What would you say is the most valuable piece of real estate in the world? Do you think we’d find it in Malibu? Manhattan? Monte Carlo? NO! I’ll give you a clue; it’s the most valuable, and also the smallest.

The most valuable piece of real estate in the world is the small space between your two ears. It is most valuable because that small plot houses your brain—your mind—which defines who you are as a human being. It’s where your life really takes place. It’s SO valuable it’s actually priceless.

Now, you may not own your company, your car, your dwelling, your computer, maybe even the clothes on your back, but you DO own that piece of property. It is ALL YOURS to develop as YOU want! Remember that only YOU can decide what will and will not be stored on YOUR property. Please, be vigilant!

Your mind is your most vital, most precious personal asset—take extremely good care of it!

Dr. Harvey B. Simon made this interesting observation in a recent issue of a prominent medical journal: "For most of us, health depends not on who we are, but on how we live. The body you have at 20 depends on your genes, but the body you have at 40, 60, 80 is the body you deserve, the body that reflects your behavior."

Hmmm... Well, I’m not a doctor, but my studies and my life experiences have taught me that we certainly could take these words and apply them quasi verbatim to the mind as well: "For most of us, our mind is a reflection not of who we are, but on how we live. The mind you have at 20 is in great part the result of environment, peers influence, education, family life, etc... but at 40, 60, 80 it’s the product of your own personal (and professional) development (or lack of)."

As a wise philosopher brilliantly observed, "Everybody is self-made... but only the successful will admit to it."

Speaking of successful people, my very smart sister Cristiane (who has two master’s degrees) told me recently that she takes courses every semester to feed the part of her mind that is not fed at work or at home. She needs that food for her mind. What about you?

People feed their car (gas), their furnace (wood), their plants, their pets, their bodies... What about the most important part of you, your mind? A human being is essentially a think-tank, a mind (95%) in a body (5%). So, if you don't feed the 95% of you...

"The mind grows by what it feeds on " once wrote J.G. Holland. Let’s hear what some other successful people had to say on this topic...

"Create a personal learning agenda. Identify important skills and areas of expertise for your success and ‘go to school’: get the best books, audios, videos, talk to the best people, and take the best courses and seminars available." Mark Sanborn

"You’re not automatically educated when you get out of college, education is a process, not a package. Its goal is not the acquisition of a specific set of skills or body of knowledge, but a maturity of mind and emotions that enables one to be a better person as well as a better engineer, lawyer or scientist." T.T. James

Are you going to treat education as a continuing and ongoing pursuit, or are you going to neglect the growth of your mental capacity? The world is changing at a rapid pace. What are you doing to keep up with advancements in technology and information? Knowledge creates value. Expanding your knowledge base expands and increases your value to your career, value to your family, and value to yourself. Education opens new doors. As you expand your thinking, you expand your possibilities. Do you have a consistent and ongoing plan for continuing education?

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Derek Bok

I’m not an experienced gardener, though I’ve successfully grown tomatoes and delphiniums in the past, but I do seem to remember that to grow properly, they need good soil, water, sun, and nutrients. And some TLC. They don’t do well if you plant them in rocks, keep them in the shade, feed them Styrofoam® pellets, and sprinkle them with turpentine. Tomatoes can’t grow in these conditions, and neither does the mind. It needs food, light, laughter, ideas, challenges, and TLC in the form of support, and encouragement. And books.

"Reading is to the mind what exercising is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

"A room without a book is a body without a soul." Marcus Tullius Cicero

"Books are not men and yet they are alive. They are man’s memory and his aspiration, the link between his present and his past, the tools he builds with." Stephen V. Benet

"The greatest of all avenues to learning—to wisdom, adventure, pleasure, insight, to understanding human nature, understanding ourselves and our world and our place in it—is in reading books. Read for life, all your life. Nothing ever invented provides such sustenance, such infinite reward for time spent, as a good book. Read to your heart’s content. Let one book lead to another. They nearly always do. Read about places you’ve never been. Read books that changed history. Read those books you know you’re supposed to have read and imagine as dreary. A classic may be defined as a book that stays long in print, and a book stays long in print only because it is exceptional. Why exclude the exceptional from your experience? And when you read a book you love—a book you feel has enlarged the experience of being alive—then spread the word." David McCullough, winner of two Pulitzer prizes

In a letter to John Adams in 1815, Thomas Jefferson wrote "I cannot live without books." Someone else said that a man without books is like a king without money.

"Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world, ‘lighthouses erected in the sea of time.’ They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print." Barbara Tuchman

"Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, and interesting." Aldous Huxley

"Read books, listen to tapes, attend seminars—they are decades of wisdom reduced to invaluable hours." Mark Victor Hansen

Friends and business colleagues, make the development of your mind a daily priority and a never-ending journey. Or like bestselling author and speaker-extraordinaire Vince Poscente puts it, "Work on yourself. Better yourself. Raise the bar personally and it will be raised professionally."

BE the very best you can be,
DO all you can possibly do,
GET everything you want to have,
GIVE as much of it as you can give.

Daniel G. St-Jean
Aka The Sparkplug of Personal Development
Author of 7 Simple Keys To Spark Change In Your Life Now!
Co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – volume 2

Author's Bio: 

Daniel G. St-Jean’s mission is to instruct and ignite the people who are just thinking about making significant changes in their life, and to support and encourage those who are in the midst of making such changes so they get to live the life they really want to live. Visit his web site at http://www.SparkChangeInYourLife.com, read his Blog at http://www.aBlogAboutMakingLifeChanges.com and subscribe to his eSparks at http://www.SparkChangeInYourLife.com/e-sparks.