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.

Life Principle

Creators vs. refiners vs. advancers vs. executors vs. flexors.

By identifying talents and preferences that lead people to feel a particular way, you can place them in jobs at which they will likely excel. At Bridgewater, we use a test called the "Team Dimensions Profile" (TDP) to connect people with their preferred role. The five types identified by the TDP are Creators, Refiners, Advancers, Executors, and Flexors.

  • Creators generate new ideas and original concepts. They prefer unstructured and abstract activities and thrive on innovation and unconventional practices.
  • Advancers communicate these new ideas and carry them forward. They relish feelings and relationships and manage the human factors. They are excellent at generating enthusiasm for work.
  • Refiners challenge ideas. They analyze projects for flaws, then refine them with a focus on objectivity and analysis. They love facts and theories and working with a systematic approach.
  • Executors can also be thought of as Implementers. They ensure that important activities are carried out and goals accomplished; they are focused on details and the bottom line.
  • Flexors are a combination of all four types. They can adapt their styles to fit certain needs and are able to look at a problem from a variety of perspectives.

Triangulating what I learn from each test reinforces or raises questions about the pictures of people I'm forming in my head. For example, when people's MBTI results suggest a preference for "S" (focus on details) and "J" (planful), and they come out as executors on the Team Dimension assessment, there is a very good chance that they are more detail-focused than right-brained and imaginative, which means that they would likely fit better in jobs that have less ambiguity and more structure and clarity.

Life Principle

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