Investment vs Expenditure
The money that we spend can be seen as either an investment or just expenditure; time spent can be an investment or wasted; food used can be a nutritional investment or a plain old expense. In a world that is continually pushing us to ‘invest’, in a number of things, from our health to the stock market, how do we choose what is best? What determines whether money is leaving our purse and wallet as an investment or as an expense?
We spend so much of our time on the habits we have created. Do we ever stop to look at those and assess whether those habits are still serving us today? For example, some people like to collect stamps or coins or postcards… well that’s wonderful! But is that hobby still as useful today as it was say, 30 years ago? Or do we continue saving for the sake of it?
Perhaps we are shopaholics? But do we really need all that stuff that is bulging in our wardrobe? Or do we buy things simply because of the sales? Some researchers have likened this type of habit like other addictive behaviours, as a way that individuals can escape life. Almost to the point that those behaviours control the person. Perhaps we need to be adopting newer habits to keep up with the stresses and strains of our times?
What makes the difference between something
being an investment or an expense
is people’s values and attitudes.
What makes the difference between something being an investment or an expense is people’s values and attitudes. If one’s values are to use money wisely, for a charity or a benevolent cause, then that will surely turn into an investment. Of course, one can justify that using money on oneself is an investment of one’s self esteem! But again, to what end and am I being honest with myself?
Spending time learning and researching something could be an investment. But spending hours playing computer games is not exactly going to get you an Olympic Medal… not just yet anyway! Spending time chatting, encouraging positive thinking can be an investment, but spending time nattering and gossiping is not going to make you a master toastmaster.
Therefore, we need to stop and check some of our attitudes, values and behaviours in life. Are they aligned to our greater purpose? Do we know what our purpose is? If my aim is to drive from Kuwait to Bahrain, then I am going to need to fill up the tank. It just makes sense to fill up the tank fully before I start, because the car is definitely going to take that much fuel (and some more!).
In the same way if I know my purpose in life – MY AIM – in other words, I know where I need to get to then I need to fill up (fully). I need to be full with the right values, attitudes, discipline, behaviour, motivation to get me to my destination. It’s not going to work if I say one thing and do something opposite. This doesn’t create authenticity for the soul, and that would just be a bad investment!
Basically, it is my conscience that decides: Is this an investment, or is my hard-earned money just going down the drain, in which case the alarm bells should be going off? If my conscience is clean and clear, then I will choose to use everything for a good purpose (and vice versa). I will make a good investment of all my resources – time, thought, breath, money etc. However, if I am not investing, then I will have a guilty conscience.
Investments yield returns, any expense does not.
The reason why we want to make an investment and not create further loss in our life is for obvious reasons. Investments yield returns, any expense does not. When I invest, I am planting a seed. When I expend, I am eating or wasting the fruit. And once the fruit is eaten, then what is left? Nothing! Unless that is, I make the effort to plant another seed. Yes, I can re-invest in some venture that will bear some future fruit.
I am no investment manager, but from my years of spiritual experience, I have found that the following are ways we can invest spiritually.
- Helping someone without wanting anything in return.
- Being of service to others, and extending a helping hand where we can.
- Using our money to educate or improve the life of someone else.
- Try practicing the famous quote: “Simple living and high thinking.” We are very good at high living and simple thinking!! This is part of our problem today.
- Spending some time doing voluntary work.
- Taking less from the resources of our planet.
- Recycling and reusing.
- Feeding someone else food, water and helping to support and nurture them.
- Reconnecting back to Mother Nature.
- Supporting both animals and the environment in the area in which we live.
- Simply being there for friends and family.
- Listening with understanding and compassion when someone needs to be heard.
- Visiting the sick and elderly, and those people who live isolated lives.
- Spending more time in quiet contemplation.
- Investing in the development of the self.
The gentle art of Meditation teaches us the difference between what is wasteful and what will bring us some spiritual credit i.e. savings. It helps to keep a clear conscience so we can make the best decisions and stop any wasteful spending, i.e. stop wasting! Our purpose gives us a clear aim as to where to start applying both our internal and external resources.
When we learn to cut our losses, then we will find that it is in our own self-interest to invest more in ourselves and others. The more we can recognise these differences, between an investment and an expense, the happier and more at peace our soul will be.
It’s Time…. to assess our own life and see where we can make good investments with the least expense. Then we may just become eligible for a spiritual Olympic medal!
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK