Principles Ray Dalio Quotes

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If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
It is far more common for people to allow ego to stand in the way of learning.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Summary)
the happiest people discover their own nature and match their life to it.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Look for people who have lots of great questions. Smart people are the ones who ask the most thoughtful questions, as opposed to thinking they have all the answers. Great questions are a much better indicator of future success than great answers.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I just want to be right—I don’t care if the right answer comes from me.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Listening to uninformed people is worse than having no answers at all.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Pain + Reflection = Progress
Ray Dalio (Principles: Summary)
Every time you confront something painful, you are at a potentially important juncture in your life—you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or unhealthy but comfortable delusion.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
If you can’t successfully do something, don’t think you can tell others how it should be done
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Because our educational system is hung up on precision, the art of being good at approximations is insufficiently valued. This impedes conceptual thinking.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Having the basics—a good bed to sleep in, good relationships, good food, and good sex—is most important, and those things don’t get much better when you have a lot of money or much worse when you have less. And the people one meets at the top aren’t necessarily more special than those one meets at the bottom or in between.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I saw that to do exceptionally well you have to push your limits and that, if you push your limits, you will crash and it will hurt a lot. You will think you have failed—but that won’t be true unless you give up.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
It’s more important to do big things well than to do the small things perfectly.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
The greatest gift you can give someone is the power to be successful. Giving people the opportunity to struggle rather than giving them the things they are struggling for will make them stronger.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Unattainable goals appeal to heroes,
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
first principle: • Think for yourself to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true, and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2 . . . . . . and do that with humility and open-mindedness so that you consider the best thinking available to you.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Remember that in great partnerships, consideration and generosity are more important than money.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Thoughtful disagreement is not a battle; its goal is not to convince the other party that he or she is wrong and you are right, but to find out what is true and what to do about it.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
To be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true. If you are too proud of what you know or of how good you are at something you will learn less, make inferior decisions, and fall short of your potential.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
The most valuable habit I’ve acquired is using pain to trigger quality reflections. If you can acquire this habit yourself, you will learn what causes your pain and what you can do about it, and it will have an enormous impact on your effectiveness.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behavior that gets you what you want out of life. They can be applied again and again in similar situations to help you achieve your goals.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Choose your habits well. Habit is probably the most powerful tool in your brain’s toolbox.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Remember that most people are happiest when they are improving and doing the things that suit them naturally and help them advance. So learning about your people’s weaknesses is just as valuable (for them and for you) as is learning their strengths.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Time is like a river that carries us forward into encounters with reality that require us to make decisions. We can’t stop our movement down this river and we can’t avoid those encounters. We can only approach them in the best possible way.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Remember that the only purpose of money is to get you what you want, so think hard about what you value and put it above money. How much would you sell a good relationship for? There’s not enough money in the world to get you to part with a valued relationship.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
When a problem occurs, conduct the discussion at two levels: 1) the machine level (why that outcome was produced) and 2) the case-at-hand level (what to do about it).
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
The people who work for you should constantly challenge you,
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
The most important thing is that you develop your own principles and ideally write them down, especially if you are working with others.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Managers who do not understand people's different thinking styles cannot understand how the people working for them will handle different situations.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I also feared boredom and mediocrity much more than I feared failure.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
in most companies people are doing two jobs: their actual job and the job of managing others’ impressions of how they’re doing their job.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I also feared boredom and mediocrity much more than I feared failure. For me, great is better than terrible, and terrible is better than mediocre, because terrible at least gives life flavor. The high school yearbook quote my friends chose for me was from Thoreau: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Above all else, I want you to think for yourself, to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true and 3) what to do about it
Ray Dalio (Principles: Summary)
Never say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to them directly and don’t try people without accusing them to their faces.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I came to see that people’s greatest weaknesses are the flip sides of their greatest strengths.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Having nothing to hide relieves stress and builds trust.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
What you will be will depend on the perspective you have.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
My approach was to hire, train, test, and then fire or promote quickly, so that we could rapidly identify the excellent hires and get rid of the ordinary ones, repeating the process again and again until the percentage of those who were truly great was high enough to meet our needs.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
