Anything You Want
"The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy." - Derek Sivers, Anything You Want
I read a lot. I always have. Big books, small books, text books, you name it. I love reading 'em all.
Most books are OK. Some I enjoy more than others. But every once in a while a book comes along that resonates so strongly that it becomes an anchor point for your psyche and experiences going forward.
It's a truly wonderful experience, reading such a book.
I assume/hope that such an experience is universal. Whether it happens through a movie, or a chance meeting with someone, or a podcast, or radio, or a forum, or a blog, I assume/hope everyone has had a similar experience at least once.
Derek Sivers' Anything You Want is one of those books for me.
It's a little gem of a book that tells the story about an accidental entrepreneur in his own words, a mini biography if you will.
More importantly, it summarizes a way of being, a certain philosophy of life that seems common sense, but yet so uncommon in today's world.
You can take a lot away from this little book. I'll leave that bit to you.
But here's three things I took away that can really help in an investing context.
- "A business model with only two numbers"
"A business plan should never take more than a few hours of work - hopefully no more than a few minutes. The best plans start simple. A quick glance and common sense should tell you if the numbers will work. The rest are details."
When I first came across the concept of financial independence, I was struck by it's simplicity. The only numbers that mattered were your savings as a percentage of your income, and the return you got on those savings upon investing. Given those two numbers, you could predict when you'd hit that number that you deemed enough for your needs day-in day-out.
- "I miss the mob."
"When the mafia ran this town, it was fun. There were only two numbers that mattered: how much was coming in, and how much was going out. As long as there was more in than out, everyone was happy. But then the whole town was bought up by these damn corporations full of MBA weasels micromanaging, trying to maximize the profit from every square foot of the floor space. Now the place that used to put ketchup on my hot dog tells me it'll be an extra twenty-five cents for ketchup! It sucked all the fun out of this town! Yeah, I miss the mob."
When I first came across the BTSX strategy, I was amazed how something so easy to understand could generate such amazing returns. Up until that point I had thought that perhaps the only way to succeed at generating consistently high returns was to hire a dedicated professional and pay him for his services and skills that were diligently acquired through a lifetime of mistakes and learning from them. I mean, that good looking dude with a head full of white hair in a nice suit on TV said so. He'd never lie, right?
- "You make your perfect world"
"No matter which goal you choose, there will be lots of people telling you you're wrong. Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you're being the real you and when you're trying to impress an invisible jury.
Even if what you're doing is slowing the growth of your business - if it makes you happy, that's OK. It's your choice to remain small. You'l notice that as my company got bigger, my stories about it were less happy. That was my lesson learned. I'm happier with five employees than with eighty-five, and happiest working alone.
Whatever you make, it's your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.
I don't think I need to comment on this last one.