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

Triangulate your view with believable people who are willing to disagree.

Seek the advice of the most believable people you can find. If you don't know how to judge who the most believable people are, seek the advice of others about how to do that, such as people who have already chosen such believable people. By questioning experts individually and encouraging them to have thoughtful disagreement with each other that I can listen to and ask questions about, I both raise my probability of being right and become much better educated. This is most true when the experts disagree with me or with each other. Smart people who can thoughtfully disagree are the greatest teachers, far better than a professor assigned to stand in front of a board and lecture at you. The knowledge I acquire usually leads to principles that I develop and refine for similar cases that arise in the future.

In some cases in which the subjects are just too complex for me to understand in the time required, I will turn over the decision making to knowledgeable others who are more believable than me, but I still want to listen in on their thoughtful disagreement. I find that most people don’t do that—they prefer to make their own decisions, even when they’re not qualified to make the kinds of judgments required. In doing so, they’re giving in to their lower-level selves.

Life Principle

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