“Goodness is the only investment that never fails” (Henry David Thoreau).
MUCH OF THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES DEPENDS UPON THE QUALITY OF OUR INVESTMENTS. In the financial world, our return depends not only on how much we invest but on the quality of the enterprises we invest in. The same thing is true of life in general: if we’re stingy in the investments we’re willing to make or careless in the things we invest in, then we’ll be disappointed in what comes back to us. The challenge in life is to find the highest quality things that we can commit ourselves to and then to invest ourselves in them enthusiastically and generously. And in the long run, as Thoreau said, “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
Worthwhile investments are costly, and by that I mean they require sacrifice. If, for example, we make a serious investment in the principle of love, it will cost us dearly. There is no free lunch, as the saying goes. Likewise, the principles of truth and diligence and service ask us to make investments that are often less than convenient, and sometimes even painful. In the real world, there’s just no way around the fact that high-quality dividends require sacrificial investments.
Out of all the worthy things that we may invest in, surely the worthiest are people. Yes, we may gain much from sinking our capital into certain principles, projects, and properties, but eventually we discover that it’s people who deserve our prime investment. All of us have people in whom we need to be investing more of ourselves; and whoever they are, we need to start increasing our investments today.
Even the wisest investments, however, require the passage of time before their value can be seen. Especially when we’re investing in people, we need to have the patience to wait. It may be a long time before we see any encouraging result from our efforts. Having made wise investments in people, it’s important not to give up on them.
The main thing that we must decide, of course, is not where to invest this or that particular resource that we own; it’s where to invest our lives as a whole. We’re surrounded by choices, some of which are quite deadly. So invest your life — but think twice before you do it!
“I will not just live my life. I will not just spend my life. I will invest my life” (Helen Keller).