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

Understand your own and others' mental maps and humility.

Some people are good at knowing what to do on their own; they have good mental maps. Maybe they acquired them from being taught; maybe they were blessed with an especially large dose of common sense. Whatever the case, they have more answers inside themselves than others do. Similarly, some people are more humble and openminded than others. Humility can be even more valuable than having good mental maps if it leads you to seek out better answers than you could come up with on your own. Having both open-mindedness and good mental maps is most powerful of all.

To convey this simple concept, imagine rating from one to ten how good someone’s mental map is (in other words, what they know) on the Y-axis and how humble/open-minded they are on the X-axis, as shown here.

Everyone starts out in the lower left area, with poor mental maps and little open-mindedness, and most people remain tragically and arrogantly stuck in that position. You can improve by either going up on the mental-maps axis (by learning how to do things better) or out on the open-mindedness axis. Either will provide you with better knowledge of what to do. If you have good mental maps and low open-mindedness, that will be good but not great. You will still miss a lot that is of value. Similarly, if you have high open-mindedness but bad mental maps, you will probably have challenges picking the right people and points of view to follow. The person who has good mental maps and a lot of open-mindedness will always beat out the person who doesn’t have both.

Now take a minute to think about your path to becoming more effective. Where would you place yourself on this chart? Ask others where they’d place you.

Once you understand what you’re missing and gain open-mindedness that will allow you to get help from others, you’ll see that there’s virtually nothing you can’t accomplish.

Most people fail to do this most of the time.

Life Principle

Find a Meaningful Principle for You

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

Life Principles

Work Principles

Please review our
Privacy Policy and Terms of Service
, which will go into effect on
. By continuing to use this site or our products or services, you agree to our
Terms of Service and acknowledge that you have read our Privacy Policy.