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

We are born with attributes that can both help us and hurt us, depending on their application.

Most attributes are a double-edged sword that bring potential benefits and potential harm. The more extreme the attribute, the more extreme the potential good or bad outcomes it is likely to produce. For example, a highly creative, goal-oriented person good at imagining new ideas might undervalue the minutiae of daily life, which is also important; he might be so driven in his pursuit of long-term goals that he might have disdain for people who focus on the details of daily life. Similarly, a task-oriented person who is great with details might undervalue creativity—and worse still, may squelch it in the interests of efficiency. These two people might make a great team, but are likely to have trouble taking advantage of the ways they’re complementary, because the ways their minds work make it difficult for them to see the value of each other’s ways of thinking.

Having expectations for people (including yourself) without knowing what they are like is a sure way to get in trouble. I learned this the hard way, through years of frustrating conversations and the pain of expecting things from people who were constitutionally incapable of delivering them. I’m sure that I caused them plenty of pain too.

Life Principle

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