Black and white portrait of Ray Dalio: Narrator and Creator of Life Principles

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.

Work Principle

Design Improvements to Your Machine to Get Around Your Problems

Once you’ve successfully diagnosed the problems standing in the way of your achieving your goals, you need to design paths for solving them. Designs need to be based on deep and accurate understandings (which is why diagnosis is so important); for me, it’s an almost visceral process of staring at problems and using the pain they cause me to stimulate my creative thinking.

All of the details and plans must extend from a high-level visualization of what is required to solve the problem. Only when you have such a sketch can you begin to fill it in with specifics. Those specifics will be your tasks; write them down so you don’t forget them.

While the best designs are drawn from a rich understanding of actual problems, when you’re just starting out on something, you often have to design based on anticipated problems as opposed to actual ones. That’s why having systematic ways of tracking issues (the Issue Log) and what people are like (the Dot Collector) is so useful: Instead of just relying on your best guesses of what might go wrong, you can look at data from prior “at bats” for yourself and others and come to the design process with understanding rather than having to start from scratch.

The most talented designers I know are people who can visualize over time, running through different collections of people from the scale of small teams to entire organizations, accurately anticipating the kinds of results they’ll produce. They excel at design and systemization. Creativity is also important to this process, as is character, because the most important problems to design around are often the hardest, and you need to come up with original ways of addressing them and be willing to make hard choices (especially when it comes to people and who should do what).

Work Principle

Find a Meaningful Principle for You

Learn to get more of what you want out of life.

Life Principles

Work Principles

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