beneficial change begins when you can acknowledge and even embrace your weaknesses.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Great is better than terrible, and terrible is better than mediocre, because terrible at least gives life flavor.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Summary)
Systemize your decision making.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Beware of statements that begin with “I think that . . .” Just because someone thinks something doesn’t mean it’s true.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Don’t just pay attention to your job; pay attention to how your job will be done if you are no longer around.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
If you can think for yourself while being open-minded in a clearheaded way to find out what is best for you to do, and if you can summon up the courage to do it, you will make the most of your life.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Any damn fool can make it complex. It takes a genius to make it simple
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
While I used to get angry and frustrated at people because of the choices they made, I came to realize that they weren’t intentionally acting in a way that seemed counterproductive; they were just living out things as they saw them, based on how their brains worked.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Meditate. I practice Transcendental Meditation and believe that it has enhanced my open-mindedness, higher-level perspective, equanimity, and creativity. It helps slow things down so that I can act calmly even in the face of chaos, just like a ninja in a street fight. I’m not saying that you have to meditate in order to develop this perspective; I’m just passing along that it has helped me and many other people and I recommend that you seriously consider exploring it.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
In trading you have to be defensive and aggressive at the same time. If you are not aggressive, you are not going to make money, and if you are not defensive, you are not going to keep money.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Don’t hire people just to fit the first job they will do; hire people you want to share your life with.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Pay for the person, not the job. Look at what people in comparable jobs with comparable experience and credentials make, add some small premium over that, and build in bonuses or other incentives so they will be motivated to knock the cover off the ball. Never pay based on the job title alone.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Every leader must decide between 1) getting rid of liked but incapable people to achieve their goals and 2) keeping the nice but incapable people and not achieving their goals. Whether or not you can make these hard decisions is the strongest determinant of your own success
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Find the most believable people possible who disagree with you and try to understand their reasoning. Having open-minded conversations with believable people who disagree with you is the quickest way to get an education and to increase your probability of being right.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Every time you confront something painful, you are at a potentially important juncture in your life— you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or unhealthy but comfortable delusion.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Heroes inevitably experience at least one very big failure that tests whether they have the resilience to come back and fight smarter and with more determination.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
no manager at any level can expect to succeed without the skill set of an organizational engineer.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Know what types of mistakes are acceptable and what types are unacceptable, and don’t allow the people who work for you to make the unacceptable ones.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Don’t have anything to do with closed-minded people. Being open-minded is much more important than being bright or smart.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I also feared boredom and mediocrity much more than I feared failure. For me, great is better than terrible, and terrible is better than mediocre, because terrible at least gives life flavor.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Some people go through life collecting all kinds of observations and opinions like pocket lint, instead of just keeping what they need. They have “detail anxiety,” worrying about unimportant things.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
What was most important wasn't knowing the future—it was knowing how to react appropriately to the information available at each point in time.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
You don’t achieve happiness by getting rid of your problems – you achieve it by learning from them.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Summary)
My painful mistakes shifted me from having a perspective of “I know I’m right” to having one of “How do I know I’m right?
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Because most people are more emotional than logical, they tend to overreact to short-term results; they give up and sell low when times are bad and buy too high when times are good. I find this is just as true for relationships as it is for investments—wise people stick with sound fundamentals through the ups and downs, while flighty people react emotionally to how things feel, jumping into things when they’re hot and abandoning them when they’re not.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Remember that everyone has opinions and they are often bad. Opinions are easy to produce; everyone has plenty of them and most people are eager to share them—even to fight for them. Unfortunately many are worthless or even harmful, including a lot of your own.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice?
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Don’t let the little things divide you when your agreement on the big things should bind you.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Understand the differences between managing, micromanaging, and not managing.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Distinguish between you as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with your machine.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I saw pain as nature’s reminder that there is something important for me to learn.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way. You must be willing to do things in the unique ways you think are best
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
1+1=3. Two people who collaborate well will be about three times as effective as each of them operating independently,
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Great people are hard to find so make sure you think about how to keep them.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Believe it or not, your pain will fade and you will have many other opportunities ahead of you,
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Reality, in turn, will send you loud signals about how well your principles are working by rewarding or punishing you, so you will learn to fine-tune them accordingly.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
The key is to fail, learn, and improve quickly. If you’re constantly learning and improving, your evolutionary process will be ascending. Do do it poorly, it will be descending. So I believe evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest award.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
