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

Shapers are people who can go from visualization to actualization.

I wrote a lot about the people I call "shapers" in the first part of this book. I use the word to mean someone who comes up with unique and valuable visions and builds them out beautifully, typically over the doubts of others. Shapers get both the big picture and the details right. To me, it seems that Shaper = Visionary + Practical Thinker + Determined.

I've found that shapers tend to share attributes such as intense curiosity and a compulsive need to make sense of things, independent thinking that verges on rebelliousness, a need to dream big and unconventionally, a practicality and determination to push through all obstacles to achieve their goals, and a knowledge of their own and others' weaknesses and strengths so they can orchestrate teams to achieve them. Perhaps even more importantly, they can hold conflicting thoughts simultaneously and look at them from different angles. They typically love to knock things around with other really smart people and can easily navigate back and forth between the big picture and the granular details, counting both as equally important.

People wired with enough of these ways of thinking that they can operate in the world as shapers are very rare. But they could never succeed without working with others who are more naturally suited for other things and whose ways of thinking and acting are also essential.

Knowing how one is wired is a necessary first step on any life journey. It doesn't matter what you do with your life, as long as you are doing what is consistent with your nature and your aspirations. Having spent time with some of the richest, most powerful, most admired people in the world, as well as some of the poorest, most disadvantaged people in the most obscure corners of the globe, I can assure you that, beyond a basic level, there is no correlation between happiness levels and conventional markers of success. A carpenter who derives his deepest satisfaction from working with wood can easily have a life as good or better than the president of the United States. If you've learned anything from this book I hope it's that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone has an important role to play in life. Nature made everything and everyone for a purpose. The courage that's needed the most isn't the kind that drives you to prevail over others, but the kind that allows you to be true to your truest self, no matter what other people want you to be.

Life Principle

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Life Principles

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