Living by Principles
I’m reading Principles by Ray Dalio. Ray Dalio, who is an investor. Some of the ways he invests are long-term and similar to Buffett-style value investing, and some of it is more speculative. He founded what is now the world’s largest hedge fund, called Bridgewater. And he’s a billionaire. Of course, he’s pretty good at this investing thing.
Ray Dalio did make the point that his principles come from his unique perspective and experience and that he did not publish his beliefs so that others would blindly copy them. He wrote his principles over thirty or so years and never intended to post them, but when he got a massive response from people in his company and then some limited outside audience when he published them online, he decided to put them into a book. He thinks we should each be thinking about our mistakes, and write out our principles in response.
He’s saying that to become better investors (and also persons), we must be aware of our mistakes and find a way to avoid making them again.
From that, I became obsessed with his principles and started listening to multiples Podcast that interviewed him. I heard him talk about his life’s journey as an investor, from a young one who thought he knew everything, to someone who, now, has made his life’s work noticing his own mistakes and coming up with ways not to make the same mistakes over again.
He was explaining his experience as an investor, but really, his experience can teach us about life how to live and live well. It’s precisely like FeelGoodX: we’re about recreating and nurturing the quality of life, we are about how to live well. We’re about making better lives for ourselves and our families. That’s what this is about and what I’m.
There’s a lot that I do find valuable from reading and listening to Ray’s principles.
Dalio’s basic formula is:
Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful Life
I’m sure the “dream” and “determination” variables of this equation are familiar to you. But what does he mean by “Reality”?
Dalio argues that most of us fight to see what’s right when we don’t want it to be.
He suggests that the biggest mistake most people make is not seeing themselves or others objectively, which leads them to bump into their own and each other’s weaknesses again and again.
Why is this the case?
Because confronting reality—especially when it reveals something uncomfortable about ourselves—is painful, and humans instinctively avoid pain.
If we learn to overcome this instinctual response to pain and move toward rather than away from it, then we can reflect on it and rapidly learn from the lessons that it has to teach us.
I discovered this truth firsthand in my struggle with dangerous illness years ago. I learned that acceptance is simply the recognition of what is. Recognizing what it doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything about it—it just means that I see things as they are.
Seeing things as they are is a precondition to a successful outcome.
It’s when we accept what is, rather than clinging to how we wish things would be, that we can respond appropriately. It was probably the best thing that happened to me to make me be a better person today.
Reality is what enables dreams + determination to lead to success.
I find it helpful to ask myself these questions regularly:
What is it about myself that I don’t want to see or accept?
What is it about others that I don’t want to see or accept?
I hope they’re helpful for you too.
Live your life, Love your life.