The best behaviors one can hope for come from leaders who can weigh the benefits of cooperation, and who have long enough time frames that they can see how the gifts they give this year may bring them benefits in the future.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
It’s senseless to have making money as your goal as money has no intrinsic value—its value comes from what it can buy, and it can’t buy everything. It’s smarter to start with what you really want, which are your real goals, and then work back to what you need to attain them. Money will be one of the things you need, but it’s not the only one and certainly not the most important one once you get past having the amount you need to get what you really want.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Experience taught me how invaluable it is to reflect on and write down my decision-making criteria whenever I made a decision, so I got in the habit of doing that.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
It seems to me that life consists of three phases. In the first, we are dependent on others and we learn. In the second, others depend on us and we work. And in the third and last, when others no longer depend on us and we no longer have to work, we are free to savor life.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Seek out the smartest people who disagreed with me so I could try to understand their reasoning. 2. Know when not to have an opinion. 3. Develop, test, and systemize timeless and universal principles. 4. Balance risks in ways that keep the big upside while reducing the downside.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I have found it helpful to think of my life as if it were a game in which each problem I face is a puzzle I need to solve. By solving the puzzle, I get a gem in the form of a principle that helps me avoid the same sort of problem in the future. Collecting these gems continually improves my decision making, so I am able to ascend to higher and higher levels of play in which the game gets harder and the stakes become ever greater.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Our brains work like computers: They input data and process it in accordance with their wiring and programming. Any opinion you have is made up of these two things: the data and your processing or reasoning
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Focus more on making the pie bigger than on exactly how to slice it so that you or anyone else gets the biggest piece. The best negotiations are the ones with someone in which I say, “You should take more,” and they argue back, “No you should take more!” People who operate this way with each other make the relationship better and the pie bigger—and both benefit in the long run.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I have come to realize that bad times coupled with good reflections provide some of the best lessons, and not just about business but also about relationships. One has many more supposed friends when one is up than when one is down, because most people like to be with winners and shun losers. True friends are the opposite.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Once we get the things we are striving for, we rarely remain satisfied with them. The things are just the bait. Chasing after them forces us to evolve, and it is the evolution and not the rewards themselves that matters to us and to those around us. This means that for most people success is struggling and evolving as effectively as possible.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
When encountering your weaknesses you have four choices: 1. You can deny them (which is what most people do). 2. You can accept them and work at them in order to try to convert them into strengths (which might or might not work depending on your ability to change). 3. You can accept your weaknesses and find ways around them. 4. Or, you can change what you are going after.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
If you are ready to give up everything else and study the whole history and background of the market and all principal companies whose stocks are on the board as carefully as a medical student studies anatomy—if you can do all that and in addition you have the cool nerves of a gambler, the sixth sense of a clairvoyant and the courage of a lion, you have a ghost of a chance.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Know what your people are like and what makes them tick, because your people are your most important resource. Develop a full profile of each person’s values, abilities, and skills. These qualities are the real drivers of behavior, so knowing them in detail will tell you which jobs a person can and cannot do well, which ones they should avoid, and how the person should be trained.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
If you’ve learned anything from this book I hope it’s that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone has an important role to play in life. Nature made everything and everyone for a purpose. The courage that’s needed the most isn’t the kind that drives you to prevail over others, but the kind that allows you to be true to your truest self, no matter what other people want you to be.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
...human greatness and terribleness are not correlated with wealth or other conventional measures of success. I've also learned that judging people before really seeing things through their eyes stands in the way of understanding their circumstances--and that isn't smart. I urge you to be curious enough to want to understand how the people who see things differently from you came to see them that way. You will find that interesting and invaluable, and the richer perspective you gain will help you decide what you should do.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Remember the 80/20 Rule and know what the key 20 percent is. The 80/20 Rule states that you get 80 percent of the value out of something from 20 percent of the information or effort. (It’s also true that you’re likely to exert 80 percent of your effort getting the final 20 percent of value.) Understanding this rule saves you from getting bogged down in unnecessary detail once you’ve gotten most of the learning you need to make a good decision.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Making money in the markets is tough. The brilliant trader and investor Bernard Baruch put it well when he said, “If you are ready to give up everything else and study the whole history and background of the market and all principal companies whose stocks are on the board as carefully as a medical student studies anatomy—if you can do all that and in addition you have the cool nerves of a gambler, the sixth sense of a clairvoyant and the courage of a lion, you have a ghost of a chance.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Elon Musk (of Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity), Jeff Bezos (of Amazon), and Reed Hastings (of Netflix) are other great shapers from the business world. In philanthropy, Muhammad Yunus (of Grameen), Geoffrey Canada (of Harlem Children’s Zone), and Wendy Kopp (of Teach for America) come to mind; and in government, Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lee Kuan Yew, and Deng Xiaoping. Bill Gates has been a shaper in both business and philanthropy, as was Andrew Carnegie. Mike Bloomberg has been a shaper in business, philanthropy, and government. Einstein, Freud, Darwin, and Newton were giant shapers in the sciences. Christ, Muhammad, and the Buddha were religious shapers. They all had original visions and successfully built them out.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
