Principles are ways of successfully dealing with reality to get what you want out of life.
Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, cites principles as his key to success.
Sometimes people mistake generosity for not being fair. For example, when Bridgewater arranged for a bus to shuttle people who live in New York City to our Connecticut office, one employee asked, "It seems it would be fair to also compensate those of us who spend hundreds of dollars on gas each month, particularly in light of the New York City bus." This line of thinking mistakes an act of generosity for some for an entitlement for everyone.
Fairness and generosity are different things. If you bought two birthday gifts for two of your closest friends, and one cost more than the other, what would you say if the friend who got the cheaper gift accused you of being unfair? Probably something like, "I didn't have to get you any gift, so stop complaining." At Bridgewater, we are generous with people (and I am personally generous), but we feel no obligation to be measured and equal in our generosity.
Generosity is good and entitlement is bad, and they can easily be confused, so be crystal clear on which is which. Decisions should be based on what you believe is warranted in a particular circumstance and what will be most appreciated. If you want to have a community of people who have both high-quality, long-term relationships and a high sense of personal responsibility, you can't allow a sense of entitlement to creep in.