Ray Dalio attempts to share the wisdom and insights he accumulated throughout his life in his book, Principles. He splits the book into three parts: His autobiography, life principles and work principles.
I found the section of his life principles to be incredibly helpful in shaping my perspective in how to live my life. I’m glad that I am able to study the mind of a great, successful human like Ray.
I want to learn how to operates, how he approaches and solves the problems in his life, how he likes his coffee. I find that often, these great people have radically different mindsets that separate them from the vast majority. Successful people think and live in similar ways.
The book is full of wisdom that can help you get through tough hurdles in your life and position yourself to receive the blessings of life. Here I will share a few nuggets of wisdom out of many that stuck out to me:
By recognizing the higher-level consequences nature optimizes for, I’ve come to see that people who overweigh the first-order consequences of their decisions and ignore the effects of second- and subsequent-order consequences rarely reach their goals. This is because first-order consequences often have opposite desirabilities from second-order consequences, resulting in big mistakes in decision making.
For example, the first-order consequences of exercise (pain and time spent) are commonly considered undesirable, while the second-order consequences (better health and more attractive appearance) are desirable. Similarly, food that tastes good is often bad for you and vice versa.
There’s a reason why your mom wanted you to eat those peas and broccolis, even though you fervently denied them and threw them to the floor from your booster seat.
She knew of the second-order consequence (eat vegetables to become a healthier, stronger baby), but your short-sightedness caused you to focus on the first-order consequence (peas and broccolis don’t taste like Gerber fruit snacks).
Going to the gym and lifting weights causes you to think about the first-order consequences such as discomfort and pain, so you tend to forget the second-order consequences of getting stronger and lean.
Ray’s principle makes me think of short-term thinking vs. long-term thinking. People who only focus on the short-term will never be able to find success because they can never sacrifice their comfort in the now.
Successful farmers know that they will reap what they sow. They work hard; toiling in the fields all day in the blazing sun and breaking their backs in the short term, but they know that they will harvest an abundance of crops because of the hard work they put in in the short-term.
When you work on a project that pushes your limits and makes you struggle, you are uncomfortable and suffering from the first-order consequence but you will be rewarded if you push on with patience and discipline; you know that the second-order consequence is what you actually desire.
Quite often the first-order consequences are the temptations that cost us what we really want, and sometimes they are the barriers that stand in our way. It’s almost as though nature sorts us by throwing us trick choices that have both types of consequences and penalizing those who make their decisions on the basis of the first-order consequences alone.
Gel Sanze Lyte Amberlight Asics Birch V By contrast, people who choose what they really want, and avoid the temptations and get over the pains that drive them away from what they really want, are much more likely to have successful lives.
Maybe nature filters out those who are meant to be successful from those who are not by testing us with these decisions. Those who choose the expedient path, the decision that leads to benefit you in the short-term, will never find life long success. Those who try to weasel their way around the system to get to the treasure with minimal effort will never find fulfillment.
Indulging in sweets and junk food may make you feel good today, but will destroy you in a few years. Lying to the people around you will get you what you want today, but will crumble all your relationships in the future.
Do you really want that? Do you want to push off all the consequences for ‘future you’ to bear? Do you want to suffer for many years to come just because you wanted to be happy and comfortable now?
Analyze your life and see if you’re making decisions based on the first-order consequences or the second-order consequences. Usually what is good and comfortable in the present will not translate well into the future.
Sometimes there are major influences on the quality of our lives that come from things beyond our control — the circumstances we are born into, accidents and illnesses, and so forth — but for the most part even the worst circumstances can be made better with the right approach.
For example, a friend of mine dove into a swimming pool, hit his head, and became a quadriplegic. But he approached his situation well and became as happy as anybody else, because there are many paths to happiness.
My point is simply this: Whatever circumstances life brings you, you will be more likely to succeed and find happiness if you take responsibility for making your decisions well instead of complaining about things being beyond your control. Psychologists call this having an “internal locus of control,” and studies consistently show that people who have it outperform those who didn’t.
“The law of concentration states that whatever you dwell upon grows. The more you think about something, the more it becomes part of your reality.” — Brian Tracy
What you focus on is what becomes your reality. If you think the state of the universe is a certain way and can never be fixed, that is how you will see the universe.
