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

Create guardrails when needed—and remember it's better not to guardrail at all.

Even when you find people who are great clicks for your design, there will be times when you'll want to build guardrails around them. No one is perfect, everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and as hard as you look, you won't always be able to find everything you want in one person. So look down on your machine and the people you choose for your roles, and think about where you might need to supplement your design by adding people or processes to ensure that each job is done excellently.

Remember, guardrailing is meant to help people who can by and large do their jobs well--it's intended to help good people perform better, not to help failing people reach the bar. If you're trying to guardrail someone who is missing the core abilities required for their job, you should probably just fire them and look for someone else who will be a better click.

A good guardrail typically takes the form of a team member whose strengths compensate for the weaknesses of the team member who needs to be guardrailed. A good guardrailing relationship should be firm without being overly rigid. Ideally, it should work like two people dancing--they're literally pushing against each other, but with a lot of mutual give-and-take. Of course, having someone in a job who needs to be guardrailed is not as good as having someone in a job who will naturally do the right things. Strive for that.

Work Principle

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Life Principles

Work Principles

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