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Your most valuable assets and greatest returns on investments

For the last five years, I’ve been a serious investor in the stock market, making it my daily habit to read, analyze, and study industry trends, macroeconomics, financial legislation, and the earnings reports of hundreds of companies.

Also buying stocks, of course, and recently dipping my toes into cryptocurrency.

As much as I enjoy earning the returns on my investments, I find the subject incredibly interesting, too. Even if I wasn’t investing money in the markets, I would still be following them closely, which I did for about three years before investing a dime.

Unexpectedly, my knowledge of companies, sectors of the economy, industries leaders, macroeconomic trends, and more have assisted me enormously in my consulting business. Understanding the business plan or marketing strategy of a client’s competitor has made me far more valuable to the people who hire me for my opinions.

But of all the charts, graphs, earnings reports, and other data that I’ve read in my study of the markets, I found these two charts – produced by Brian Feroldi – the most compelling and applicable to all people. Feroldi is an analyst in the healthcare and technology sectors. He spends his days studying companies and making recommendations for the buying and selling of stocks.

Despite his chosen profession and life’s work, Feroldi’s charts remind us that money, property, stock portfolios, and retirement accounts are not our most valuable assets, nor do they provide the greatest return on investment. None of these things mean anything if you don’t have the other things included on Feroldi’s charts.

I especially like his inclusion of “confidence ” as one of our most valuable assets.

I couldn’t agree more.

Not only do I see how confidence play out in people’s lives almost daily, but I have also worked with exceptionally successful business leaders who are envious of my confidence and want me to help them build their own.

You’d be shocked at the number of people who lack confidence but compensate with enormous amounts of preparation and practice. Men and women who have struck me as supremely confident have admitted to me that it’s one of their greatest struggles.

But they understand its value.

Confidence makes work easier. It saves time, reduces stress, and allows for greater flexibility. Confidence makes risk taking more possible and allows you to navigate new situations more effectively.

Feroldi is correct. Confidence is an enormous asset if you’re fortunate enough to posses it or wise enough to work on improving it.

I also love the inclusion of “self education” on the second chart. I only know of Brian Feroldi and only saw these charts because I decided to study finance about eight years ago. I chose to become educated about something I knew very little about, and it has enriched my life considerably.

The process of self education continues today. I’m currently studying aviation, even though I have no intention of ever flying a plane. I simply find the subject interesting enough to spend some time learning.

I’m also studying brain science – specifically the way the brain responds to information acquisition – because I see the understanding of this science as an asset to things I already do (teaching, speaking, storytelling, consulting).

As teachers, we hope to produce lifelong learners because Feroldi is correct. Life long learning produces enormous returns on investment.

I’ve printed copies of both of these charts and have them hanging in my office as a reminder of what really matters. The ideas aren’t exactly profound, nor were they unknown to me prior to seeing the charts, but concise reminders like this are still valuable, I think, particularly for those hard days when good decisions are more difficult to make and we sometimes forget to see the big picture.

On those days, reminders like these might make all the difference.