The more you convince yourself that the state of the world is in the condition it is in because of the Illuminati or the secret oligarchy/patriarchy, that’s how the world will appear to you. Your focus concentrates on the things you cannot control, and it causes you pain and misery.
People desperately want to control everything around them, because they hate uncertainty and wish to understand everything. If something doesn’t make sense or coincide with their current mindset, they have to make something up to align with their reality.
We hate to be wrong, because it means we need to reassess our comfortable lives and sometimes it takes an enormous amount of unlearning and relearning.
It’s worse for people who believe they are smarter than others, because their pride of being an intellectual is on the line. If they admit that they don’t know something, they have to admit that the other person may know something they don’t know, concluding that they aren’t really smarter than them. To protect their worldview and keep their ego stable, they will either ignore contradicting evidence or pretend that the other person is deluded.
I’ve been very insistent on this point in the past. Focus on the things you can control, and your life will immediately get better. Most of your life will be shaped by things that are out of your control. They were and will never be in your control. The faster you accept this fact, the faster you will be relieved of the unnecessary anxiety and suffering you produced for yourself.
People get jealous of other people’s circumstances. Look at Trump when he brags about how he got a ‘small’ loan of a million dollars. We all get bitter about his privileged upbringing, and think to ourselves that we could have been successful too if we only had successful parents who could provide us with economic security.
We start feeling bad for ourselves and become angry with the state of the world and your circumstances. We become envious of the rich and successful, and say that everyone is where they are because of unfair advantages and privileges. We underestimate the other factors that contributed to their success.
The “rich” and “successful” all become morphed into one evil face, and become the antagonist in our lives. They’re rigging the game and making sure I never win. I can’t do anything about it, so I’m not going to try at all.
We do this so that we can stop looking for opportunities; we have created a valid excuse of our underprivileged situation and we no longer have to try in the face of uncertainty, failure and potential embarrassment.
Do the best with the resources that you are provided. You’ll find that you are not so helpless. You can take time to educate yourself through the internet and the writings of those who came before us. You’ll build confidence and have more respect for those who found success in life, because a lot of them were just like us.
They sought knowledge of how to become successful, and realized that the biggest barrier was their mindset. They needed to focus on the things that they could control, instead of everything else around them. When they sat down and focused on their work and education, everything fell into place.
So don’t worry about whether you like your situation or not. Life doesn’t give a damn about what you like. It’s up to you to connect what you want with what you need to do to get it and then find the courage to carry it through.
Why do we believe that life should give a damn about what we think and feel? Why do we believe that things should go the way we want them to go?
We tend to forget sometimes that we are fairly insignificant compared to the vastness of the universe.
Sanze Lyte Asics Amberlight V Birch Gel Through our own eyes, we are everything — e.g. when we die, the whole world disappears. However, when we look down on ourselves through the eyes of nature we are of absolutely no significance. It is a reality that each one of us is only one of about seven billion of our species alive today and that our species is only one of about ten million species alive today and that our species is only one of about ten million species on our planet.
Earth is just one of about 100 billion planets in our galaxy, which is just one of about two trillion galxies in the universe. And our lifetimes are only about 1/3,000 of humanity’s existence, which itself is only 1/20,000 of the Earth’s existence.
We sometimes need a reminder, a little kick to our asses, to realize that we are only significant to ourselves and to those who love us. The world does not center around us.
In the grand scheme of things, we are just a blip in time, a moment in history, just another face amongst 7 billion of us, soon to be forgotten and erased after we die.
But there will also never be another you.
You are one damn unique creature, and there will never be anyone who resembles or comes close to what you were. You have one lifetime to show us all your uniqueness and your capabilities.
Asics Amberlight Lyte Birch Gel V Sanze Every day you spend contemplating and procrastinating on something you want to do, on finding something you want to spend the rest of your life on, you’re wasting the chance to shine, to show us all your full potential in all your glory.
Every catastrophe that happens in your life, every failure you go through, every embarrassing moment that makes you want to die inside will all be forgotten. They will cease to exist, like they never happened.
So why are you so afraid? If you have one chance to live and prove yourself to the world, what is failure to you?
Do what scares you and do everything that you’ve ever wanted to do. Accept your circumstances and make the best of it.