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

See things from the higher level.

You are expected to go to the higher level and look down on yourself and others as part of a system. In other words, you must get out of your own head, consider your views as just some among many, and look down on the full array of points of view to assess them in an idea-meritocratic way rather than just in your own possessive way. Seeing things from the higher level isn't just seeing other people's point of view; it's also being able to see every situation, yourself, and others in the situation as though you were looking down on them as an objective observer. If you can do this well, you will see the situation as "another one of those," see it through everyone's eyes, and have good mental maps or principles for deciding how to handle it.

Almost all people initially find it difficult to get beyond seeing things through just their own eyes, so I've developed policies and tools such as the Coach (which connects situations to principles) that help people do this. With practice many people can learn to develop this perspective, though others never do. You need to know which type of person you and the people around you are. If you can't do this well on your own, seek the help of others. Recognize that many people cannot see things from the higher level and distinguish those who can from those who can't, and either get rid of those who can't or have good guardrails in place to protect yourself and the organization against this inability.

By the way, it is of course okay to continue to disagree on some things as long as you don't keep fighting, thereby undermining the idea meritocracy. If you continue to fight the idea meritocracy, you must go.

Work Principle

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Life Principles

Work Principles

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