Learning and understanding the simple principle of "Sowing and Reaping" as early as possible in life can turn out to be the absolute BEST LESSON LEARNED during your entire educational process. This principle is so basic and elementary, yet so powerful. Unfortunately it is easily overlooked and often takes a backseat on one's priority chart of principles to practice. Using this principle to help make decisions and direct your daily actions, will lead you toward the development of "An Investment Mindset" that can pay a lifetime of dividends, just as interest in a bank compounds and accumulates over long spans of time.
To me, an investment mindset is all about thinking, planning and executing well to improve your future. It's not strictly relating to money, dollars and cents but rather how you value and invest your time; improve and utilize your skills; and execute your plans. Do you make decisions based on immediate gratification? Or do you make decisions based on an investment mindset, and how you will benefit not only at the moment but in the future?
This lesson was inspired by Black Friday which occurred two days ago, the day after Thanksgiving which is always one of the largest retail shopping days of the year in the United States. The newspapers were full of advertising circulars leading up to this one day event, when about 25 billion dollars were spent by American consumers, trying to buy at bargain prices. Many retailers opened at midnight, and people stood in line for hours, in order to buy the latest toy, game or TV set on sale. How many of those millions of shoppers were practicing an investment mindset, as they purchased a new plasma TV on sale for $1200 or the hottest GPS device for $600? While both of these items are nice to have, neither of them will reap many dividends in ones life for the future. In fact if the statistics are correct, around $20 billion of that money spent on Black Friday was charged on credit cards of the recipients, who will pay off those big ticket purchases over time with hefty interest charges added on each month. In the end, after the interest charges and perhaps late penalties, those bargain prices may turn out to be much higher than if one purchased those items with cash on a normal shopping day at full price.
While our economy depends on consumer spending, every individual and family would be a whole lot better off financially if they used more fiscal sense when making purchases. If you are practicing an investment mindset in your life, you don't buy what you want, but rather what you need and what you can afford. While it might be nice to have a 50" plasma TV, no one should go into debt to purchase one. A plasma TV will not improve your health, your wealth or your long term happiness. In fact buying one that you cannot afford and paying for it with a credit card making the minimum payments, will deteriorate your health, your wealth and your happiness in the long term.
In order to develop and practice an investment mindset, one must think about sowing and reaping constantly. Instead of purchasing a plasma TV on credit, one should strive to pay off all their credit cards once and for all, and become "credit card debt free!" While that may seem to take some time and discipline to accomplish, just think of the time and discipline the farmers had to practice to sow their crops and reap the benefits of their hard work. Farmers were on a mission every year to feed themselves and their families and knew it wasn't easy. Anyone who thinks life is easy for those who are more successful than they are is living in a fantasy world. Every success comes at the price of practicing discipline and sacrificing. Every failure occurs because someone was not willing to pay the ultimate price it took to achieve success.
Where do you stand today on a scale of 1 to 10, on the "Investment Mindset Chart?" Do you invest your precious time wisely on activities that will improve your future, rather than spend it on activities that give you instant gratification but hurt your future? Do you invest your hard earned money on necessities like healthy food and practical clothing for yourself and family rather than on the latest GPS or fanciest cell phone for all? Do you invest in books, magazines or educational tools to develop the skills and knowledge you and your family will need to compete in the future, rather than buying the latest video games, DVD's and expensive toys that will collect dust on your shelves? Do you have a savings account that grows each month, rather than credit card debt that grows each month? Do you think about, plan and execute the disciplines and actions necessary for a brighter future or do you think about how you are going to talk your way out of the troubles and stress you created? Why not rate yourself?
An investment mindset means your mind is set on the future rather than the present and past. To enjoy a brighter future, one must be prepared to sacrifice something in the present. The farmer had to be in the field working and planting and sowing, in order to reap. He might have liked to be watching a plasma TV or playing a video game instead of sowing. But then he would not have reaped the benefits of his sacrifice. Teach your kids this important lesson. Talk about sowing and reaping. Develop an INVESTMENT MINDSET today and enjoy a brighter future!