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

Workplace Personality Inventory.

Another assessment we use is the Workplace Personality Inventory, a test based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor. It anticipates behavior and predicts job fit and satisfaction, singling out certain key characteristics/qualities, including persistence, independence, stress tolerance, and analytical thinking. This test helps us understand what people value and how they will make tradeoffs between their values. For example, someone with low Achievement Orientation and high Concern for Others might be unwilling to step on others' toes in order to accomplish their goals. Likewise, someone who is bad at Rule Following may be more likely to think independently.

We have found that something like twenty-five to fifty attributes can pretty well describe what a person is like. Each one comes in varying degrees of strength (like color tones). If you know what they are and put them together correctly, they will paint a pretty complete picture of a person. Our objective is to use test results and other information to try to do just that. We prefer to do it in partnership with the person being looked at, because it helps us be more accurate and at the same time it's very helpful to them to see themselves objectively.

Certain attributes combine frequently to produce recognizable archetypes. If you think about it, you can probably come up with a handful of archetypal people you meet over and over again in life: the spacey, impractical Artist; the tidy Perfectionist; the Crusher who runs through brick walls to get things done; the Visionary who pulls amazing big ideas seemingly out of the air. Over time I came up with a list of others, including Shaper, Chirper, Tweaker, and Open-Minded Learner, as well as Advancer, Creator, Cat-Herder, Gossiper, Loyal Doer, Wise Judge, and others.

To be clear, archetypes are less useful than the better fleshed-out pictures created through the assessments. They are not precise; they are more like simple caricatures, but they can be useful when it comes to assembling teams. Individual people will always be more complex than the archetypes that describe them, and they may well match up with more than one. For example, the Spacey Artist may or may not also be a Perfectionist or may be a Crusher too. While I won't go over all of them, I will describe Shapers--the one that best represents me--in some depth.

Life Principle

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

Life Principles

Work Principles

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