I’m currently reading a great book Principles, by Ray Dalio. In this book, holds a set of rules for work and life of billionaire investor and CEO of Bridgewater Associations- the largest and most successful hedge fund in history- Ray Dalio.

I believe the life lessons he shares are so valuable that I’ve summarised them for you in 2 emails as it’s a lot and don’t what to overwhelm you with all his teachings in one email!

So here we go…

Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behaviour that gets you what you want out of life. (I also call this ‘values’)
Think for yourself to decide:

  1. What you want
  2. What is true
  3. What you should do to achieve 1 in light of 2

The most important thing for you to do is write down your principles to clarify them.

Think of problems as puzzles you need to solve. By solving the puzzle, you get a gem in the form of a principle that helps you avoid the same sorts of problems in the future.

1. Embrace Reality and Deal With It
1.2: Truth, an accurate understanding of reality, is the essential foundation for any good outcome.
1.4a: Don’t get hung up on your views about how things should be because then you’ll miss out on learning how they really are.
1.4c: Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe; it is the only thing that is permanent and it drives everything.
1.4d: Evolve or die. (my favourite quote: “If you don’t evolve, you dissolve.”)
1.5: Evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward.
1.6b: Remember “no pain, no gain” Evolution won’t always feel good.
1.7: Pain + Reflection = Progress. If you can develop a reflexive action to psychical pain that causes you to reflect on it rather than avoid it, it will lead to your rapid learning/evolving. If you push through this process of personal evolution, you will naturally ascend to higher and higher levels. Go towards the pain rather than avoid it. The quality of your life will depend on the choices you make at those painful moments.
1.8: Weigh second and third-order consequences. Often the first order consequences are the temptations that cost us what we really want, and can be the barriers that stand in our way.
1.10a: Think of yourself as a machine operating within a machine and know that you have the ability to alter your machines to produce better outcomes.
1.10c: Distinguish between you as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with your machine.
When you encounter your weaknesses you have four choices:

  1. Deny them
  2. Accept them and work at them to convert them to strengths
  3. Accept them and find ways around them
  4. Change what you’re going after

To confront your own weaknesses:

  1. Don’t confuse what you wish were true with what is really true.
  2. Don’t worry about looking good—worry instead about achieving your goals.
  3. Don’t overweight first-order consequences relative to second and third order ones.
  4. Don’t let pain stand in the way of progress.
  5. Don’t blame bad outcomes on anyone but yourself.

2. Use the 5-Step Process to Get What You Want Out of Life
The five-step process in short:

  1. Have clear goals.
  2. Identify and don’t tolerate the problems that stand in the way of you achieving those goals.
  3. Accurately diagnose the problems to get at their root causes.
  4. Design plans that will get you around them.
  5. Do what’s necessary to push these designs through to results.

Do each of these steps independently. Don’t think about how you will achieve your goals while you’re setting your goals.

2.1 Have Clear Goals

  • Prioritise: you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want
  • Don’t confuse goals with desires. A goal is something you need to achieve. Desires tend to be things you want that stand in the way of your goals.
  • Never rule out a goal because you think it’s unattainable.
  • Don’t mistake the trappings of success with success itself.
  • Knowing how to deal with your setbacks is as important as knowing how to move forward

2.2 Identify and Don’t Tolerate Problems

  • View painful problems as potential improvements that are screaming at you.
  • Don’t mistake the cause of the problem with the real problem. Get to the root of it.

2.3 Diagnose problems to get at their root causes

  • Focus on “what is” before deciding “what to do about it”
  • Distinguish proximate from root causes (I didn’t check the train schedule -> I didn’t check the train schedule because I’m forgetful)

2.4 Design a plan

  • Think about your problem as a set of outcomes produced by a machine.
  • Remember that there are typically many paths to achieving your goals, you only need to find one that works.
  • Write down your plan for everyone to see and to measure your progress against.
  • Recognise that it doesn’t take a lot of time to design a good plan. It’s necessary to design a plan, though, and not get caught up in execution.

2.5 Push through to completion

  • Good work habits are underrated.
  • Establish clear metrics to make sure you’re following your plan.

Those are the five steps, then there are a couple finer points…

2.6 Remember that all weaknesses don’t matter if you find solutions

  • Look at the pattern of your mistakes and identify at which step in the 5-step process you typically fail.
  • Everyone has at least one big thing that stands in the way of their success. Find yours and deal with it.

That’s it for this week, life principles to be continued!

I know it was a lot but if you can take away just ONE thing from this then it was all worth it. I’d love to hear which principles resonated with you the most, hit reply and tell me 🙂

Have an outstanding week!