Principles by Ray Dalio is one of those books that changes your life. Well, that’s how it felt to me. This book has taught me so much and I thought I would share the top 10 things that impacted me or my life most.
Principles is a book that aims to help anyone learn how to think like a great investor and successful leader. The book mainly focuses on you and your life, how you can improve it by following the principles and what they mean.
Principles is a self-help book but unlike books that have no principles, this book has over 70 principles. So if you are in a situation of lack, trust me, it’s going to help you out.
Here are the top 10 things I learned from reading Principles:
1. Great leaders have great people.
Great leaders are able to attract and recruit the right people because they have a vision and the right motivation.
Great leaders make the hard decisions no one else wants to take. Great leaders make their team better when they leave, not worse. They give their best people opportunities, not just keep them busy or treat them as second-class citizens.
When hiring, great leaders invest in finding people who possess very similar qualities to them (for example I don’t believe in hiring someone for a leadership position who has not had some sort of failure). Great leaders know how to relate to people and communicate effectively. They are able to communicate their vision in a clear and simple way. They are able to persuade others with the same beliefs and values that they have.
Great leaders can also retain great people by having a very clear sense of purpose. They don’t get sidetracked and waste time on unimportant things (if you are a leader, then try to do nothing but focus on the main thing for at least one day or week).
Great leaders can motivate the right people who are talented and have the same mentality. Everyone wants to work with someone who is inspiring, joyful and optimistic.
2. Think independently, don’t follow the crowd.
Ray Dalio believes that thinking independently is the best way to success (or in life). One of my favourite principles is #62: ‘If you think something that most people regard as true or right, then you will probably think along similar lines. If this is the case, then you will not be able to see alternatives or have new ideas that people who think differently may see.’
If you want to be successful and have new ideas, think independently. Be confident in your own beliefs and values. If you are open to change and willing to accept new information, then you will keep learning and challenging yourself. Being open can make all the difference between having a clear vision or getting stuck in the wrong methods or assumptions.
3. Don’t be too serious.
This resonates hard with me as I’ve always been someone who doesn’t like to take things seriously. This re-affirmed one of my personality traits and helped me look at it in another way. Life is to be enjoyed and you should be able to laugh and have fun. If you can’t laugh, then life is too serious.
While the idea of not being too serious does not mean you don’t take things seriously, it should not be at the expense of enjoying your life and building a great life. Being too serious can make you feel stressed and brings down your life.
4. Think you’re open minded, try radical open-mindedness
Ray Dalio says that we need to think that we are open-minded and try to be radical open-mindedness. Being radically open-minded means you are willing to go into new ideas, explore and learn about new things. The reason for this is that, if you think you aren’t open-minded or willing to listen or try new things, then you will never challenge yourself or your beliefs. You won’t be able to explore possibilities that you would otherwise have missed out on.
The goal is to find the truth, no matter how strongly you believe in something. You need to push yourself and go beyond what is considered normal.
If you say you are radical open-minded, then you will have nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially in the creative or innovative process. This can help people define new problems and discover new ideas when they abandon old ways of thinking.
5. Love what you do.
If you love what you do, then you will put in more effort and come up with a better result. If your job doesn’t motivate you, then it’s time to make changes (this is common knowledge I guess). For example, putting in the same amount of effort and believing the same things won’t change your results much at all. Want to be successful? Then you don’t have to be. You can give up your beliefs and ideas. And make a new start.
I’ve always just wanted to work hard, work for people I respect, earn more money and play poker after work to relax. Views are different in every situation, but that has been my logic.
That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t consider changing careers earlier because I was interested in what I was doing at the moment and not really thinking about making a change. Change is something that we all don’t want to happen, especially in our lives. We like our routines, daily tasks and everything in place. But change is inevitable. We don’t grow by staying the same, we grow by challenging ourselves and keep learning new things or working on different projects. This can help us figure out what works and what doesn’t work for us.
6. It’s ok if you don’t make it.
In the book, Ray Dalio notes: ‘People who are successful in life may not be successful in every endeavor. The only thing that is important is to give them an opportunity to try–an opportunity to learn a hard lesson and refine their character.’
We all have different ideas of success. We all want to be happy, but many of us are not sure how to get there. The goal is not just to be successful, but also to do something you love and enjoy. Whatever it is that you want to do in life, the important part is to try.
