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Poke the Box: Don’t Set a Bad Goal

Let’s Start with Safal Niveshak
Just in case you missed any of this on Safal Niveshak in the last week…

  • In investing, knowledge is cumulative and the relation between effort and results is nonlinear, so focus on the process and keep practicing the art of investing.
  • For investors, like airline pilots, the job entails hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. If you can stomach the stock market turbulence you’ll end up with very satisfactory results over long term.

Book Worm
Derek Sivers is the perfect example of what one might want to call as an accidental entrepreneur.

He was a musician who simply wanted to sell his music CDs online. In 1998 the internet was still picking up and e-commerce was pretty much an unknown phenomenon. So Derek started his own website to sell his music CDs online which, to his utter surprise, grew into a multi-million dollar business. He eventually sold his business,, for $22 million.

Derek’s approach to business is very unconventional but makes a lot of sense. He has compiled his business philosophy in a small book called Anything You Want. It was an absolute treat to read this book. I just couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing this 100 page book in one sitting.

Sivers writes –

I realized I had accidentally started a business. But I didn’t want to start a business! I was already living my dream life as a full-time musician. I didn’t want anything to distract me from that.

So, I thought that by taking an unrealistically utopian approach, I could keep the business from growing too much. Instead of trying to make it big, I was going to make it small. It was the opposite of ambition, so I had to think in a way that was the opposite of ambitious.

The key point is that I wasn’t trying to make a big business. I was just daydreaming about how one little thing would look in a perfect world. When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia. When you make it a dream come true for yourself, it’ll be a dream come true for someone else, too.

That’s a strange way to approach the idea of entrepreneurship. But I think it’s the ideal way to get started in any business. It’s should be an extension of what you’re already doing or want to do.

Sivers didn’t have any background into building website, so he bought few programming books and taught himself how to write software for an online webstore. The way he would recruit people was to ask his friends for anybody who was looking for work and then get them started immediately without even interviewing.

Ironically, the more Sivers tried to limit the business, the more it grew.

Five years after I started CD Baby, when it was a big success, the media said I had revolutionized the music business. But “revolution” is a term that people use only when you’re successful. Before that, you’re just a quirky person who does things differently.

If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you’ll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you. When you’re on to something great, it won’t feel like revolution. It’ll feel like uncommon sense.

I hope you too are on to something uncommon sensical. If you’re not then get started soon.

As an aside, you must watch the TED talks that Sivers has given. They are not only very thought provoking but very entertaining too.

Stimulate Your Mind
Here’s some amazing content we read in recent times…

Poke of the Week – Don’t Set a Bad Goal

Everybody has some goals that they keep putting off. When you say to yourself, “Someday I am going to do this thing.”, it’s a bad goal.

Whatever this someday-goal of your is, let go of it.


Because goals are not to change the future. Future is something which is only in your imagination. What you have at your hands is the present moment. So a good goal is something which allows you to change the present.

If a goal doesn’t make you jump into action, it’s not doing its job.

A bad goal is where you’re not sure what to do next, but a good goal is where you know exactly what your next step is going to be. Just thinking of a good goal gets you started immediately.

A bad goal is where you say, “I am not sure how to find time from my busy schedule”. A good goal is where all your current work is pushed aside.

The daily actions related to your goals have to be exciting otherwise you’ll never stick to it. You have to enjoy the process.

In investing, setting a goal for compounding your money at 18% CAGR is a bad goal. However, setting a goal of reading 100 annual reports every year is a good goal because it easily translates into reading at least 2 annual reports today which is something you can start doing immediately.

Remember, the goal of setting a goal is to push yourself forward. Even if it’s in the wrong direction.

Note: This poke of the week is inspired by one of the talks given by Derek Sivers.


Start something uncommon sensical.

Set the right goal and attack the present moment.

Stay happy, stay blessed and keep poking!

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About the Author

Anshul Khare worked for 12+ years as a Software Architect. He is an avid learner in various disciplines like psychology, philosophy, and spirituality with special interests in human behaviour and value investing. You can connect with Anshul on Twitter.


  1. Great article 🙂 Try and listen to the podcast of Tim Ferriss with Derek Sivers…Amazing interview.

  2. dr.aneesh says:

    hello vishal sir

    its Aneesh from Hyderabd. grt article as always. i would like to get an information if u dnt mind. i watched ur videos regarding annual reports as a whole and abt balance sheet too. what a clear and transparent videos those r. thanks and congrats 4 that. but i faile to see videos on cash flow and income statements. could u pls let me know whr it is uploaded. thanks a lot sir.

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