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.

Work Principle

Don't worry about whether or not your people like you and don't look to them to tell you what you should do.

Just worry about making the best decisions possible, recognizing that no matter what you do, most everyone will think you're doing something--or many things-- wrong. It is human nature for people to want you to believe their own opinions and to get angry at you if you don't, even when they have no reason to believe that their opinions are good. So, if you're leading well, you shouldn't be surprised if people disagree with you. The important thing is for you to be logical and objective in assessing your probabilities of being right.

It is not illogical or arrogant to believe that you know better than the average person, so long as you are appropriately open-minded. In fact, it is not logical to believe that what the average person thinks is better than what you and the most insightful people around you think, because you have earned your way into your higher-than-average position and you and those insightful people are more informed than the average person. If the opposite were true, then you and the average man shouldn't have your respective jobs. In other words, if you don't have better insights than them, you shouldn't be a leader-- and if you do have better insights than them, don't worry if you are doing unpopular things.

So how should you deal with your people? Your choices are either to ignore them (which will lead to resentment and your ignorance of what they are thinking), blindly do what they want (which wouldn't be a good idea), or encourage them to bring their disagreements to the surface and work through them so openly and reasonably that everyone will recognize the relative merits of your thinking. Have the open disagreement and be happy to either win or lose the thought battles, as long as the best ideas win out. I believe that an idea meritocracy will not only produce better results than other systems but will also ensure more alignment behind appropriate yet unpopular decisions.

Work Principle

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Life Principles

Work Principles

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