Ray Dialo

P is for Principles

The Oxford Dictionary defines Principles as: Fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.

27 March 2020

Ray Dalio is the Founder, Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, His firm has grown into the fifth most important private company in the U.S. according to Fortune Magazine. He is named one of the 100 Most Influential People by TIME Magazine.

He is also the author of The New York Times #1 Bestseller Principles, which outlines his work and life principles, the foundation of Bridgewater’s distinctive culture and the cornerstone of his and Bridgewater’s success.

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio, himself talks of being inspired by Bill Gates and sets out to define principles and how to apply them to achieve your goals.
Key Principles:

  1. Dreams + Reality + determination = success You need to think for yourself about what is true.  Embrace reality and deal with it. Truth is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes
  2. Pain + Reflection = Progress Treat pain as an experience by which we learn to create new and better experiences. Reflections create principles of change to stop repeating the same mistakes in the future


1. Goals: Know your goals and run after them: What is best for you really depends on your nature. Know what you want. Really understand who you are. Goals are based on our values and the best path to achieve them
2. Problems: Encounter your problems. Handed badly can lead to your ruin. To evolve you need to identify the problems and not tolerate them.
3. Diagnose these problems to get at their root causes. Don’t jump too quickly to solutions. Take a step back to really distinguish the symptoms from the disease
4. Design a plan to eliminate the problems. This is what you will need to do get around them.
5. Do it Execute your plans.. push yourself to do what you need to get towards your goal.

Ego: Ray describes the Ego as a part of your brain that prevents you from acknowledging your weakness subjectively so you can figure out how to deal with it.
He states ‘Our need to be right is more important than our need to find out what’s true.’ He describes our deepest seeded fears and needs as residing in areas of your brain that are connected to your emotions but are not accessible to your higher level of conscious awareness and that we like to believe our own opinions without actually stress testing them.
Ray talks about us not wanting to look at our own mistakes and weaknesses and as a race we are instinctively prone to react to our exploration of them as if they are attacks. We get angry and upset even though it is more logical to be open to  feedback from others. This leads to us making inferior decisions, learning less and falling short of our potential
Blind Spot Barriers: When a person believes they can see everything/the whole picture when actually you can’t see a complete picture of reality.
“People can’t appreciate what they can’t see.”
We all have different ranges for seeing and understanding things: Some people excel at seeing the big picture, whilst others are better at seeing the details. There are linear thinkers and lateral thinkers. Some are creative but not reliable, others are reliable whilst not creative and so on. Everyone lives their world from a different perspective and by failing to see our own weaknesses we crash. We either keep doing that or we change.

Aristotle defined tragedy as: a terrible tragedy that which has arrived from a person’s fatal flaw, a flaw that, should it have been fixed would have instead led to a wonderful outcome.”

These barriers are the main impediments that get in the way of good decision making.
Ray tells us we need to be radically open minded and replace the joy of proving what’s right to the joy of what’s true!


He advises, the best way to go through the jungle of life is with insightful people that see things differently and  to have thoughtful disagreements. Ray took this approach in his life learnings and said that, to see things through the eyes of thoughtful people moved him from seeing in black and white to seeing in colour.

He states, ‘We are all wired differently and we can’t all do the 5 steps well. You can get help from others who are good at what you are not, as they are wired to perceive things that you can’t’.
All you have to do is let go of your attachment to having the right answers yourself and use your fear of being wrong to become open minded to these other views.
In this way you can find the risks and opportunities that you might otherwise miss. By taking this radically open minded approach and believability in other people’s thinking, significantly increased his probability of making the best decisions possible. This enabled him to ascend to greater heights and greater challenges. Instead of making decisions himself like he did in the past he now seeks out the advice from the strongest independent thinkers he can find. He states: ‘There is nothing better than being on a shared mission with extraordinary people who can be radically truthful and transparent with each other.’
There are lots of wonderful opportunities and dangerous risks that surround us but if you are able to see them free of distortion produced by your ego or your blind spots you would be able to deal with them more effectively you will radically improve your life. With practice you can.


Ray talked about how he became extremely successful using this strategy and how it allowed him to be around other successful people and see how their minds worked. He found that even the most successful people have their own weaknesses and difficulties and have also been on similar journeys and that they get by, by working with other people who see risks and opportunities that they would miss.
Over time, he learned that people’s greatest strengths are connected to their greatest weakness and striving towards big things can also lead you to painful falls. It is just part of the process.
He talks of how some people look hard at what caused their setbacks, learn lessons and continue to keep pressing toward their goals while others decide the game is not for them and get off the field.

Rays view is that success is not a matter of attaining ones goals. When you reach the things you aim for and that you rarely get the sense of achievement, this is because the goals are just the bait.

We evolve by learning.

The goal no longer started to become his satisfaction is was the journey of learning from greater challenges and helping other people that has given him true satisfaction

Listen to his learning journey


Share this article:

Lisa Vescio