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

Focusing on tasks vs. focusing on goals.

Some people are focused on daily tasks while others are focused on their goals and how to achieve them. I've found these differences to be quite similar to the differences between people who are intuitive vs. sensing. Those who tend to focus on goals and "visualize" best can see the big pictures over time and are also more likely to make meaningful changes and anticipate future events. These goal-oriented people can step back from the day-to-day and reflect on what and how they're doing. They are the most suitable for creating new things (organizations, projects, etc.) and managing organizations that have lots of change. They typically make the most visionary leaders because of their ability to take a broad view and see the whole picture.

In contrast, those who tend to focus on daily tasks are better at managing things that don't change much or that require processes to be completed reliably. Task-oriented people tend to make incremental changes that reference what already exists. They are slower to depart from the status quo and more likely to be blindsided by sudden events. On the other hand, they're typically more reliable. Although it may seem that their focus is narrower than higher-level thinkers, the roles they play are no less critical. I would never have gotten this book out or accomplished hardly anything else worthwhile if I didn't work with people who are wonderful at taking care of details.

Life Principle

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

Life Principles

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