Books dominate my possessions. Whenever I have guests over (which is, admittedly, quite rare), conversation invariably touches on the shelves of books in my living room. Programming, architecture, biology, neural science, design, usability, hardware, self-improvement... the subjects vary wildly.
Every single book I own is free money.
I happen to enjoy reading. I'm lucky. But many don't. And those who don't enjoy reading simply don't read. Those same people then philosophize about why they're struggling to make ends meet.
I haven't tracked and measured, but I suspect that my yearly income has grown proportionately with the number of books I've read. Every single book is free money.
Some people aren't motivated by money. That's fine. Money is just one type of compensation. Some people value being able to work from home. Others value being able to work on whatever they want. Others enjoy being able to take long vacations anywhere in the world. The point is that the rewards you exact from the world are a result of the value you put into it.
Some people don't like reading. That's also fine. Maybe you'd like online video courses. Perhaps you prefer audio books and podcasts. The point is the potential value you can put into the world is the result of the investment you put into yourself.
People say they don't have time to invest in themselves. And yet, so many spend dozens of hours every week watching television, playing video games, or mindlessly scrolling Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
There's a place for each of these things. But without a specific time limit or agenda, what starts as a "fun activity" to blow off steam quickly becomes a mindless time-sink.
Take an hour every night and spend it on investing in yourself. You'd be surprised how little you'll miss the "lost" leisure time, and amazed at how much you can learn in just a short period. And that knowledge can translate into huge changes elsewhere in your life, whether it's a new job, a new hobby, a promotion, or simply the contentment that comes from learning a new skill.
Invest in yourself.