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Ideas from Principles


March 08, 2019


I had the opportunity to read the book called Principles: Life and Work written by Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund. In this book, he wrote about his concept of work and life until he achieved his success and became famous now. This book contains many interesting ideas. In today's article, I would like to present an idea that I feel particularly pleased. It is the idea about encountering important situations requiring decision-making due to our weaknesses.

In the Principles Book, Ray Dalio said that, in real life, we all have to face the decision requiring us to overcome our weaknesses. Ray said that there were 5 important decisions that we must make in order to overcome our weaknesses that we need to correct and continue developing. In this case, I would like to refer to the decisions in Item 3, 2 and 5, which I like the most. In Item 3, Ray said that, "Don't overweight first-order consequences relative to second- and third-order ones ". This sentence means that we should not pay too much attention to the initial results when compared to other consequential results. However, in real working life, what we have decided will cause more than one consequence. Therefore, we should weigh and consider the results calmly and accurately so that we can see a true overview of the outcomes of each decision thoroughly and are not biased with any positive or negative results too much.

As for Item 2, Ray said, "Don’t worry about looking good-worry instead of achieving your goals”. It means that we shouldn't be worried about the negative image, but we should pay more attention to achieving our own goals This is due to the nature of working, especially those who are smart and very successful, tend to have high self-confidence. Many times when these people work, they are always worried about their image and think about what should be done to make them look good in other people's eyes rather than paying attention to their own working goals. To be a smart, high-educated and successful person will inevitably make us easily being trapped by the image. Sometimes it deviates us from the true working goal and affects the success of future works.

Item 5 is the hardest thing to do. The more talented and successful we are, the harder we can do this. Ray said, "Don’t blame bad outcomes on anyone but yourself." It means that when negative results occur, we shouldn't blame others but ourselves. In real working life, we always do not see our own mistakes but we always try to throw mistakes away from ourselves. Many times we may blame others that they are the cause of damages incurred. This is because it makes us feel good and smart. However, that's just a short-term relief. It does not encourage us to continue improving ourselves. Seeing your own mistakes and accepting them is therefore one of the hardest things to do among five decisions due to our weaknesses and mistakes.

In summary, what Ray Dalio stated in the Principles Book gives many good ideas to lead our life to continuous development and success in various areas. One of the important things that we have to decide to take us to a new point is to decide our own weaknesses and mistakes, which is an important trap for self-development of many smart and successful persons. It is normal that we want to look good and smart in the others’ eyes all the time. That’s why most people feel difficult to accept that they are the cause of negative results. Therefore, blaming yourself is the most difficult thing to do. However, if we can accept our mistakes and blame ourselves instead of others, we will be free from the trap of having good image and drive ourselves to continuously develop and achieve goals.

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