7. Don’t keep your cards close your chest
I remember reading this book and feeling a sense of relief that someone with the same mindset was writing such a helpful guide for more people. I was happy that I wasn’t the only crazy person or one of the few who were trying to do something in a different way.
But then I wasn’t confident enough to follow through with my own methods. Even when I started doing things differently and working on new projects, there was always a part of me that was holding back.
I was doing things that I liked, but I would still be comparing it to what others were doing or how others were looking at the situation. For example, when someone found out that I liked to play poker, they would now be underwhelmed by the fact. I was doing something different from the norm, but I was still worried about what others would think. How others perceived me or what they thought of me.
I was afraid that people would judge me and make fun of me. I would be judged by how I looked, acted and what other people believed to be true in their minds. In the past, I’ve always been a reserved person who doesn’t like attention on himself. I wanted to do things on my own terms, but I wasn’t willing to change the way I was and be myself.
Don’t hide away, don’t worry about what others think and make your own mistakes. This will help you grow a sense of self-motivation and confidence as well as learn to have open-mindedness.
8. The quickest way to overcome your own skills gap is to find someone who can do what you cant.
I think this is one of the most important lessons of the book. In the foreword, Ray Dalio notes: ‘The fastest way to improve your skills and enhance your competitiveness is to find someone who can do what you can’t.’
This is a very important thing to remember. You can learn so much just by observing other people and how they work. I have learned so much just by working with people who are more talented or have better skills than me. It’s something I look forward to every week because it makes me a better person in everything that I do.
Finding people who complement you and learn from them every day can make you more successful. I’ve found that I am now working with more people at work, my friends and even some of the guys who know me. This has helped me become a better person and a better poker player.
I don’t want to be the only one who knows how to do something, so if there’s something people are good at or have learned from someone else, then ask them how they did that. You’re not stealing their knowledge (unless they explicitly asked you). You’re just making a person who has something to teach you.
9. The Idea Meritocracy
When Ray Dalio started his company, he implemented a meritocracy and this is what inspired him to write the book. He wanted to create a high-performance culture and has been able to do that by creating a culture of hard work, honesty and integrity and serving the interests of everyone who is in it.
The idea meritocracy is that people who you hire and promote to leadership positions should be selected on their ability to accomplish the goals that are set forth. These practices don’t mean that everyone who is in the company will succeed, but if you want them to, then you need to reward them with promotions.
Because of this system in place, he has been able to create better quality work and higher profits for the company. This is why the idea meritocracy is so important and the most important work you can do for yourself.
10. Shapers rule the world
I couldn’t agree more with what Ray Dalio writes about in this book. Shapers are powerful people who have something to teach others. Shapers are teachers, mentors and role models. They help people learn to be great by sharing knowledge and wisdom they have gained over their careers. Their job is to serve others and inspire them to be better than they were before.
These people have a strong sense of self-awareness and they think ahead. They are not afraid of obstacles, they face their fears and overcome them. They are highly creative and intelligent people who know what they want in life and try their best to accomplish those goals.
I strongly believe that everyone is capable of being a shaper, but it all depends on what you learn from your experiences in life. Sometimes it takes failures in order to learn how to do things differently or solve problems on your own.
If you want to learn more about being a shaper, then I highly recommend reading this book. It can help you become a person who inspires and motivates others to be better and overcome all the obstacles that they face.
11. Make your own rules
I loved the end of this book because Ray Dalio is an honest man who tells it like it is. He doesn’t try to sugar-coat things or pretend like he knows everything or that he is perfect.
If you’re interested in becoming successful, then you should make something that is unusual and makes people think. Rules are important in life because they set a standard for what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
You want to break the rules and do things your own way. If you want to be successful at something, then you will need to take a stance on how you decide to do things. Otherwise, it will ultimately be too hard to go through life if you always bend over backwards for everyone else.
If you want to learn more about this book, then I recommend reading the book reviews that others have shared about it. They discuss what’s good and bad about the book and give you a better idea on whether or not this is something you want to read.
Every person has their own opinions on life and how they should be living it. I think that one of the most important things I learned is to watch what other successful people do, but at the same time don’t follow in their footsteps exactly. There is a lot to be learned from others and the best way to do that is by asking questions.
There are many lessons in this book that can help anyone become a better person or get ahead at work. I’m continuing to implement the lessons from this book in every area of my life and I encourage you to do the same.