Imagine this. We are standing in the kitchen and we are really hungry. We could pull out a loaf of bread and some sliced ham and cheese. It would make for a quick, filling meal. It is not terribly healthy, but it is not unhealthy either. It would get the job done. Now, if we were to take a little bit of extra time and effort, we could cut up some lettuce and tomato and then spread on some mustard. The sandwich would taste much better. It would be healthier, and we would enjoy it a bit more too.

However, if we were to invest even more time and money, we could really enjoy dinner. We could look up a recipe that sounds perfect. Let’s say it is rosemary chicken with garlic asparagus tips and cheddar mashed potatoes. That meal would be fantastic, even good enough that it would make the rest of our evening better by improving our attitude (how many of us have gone out to a great restaurant and it just seemed to really highlight the evening?), and by improving our health and energy in the short term and long term. If we were really thinking, we would make enough for leftovers to have another great meal tomorrow for lunch, continuing the effect.

The key here is realizing that we have a choice and secondly that our choices have effects. If we don’t think about our choices, we will take the easiest route. If we don’t realize our choices have effects, then we will take the quickest route. Personally, I like to see my choices as investments. And I want to make good investments.

It is an easy concept to understand when we think about our monetary choices. We understand the principles of investment and stocks and retirement funds and how good choices can mean a lot of money. It makes sense to us. We can see it when it comes to food. If we choose to eat hamburgers and sodas everyday the weight begins to accumulate on our body. But we rarely realize or consciously think about how much it applies to all of our choices.

Another key to this idea is having the right perspective on our lives. Perspective gives us the ability to judge the quality of our lives and what areas we want to improve. What I mean by this is that, if you don’t care about living better, about having better love, about enjoying your house and the daily grind, about having more peace, then you can completely ignore this principle (I am not sure there is anyone out there with a perfect life). However, if these things matter, if you want to have the best in life, then you need to begin seeing your choices as investments. It is important to realize though, that having the best in life is not about having the most things in life. Try not to get caught up in having to acquire a lot to make your life better. It is about maximizing our experience of life.

We can miss out on the better things in life, because we don’t make the investments needed to enjoy it the most. We are so busy, that we often want to get things done as fast as possible. We cut steps and try to save money. I do it myself. It is a trade-off. But I imagine that each of us could look at one area in our life where we are less than satisfied and start coming up with a recipe that would begin to change that area of our life for the better.

If our house is cluttered and we rarely visit those three rooms or those three closets because they just have so much stuff and we feel overwhelmed, then we need to change our perspective. Instead of looking at the large picture and being overwhelmed by the amount of work it would take to clean all those rooms and all those closets, we can adjust our goals to make the job seem smaller and more manageable. Take an hour a day and pick a part of the room or a shelf of the closet and just commit to cleaning that one area for the day. Remember the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” So start attacking those areas of your life that you want to change with this attitude.

What you are doing is investing in your life. You are making small changes that have greater effects. It is like putting a little bit of money in the bank and watching it grow month by month. You won’t see a huge change the next month. But if you put a little bit of money in each month, after a few years you will a sizable amount of money. The same is true in your life. Taking a little bit of time and money and start investing it in the areas you want to improve. If it is your marriage, start spending a few extra minutes a day doing the things you never feel like you have the time or energy to do. Maybe it is picking up your work clothes everyday instead of leaving them on the bed for your wife to take care of. Maybe it is doing the dishes three times a week instead of once a month. Maybe it is saying sweet things to your wife when you wake or before you go to bed (without expecting anything in return). Maybe it is buying her a flower or two or a nice skirt every once in a while. Yes, it takes effort and money and time. But these are good investments that gradually begin to change the nature of your relationship.

It’s your life. I encourage you to make it extraordinary.

© Seth Crossman