Investment comes later and returns come first. That’s how our minds work when we have funds to manage and net worths to multiply. But what actually escalates your progress?

Honestly, it is self-investment.

Many people fail to comprehend that everything you learn and own always stays with you as priceless assets. These are the core ingredients that build you.

Financial success is an abstract concept that can translate into different definitions to different people. The biggest risk that you can take in an investment strategy is to rely on someone else to drive profit for you.

When you invest your time in developing yourself personally and professionally, you are role-playing as a catalyst for self-growth. There are myriad skill investment avenues. For instance — read the news and books, expose your brain to creative ideas, meet people.

Investing in your knowledge allows you to be a more versatile, competent and resourceful. We all know about Walt Disney. He used to devote maximum time in portraying his imagination on the drawing board. It was his passion that led to the formation of Walt Disney Studios.

The world is strange. It makes you chase horizons that bear profits, but doesn’t necessarily bank on your passion. There are many successful founders who found something they love and that’s what inspired them to grow big.

Kevin Plank, a football enthusiast, one day noticed his teammates’ sweat-soaked shirts and came up with an idea to design sweat-wicking shirts. He then encouraged his former teammates to sample his creation while they play in professional leagues. Under Armour was born soon after.

A business empire can be inherited, but it requires interest and vision to keep it towering for many years. Maybe, you won’t spend much time on things you love and focus more on running the business effectively.

That will get you monetary returns, but what about self-returns? Would you feel happy and contented at the end of the day? An ideal strategy is to invest more time in turning a personal passion into a product or a company. That’s when you see your real self at work.

How you treat your body determines how you will perform. It’s never just about eating healthy to stay fit, but about your ability to focus, make decisions and analyse self-behaviour. Investing in improving your health benefits you on a personal level and the company’s growth curve on a professional level.

When you are fit, you can stay dedicated towards achieving goals and make better investment decisions. Returns will follow sooner or later.

Charles Ranlett Flint was 61 when he established a computing-tabulating-recording company, which came to be known as IBM in 1924 when Flint was 74. This proves how a healthy body and a sound mind can open avenues of opportunities to expand your vision and formulate something extraordinary.

Socialising is indeed an investment because it improves your communication skills and breaks the invisible barriers which help in building long-lasting relationships.

These are the people who would be there for you during the rough times. Returns for such an investment cannot be measured monetarily. It is priceless. When things fall apart, I always quote: “Our network will rebuild our net worth “

When Sergey Brin and Larry Page didn’t have enough funds to execute their idea, they borrowed money from others to buy some servers and rent a garage in Silicon Valley to launch their search engine — Google. Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim was so impressed with their entrepreneurial spirit that he gave them a cheque for $100,000 (Dh367,300).

Great ideas do see the light of day. Returns for self-investment doesn’t come with a limited time period offer, it certainly stays with you as long as you’re in the race to succeed in life.

Invest in yourself — that’s the best kind of investment you can ever make.

Sailesh Nathan is the founder of Buy-Do-Buy Advertising.