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How Will You Measure Your Life?

I recently shared with you the secret mission of Safal Niveshak, which has not much to do with the field of stock market investing.

Then, I also shared the best advice I ever got, which again was relevant not just for my investing pursuits but also for my life.

Today, I’m sharing with you another amazing article I read recently on the subject of “life”.

You might wonder why I’m writing (or covering) so much on the subject of “life” on a platform dedicated to investing.

Well, that’s the entire point of becoming a “Safal Niveshak” – one who is not just successful in investing his financial capital, but also enriches his human capital.

Also, as an avid reader of this blog, Sanjeev Bhatia recently wrote – “…your values play a much more vital role in shaping up how you live rather than what bank balance you have. And by live, I mean really live, not simply exist.”

Thus, you will read more such posts on Safal Niveshak in times to come. 🙂

Anyways, the article I’m sharing today was recently written by Clayton M. Christensen, a renowned Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

Christensen is also known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises, as he articulated in his masterpiece book The Innovator’s Dilemma.

The article was titled “How Will You Measure Your Life?”, which tried to answer three key questions you must have in your life:

  1. How can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
  2. How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
  3. How can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?

As Christensen writes, “…though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail.”

Look around and you will find enough cases of “normal and respectable” people who did not answer this third question, and are now spending life in jail. Rajat Gupta, Ramalinga Raju, Bernard Madoff, and Jeff Skilling (Enron) and just a few of them.

The reason I would like you to read this article is not just to get answers to these three questions on life, but also because some of these answers will help you in directing your investing life.

Christensen’s point about avoiding the “marginal costs” mistake is one enlightening lesson that I have taken from this article, as this is one of the key reasons for a lot of investment mistakes I have made in my lifetime.

Then, the points on “remembering the importance of humility” and “choosing the right yardstick” are gems in themselves that can add a lot of meaning to your life and investment behavior.

I have read and re-read this article several times over the past few days, and I’m sure you will also do the same…for each reading will bring forth some big lesson that might mean a lot to you.

Click here to read or download the entire article.

Here’s the link to the original article.

Let me know the biggest lesson you got from it (in the Comments section below).

Note: I’m on a holiday this week, so I will share with you some nice stuff I’m reading instead of my own articles. 🙂

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.


  1. That was a great article, Vishal…I really enjoy reading such stuff…:)
    Well, How will I Measure My Life? I also recently read about it recently and sharing it here again..

    “Instead of money or fame or power or looks, what if we measured life/success by celebrating the number of times we bring joy to others each day? The number of people we positively impact or teach each week. The amount of anxiety or fear we helped a friend overcome after receiving a personal setback. The number of times we said no to life’s temptations and let character carry the day instead of impulse. The things we created. The compassion we extended. The responsible risks we took. The people we helped. The lives we changed. The impact we made.”

  2. I have also been following Clayton M.Christensen for quite some time now..What a great character he is!!

    Here is the speech given by him at TED.

  3. I found this, by Robin S. Sharma, very interesting..

    “The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches
    or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or
    even your grade point average — though those things are
    important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time,
    how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched
    this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”

    Found it very relevant to the current topic, that’s why sharing it here..

  4. Vidhyashankar says:

    Great Article Vishal,
    Many thanks for posting this article. Read once and decided to share this with many.

  5. S K Srinivasan says:

    Thank you for sharing an excellent and touching article. It creates an emotional bond with not only your immediate family, but also the fellow human beings.

    Great job. God bless you and your family to help others make better human beings and contribute to others.


  6. Dear Vishal,
    As always a wonderful post. As a tribe member I feel delighted every other time a new post comes up because it is bound to be good/ great having gone through your scrupulous filter.
    I though have a suggestion can we segregate articles on the context like as of now the posts are mainly either on money (investing, valuation, etc) or life.
    Over a period as more and more fills up it would make more and more sense, in my opinion.

    • Thanks Sudhir! If I understand right, you are suggesting creating say a link on the navigation bar that has a couple of drop-downs called “Money” and “Life”, which carry the respective articles. Is that a right thinking on my part? Regards.

  7. I also second your opinion Sudhir. That’s a good idea.. What do you say Vishal ??

  8. R K Chandrashekar says:

    Dear Tribesman
    That was a great article which really touched me.
    Here is some food for thought: ”Achievements, Success and money can give you a lot to live with, but nothing to live for. And it is not what you live with, but what you live for, that gives you hope, joy, meaning, happiness and purpose. Your index of wealth is not the balance in the bank but passion you feel towards the purpose in your heart”

  9. Thank you Vishal for sharing this article. One of the great lines from this article :
    “It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time”.

  10. Reni George says:

    Hi Vishal
    That was a Gem of an Article….This is what i like about you most.I think for you also, as with me Money is not the biggest motivator of life.One day one of my friend asked me “Reni,How much money is too much money?”I answered when money makes you replenish and replace things which is not a necessity then it becomes too much money.When money becomes the biggest motivator…….then it ultimately becomes the sole aim of our work.Its here when we start compromising with our principles.We are not able to answer how much money we need to maintain our life,and what is our aim from life….is it to just earn money…lots and lots of it.Some people spend their health,chasing money and ultimately spend the money to get back their health.The reason that we have the Ramalingam’s,the Rajat Gupta’s and the Rajaratnam is that they could never know that “How much money is too much money”when we have a car,we aspire for a bigger car.When we have a house,we aspire for a bigger house… and the list of aspirations goes on and on….and one day we are looking at the sunset of our live and at that time when we rewind back we come to know,in this eternal pursuit for money,we lost our family,we could not see our children grow up,we could not spend some time with our friends for a cup of tea,we could not enjoy the flow of the water in the river,the snow-clad mountains.
    Vishal i would like more such articles coming to the forefront for us,the tribesmen of safal niveshak.This is what makes this forum unique in itself,where its knowledge that is important and not the end process,where the knowledge gets utilized.

    Thanks and Regards
    Happy Investing

    Reni George

    • Great wisdom Reni….:) You made a good point by saying, how one should miss out small things in pursuit of bigger ones and later regretting on those missed things..

  11. R K Chandrashekar says:

    Dear All
    I would like to share this wonderful slide with my fellow tribesman. Here is the link.

  12. My favourite lines – “…the vast majority of people you’ll interact with on a day-to-day basis
    may not be smarter than you. And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning
    opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning
    opportunities will be unlimited…”

    Simply amazing, and I love to “realize” the important of capital allocation, both financial and human. Thanks for sharing such a great article, I think I’ll read more of Mr. Christensen 🙂

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