Our last post was a discourse on the top 21st century workplace skills for entrepreneurs, employers and employees. There, we highlighted the four main skills, namely: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking; required for thriving in the 21st century workplace environment. In future posts, we shall discuss these skills in details.

In today’s post, we shall discuss about the main reason we work – livelihood. On an average, we work so that we could get enough money to enable us lead better lives. The truth though, is that money should not be our only motivation for working.

To be honest, works of all kind require various forms of incentive or motivation in other to encourage and ascertain our undivided commitment. Most often than not however, many of us find ourselves in a job which pays lower than we deserve and/or desire. And as we proceed in life, the earlier we realize that one source of income might not be sufficient, the better for us. This is especially true, in times of crises such as workers’ retrenchment, economic depression, unforeseen expenses or retirement.

Hence, the need for us to be open minded and intentional about diversifying our income channels. Furthermore, we must shun the habit of spending it all, but rather be wise in saving and investing appreciable portions of our income for the future. In terms of the amount of income earned coupled with the amount spent on expenses, we can fall in either of the following two categories.

Category One: Low to Medium Income Earners

Our income can be said to be within the low to medium range if it is barely enough to pay our expenses (housing, feeding, clothing, healthcare etc.). Similarly, if we find it difficult to make deductions for savings and investments, then our income is, simply not sufficient. In situations like this, it doesn’t matter whether we are on a paid work or self employed.

Category Two: Medium to High Income Earners

People in this category earn more than they need for their basic expenses. However, they have the tendency of spending more than necessary on stuffs they do not really need. As a result, they end up not being able to commit to any tangible savings or investment plan, thanks to – fiscal indiscipline.

That being said, we must learn to make hay while the sun shines. This is because saving for the rainy day prepares us for times of financial needs in the future.

Preparing for the Future:

Living a planned life does not equate being unnecessarily worried or anxious about the future. Rather, it implies preparing carefully in advance of unforeseen challenges. To avoid unnecessary financial pressures, it is advisable to have more than one stream of income and/or to have a good savings or investment plan.

Below are some insightful ways by which we can maximize our earning potentials, with a view to improving our livelihoods, helping others in dire need, and saving for the days ahead. I do hope you find them helpful.

  1. 1. Developing Skills and Talents

Whenever I have the chance, I dare asking people about their gifts and talents. I ask questions like: “what is your talent?”, “what do you like doing?”, or “what are you good at?” among others. However, many of the responses goes like – “I am not sure I have any”, “I don’t know what my talent is” or sometimes, “What can I do with it?”

One thing we can all be sure of is that God gave every human some form of innate-gift or talent, though it may differ in form and use. However, the challenge lies in its discovery as well as continuous improvements.

Furthermore, the Scriptures tells an insightful story on the parable of talents. From the story, we learn that what matters in life is not  necessarily how much we have but putting what we have into best use. Otherwise, it is quite easy to become discouraged or intimidated by others’.

Learning to develop our talents/gifts certainly helps us enhance our productivity, and become our best. Similarly, well developed talents can be pivotal in making career choices or even in crafting new skills path. Two ways by which we can start developing our talents/gifts is through consistent cultivation and improvements. Similarly, we must learn to maximize our spare time, explore our passions and interests and, investing our time, energy and efforts wisely.

  1. 2. Maximizing Spare Time

We all complain of inadequate time. Yet, we spend a great portion of our time on trivial discourses with friends, colleagues and neighbors. Similarly, we spend a lot of time commuting every day, especially in metropolis with high traffic. Candid reflections at the end of each day helps us  realize that the actual challenge is not about not having enough spare time, but rather in making the best use of it.

We can maximize our time, by planning diverse productive activities ahead to fit into the spare time of the day. However, these activities depend on the nature of our work or occupation, our interests and goals. For instance, someone with a goal of building baking skill or learning to code could leverage on the internet through massive open online courses (MOOCs) and/or tutorial videos.

  1. 3. Exploring Passions and Interests

I encourage exploring positive passions that spark our interests. Lately, I learnt that the supporters’ club members for our National Team are paid for cheering the players. These guys love football but also get paid for motivating the players to perform brilliantly on the pitch. I learnt they also get travel incentives.

While we may not all be accepted into our National Team Supporters’ Club for one reason of the other, we can be sure of some finding some rewarding interests we can explore. To sustain motivation, we must understand that growing multiple streams of income, pays on the long run, though it requires that we must keep on improving ourselves.

  1. 4. Wisely investing Time, Energy and Efforts

Investment is a term used for representing the act of laying out money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit. It is worth noting that, developing our gifts/talents, maximizing our spare time and exploring our passions require sacrificing great deal of time, energy and efforts.

However, just as “drops of water makes an ocean,” by sacrificing some little effort here, and some little energy there, coupled with solid consistency and commitment over time; will produce highly commendable results both in improving our earning potential, increasing our savings and investments, and thus enabling us to afford better livelihoods.

Thanks for reading, and do feel free to contribute in the below comments section.