t hesitate when you should act

  3. Experience what you have learned

  4. Good things don’t come easy

  5. Never fail to try more

  6. Take care of your health early

  7. Make every moment count

  8. Live and let live

  9. Be flexible with your goals

  10. For every action, there’s an equal opposite reaction

Have you learned some of these lessons yourself through trial and error, or is there helpful wisdom here that you can take forward? You can think about advice that you were given by your parents, teachers, coaches or supervisors over the years. Or, you can gain wisdom through reading up on successful people like Oprah or Bill Gates.

No one has completely the same experiences that you have in your life, but many of us are similar in a number of ways. You can learn from people that you come in contact with, or situations that you deal with on a daily basis. The more you are able to find a lesson in each day, the more you are able to learn and grow, and develop into a better person.

What we have can be lost

If you rely on external forces to guide your course in life, you may find the bottom falling out on you if you experience the loss of a relationship, job, home, or something else we have depended on. The things in our life aren't permanent. That is why it is important to build your most important resource - yourself!

You never know if a disaster like Hurricane Katrina or the Ukraine War will take away everything that you have spent your life investing in. Material things can always be lost. But, the knowledge, skills and abilities that you carry within yourself will be with you forever.

Sometimes, you may find an unexpected circumstance forcing you to start over with life from square one. It can feel like a daunting and impossible task, especially if you invested a lot of time, energy and money into building what you had before. Suffering an unexpected loss is a form of trauma, and it is important to be gentle with yourself if you are in this situation.

In order to move forward after a loss, first we take time to grieve and mourn the life we thought would last. But after we do, it is time to move on and build a new life for ourselves. It may feel difficult later in life to start over with nothing, but remember, you are smarter than you were when you built your life the first time, and you can do it in a more intentional way.


Whatever your circumstances or situation in life, investing in yourself sets you up for success in the future. The more skills, knowledge and wisdom you have, the better able you will be to cope with change that comes unexpectedly.

The one thing you always have in life is yourself. So, investing in yourself is the best way to spend your energy, time and money. Everything you do to grow both professional skills and to grow as a person will help you for many years to come.

Learn to look at yourself as a life long learner, and you will begin to find important lessons in unexpected places. The ability to see yourself as a learner also makes you more adaptable to change, and to pivot when necessary.

I hope that you are able to learn something new and interesting today. They say, knowledge is power for a reason. It truly is the best resource that we can have. The more you know, the more you are able to accomplish in life!

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