# 52 on my, 99 Life Tips – A List is: Invest in yourself without apology by reading, exploring, learning, exercising.
True wealth does not consist in possessions that can be listed on a will or a homeowner’s insurance policy. True wealth is not a medium of exchange in the typical sense, the way mere money is. Nevertheless, to acquire riches that don’t tarnish, that aren’t subject to the vagaries of ”market forces”, and that keep supplying a return, you must invest in yourself without apology. Here are four simple, yet effective, ways to do that.
I count this as life’s most important skill. Unless you read, you only get to try on and live one life. By reading even mediocre writing, you can use your vast imagination to inhabit another world. By reading you meld your mind, with its limited, finite table of contents, with the minds of every writer you sample. You become multi-perspectived.
This is of incalculable worth. For if a person can never see beyond themselves; that is, if they can never see the world from another’s viewpoint and ”put themselves in another’s shoes”, how can they ever see other people as anything but objects to be used?
Reading is a type of exploration, but by this head, I mean that a person should explore their surroundings in a state of awareness that allows for the possibility of unexpected discovery. One aspect of exploration is to see or to experience a common thing in a new way. I try, as much as possible, to go through each day, and even to move about my house, or walk the streets of my neighborhood, as if I’ve never seen them before.
Here’a a tip to help with this mindset. You have never lived this particular day before. And you never will again. Explore it. Mine it. Extract all of the beauty and pleasure and knowledge and appreciation out of it you possibly can. Become an explorer of this day, and find all there is to be found.
If you read and explore you will gain knowledge. The accumulation of knowledge is like a person who, by reading and exploring, notices and collects puzzle pieces. Eventually, the learner accumulates enough pieces to see patterns emerge. Some of the pieces fit together exactly. In some places there are gaps. By arranging and linking and connecting the tidbits of stored knowledge, one begins to see recurring themes.
The other benefit is the humility and even the mild melancholia that comes to the one who realizes that his puzzle may never be finished. There is no clear, absolute picture to go by. There will be sections with no pieces that seem to match. The yearning sadness is the unavoidable flip side of gratitude for having learned so much, yet the recognition that there is so much left to know, that may never be known.
Nevertheless, the Learner would never trade what he knows for a trifle like a car, or a house, or another of life’s accessories. If knowledge suddenly became the medium of exchange, he would not give away a single piece of his puzzle.
I used to believe the most valuable commodity in life was Time. We’re all on the clock, after all. But a shift in my perspective makes me believe that the most valuable commodity is actually health. I would not want to live an innumerable number of days, sick. You may feel differently but consider, if health became the basis of your paycheck, and not hours, how much health would you trade for your pay?
To this end, exercise is the single most important thing I can do to help. Well, that and consuming only as many calories of the highest quality I can afford to sustain life with the energy requirements of my body and lifestyle.
Start by walking. Healthy humans are ambulatory. We walk upright on two legs. I’ve made the incalculably rich discovery that walking is both means and end. It is perhaps the most spiritual physical practice a person can undertake.
Invest in yourself without apology. We need you at your absolute best. I’ll try to be at my best for you, too.