As a finance professional, I have often spoken about the most sensible investment decisions one can make. While those decisions are for the most part monetary, there is one necessary investment that, I believe, stands above all others – health.
If you have to experience happiness – your body is the instrument. And when you experience the bad times – then too, your body is the instrument.
You experience your life through your body, whether your life is bliss or plain hell.
I sacrificed my body when I was in a corporate job between 2006 and 2013. There was no fixed time for waking up or sleeping, and I was regularly working overtime in my office.
My co-workers and manager raised their eyebrows when I tried to leave office at 5:30 pm, even when I had finished my work. I felt like if I was committing a crime. They were looking at me as if I was taking a half day off without permission.
My normal timing for leaving the office became 8 pm. I was spoiling my life and body while making my employer richer and richer.
Then, the company came up with an exciting idea that allowed me to leave office even before 5:30 pm. We got the 'work from home' option, with the advantage of flexible work timings.
While this had initially seemed appealing, my family helped me realise the truth – that I was spending more time on office work by taking calls with US clients at 9 pm, and those would regularly last until 2 am. To hell with the 'work from home' option. You screwed up my life like never before.
I then became 'kaam-chor', because I had already lost all my family time to my organisation. I pretended to be busy while 'working from home', making excuses to avoid work, because no one was looking at my laptop to verify whether I was actually working or not.
The trick gave me some time, but at the cost of my ethics. The stolen time was helpful neither in building a strong relationship with my family nor in building my career.
My health was at an all-time low, and I was plagued by severe a backpain, anxiety, and hyper tension. I could not shout at my manager, so I was shouting at my wife. Today, I can’t help but feel ashamed at my behaviour.
Now, the purpose of my profession is to advise people in choosing the best investments to make more money. But the truth is that the real investment that is required is in the body, not the bank.
No matter whether your goal is to enjoy worldly pleasures or spiritual enlightenment – everything has to go through your body. Even your mind does not work in your favour without a healthy body.
Here’s how the investment of money works:
- You start investing Rs 1lakh every year (say in PPF).
- You keep on investing that Rs 1lakh for 20 years.
- How much money would you have in your account after 20 years? No, it's not Rs 20 lakh plus some interest. It would be Rs 53 lakh; the 'some interest' would swell to Rs 33 lakh in 20 years.
And here’s how investment in your body works:
- You start investing 15 minutes of your day in exercise/walking.
- You start investing 15 minutes of your day in yoga/meditation.
- Or both.
- Your start consuming healthy, organic food in the right quantities, at the right times.
- Your body starts becoming free of toxins, your digestion system improves, your immune system becomes stronger.
- Your mind becomes sharp, your focus increases, your thoughts become clear, and you get better sleep at night.
- You would live a life worth 20 years in an actual span of 10. I mean, you will start living a healthy life.
You will live life worth 100 years of a regular person even if you die from an accident at an early age. That’s the return over investment in life.
If you failed to accumulate sufficient wealth or lost all your money in some unfortunate event, you still can borrow money from your friends or the bank. But no one can lend you health or wellbeing. You have to earn a healthy life yourself.
Unfortunately, there is no lottery where you can win a healthy body in a single day. You have to build your assets (health) slowly.
What happens when we don’t invest in our body at an early stage? Our body becomes weak from the inside, but we don’t realise it until we catch a disease.
We go to the doctor, who prescribes us chemicals to cure our disease. Despite appearances, our body does not become strong, instead, it weakens further with medicines. Have you noticed how badly chemicals impact our body even after the recovery from any disease? One of my relatives lost her hair after a month-long treatment for her fever. Just fever!
Chemicals kill the germs, bacteria or whatever was causing the disturbance in our bodily ecosystem. However, fighting and killing rarely bring about harmony and peace anywhere in the world, neither inside nor outside of the body. The chemicals kill both helpful and harmful bacteria in our body. You become dependent on chemicals to regain the health of your poor body every time you fall sick.
Chemicals in the body are like the burden of loans on a company. Just as loans should be the last option for the company, so too should chemicals be the last resort for the body.
Organic growth and profitable business will make your company sustainable. That’s true for your health as well.
You got the point. The first and most important investment you have to make in your life is the investment in your health. Only the second investment should be monetary. The third investment should be in a passive source of income so that you never become dependent on your salary.
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