d. In designing your organization, remember that the 5-Step Process is the path to success and that different people are good at different steps. Assign specific people to do each of these steps based on their natural inclinations. For example, the big-picture visionary should be responsible for goal setting, the taste tester should be assigned the job of identifying and not tolerating problems, the logical detective who doesn’t mind probing people should be the diagnoser, the imaginative designer should craft the plan to make the improvements, and the reliable taskmaster should make sure the plan gets executed. Of course, some people can do more than one of these things—generally people do two or three well. Virtually nobody can do them all well. A team should consist of people with all of these abilities and they should know who is responsible for which steps.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Then I spoke with proven shapers I knew—Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Reed Hastings, Muhammad Yunus, Geoffrey Canada, Jack Dorsey (of Twitter), David Kelley (of IDEO), and more. They had all visualized remarkable concepts and built organizations to actualize them, and done that repeatedly and over long periods of time. I asked them to take an hour’s worth of personality assessments to discover their values, abilities, and approaches. While not perfect, these assessments have been invaluable. (In fact, I have been adapting and refining them to help us in our recruiting and management.) The answers these shapers provided to the standardized questions gave me objective and statistically measurable evidence about their similarities and differences. It turns out they have a lot in common. They are all independent thinkers who do not let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving their audacious goals. They have very strong mental maps of how things should be done, and at the same time a willingness to test those mental maps in the world of reality and change the ways they do things to make them work better. They are extremely resilient, because their need to achieve what they envision is stronger than the pain they experience as they struggle to achieve it. Perhaps most interesting, they have a wider range of vision than most people, either because they have that vision themselves or because they know how to get it from others who can see what they can’t. All are able to see both big pictures and granular details (and levels in between) and synthesize the perspectives they gain at those different levels, whereas most people see just one or the other. They are simultaneously creative, systematic, and practical. They are assertive and open-minded at the same time. Above all, they are passionate about what they are doing, intolerant of people who work for them who aren’t excellent at what they do, and want to have a big, beneficial impact on the world.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
While making money was good, having meaningful work and meaningful relationships was far better. To me, meaningful work is being on a mission I become engrossed in, and meaningful relationships are those I have with people I care deeply about and who care deeply about me. Think about it: It’s senseless to have making money as your goal as money has no intrinsic value—its value comes from what it can buy, and it can’t buy everything. It’s smarter to start with what you really want, which are your real goals, and then work back to what you need to attain them. Money will be one of the things you need, but it’s not the only one and certainly not the most important one once you get past having the amount you need to get what you really want. When thinking about the things you really want, it pays to think of their relative values so you weigh them properly. In my case, I wanted meaningful work and meaningful relationships equally, and I valued money less—as long as I had enough to take care of my basic needs. In thinking about the relative importance of great relationships and money, it was clear that relationships were more important because there is no amount of money I would take in exchange for a meaningful relationship, because there is nothing I could buy with that money that would be more valuable. So, for me, meaningful work and meaningful relationships were and still are my primary goals and everything I did was for them. Making money was an incidental consequence of that. In the late 1970s, I began sending my observations about the markets to clients via telex. The genesis of these Daily Observations (“ Grains and Oilseeds,” “Livestock and Meats,” “Economy and Financial Markets”) was pretty simple: While our primary business was in managing risk exposures, our clients also called to pick my brain about the markets. Taking those calls became time-consuming, so I decided it would be more efficient to write down my thoughts every day so others could understand my logic and help improve it. It was a good discipline since it forced me to research and reflect every day. It also became a key channel of communication for our business. Today, almost forty years and ten thousand publications later, our Daily Observations are read, reflected on, and argued about by clients and policymakers around the world. I’m still writing them, along with others at Bridgewater, and expect to continue to write them until people don’t care to read them or I die.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Embrace Reality and Deal with It 1.1 Be a hyperrealist. a. Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful Life. 1.2 Truth—or, more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality—is the essential foundation for any good outcome. 1.3 Be radically open-minded and radically transparent. a. Radical open-mindedness and radical transparency are invaluable for rapid learning and effective change. b. Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way. c. Embracing radical truth and radical transparency will bring more meaningful work and more meaningful relationships. 1.4 Look to nature to learn how reality works. a. Don’t get hung up on your views of how things “should” be because you will miss out on learning how they really are. b. To be “good,” something must operate consistently with the laws of reality and contribute to the evolution of the whole; that is what is most rewarded. c. Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe; it is the only thing that is permanent and it drives everything. d. Evolve or die. 1.5 Evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward. a. The individual’s incentives must be aligned with the group’s goals. b. Reality is optimizing for the whole—not for you. c. Adaptation through rapid trial and error is invaluable. d. Realize that you are simultaneously everything and nothing—and decide what you want to be. e. What you will be will depend on the perspective you have. 1.6 Understand nature’s practical lessons. a. Maximize your evolution. b. Remember “no pain, no gain.” c. It is a fundamental law of nature that in order to gain strength one has to push one’s limits, which is painful. 1.7 Pain + Reflection = Progress. a. Go to the pain rather than avoid it. b. Embrace tough love. 1.8 Weigh second- and third-order consequences. 1.9 Own your outcomes. 1.10 Look at the machine from the higher level. a. Think of yourself as a machine operating within a machine and know that you have the ability to alter your machines to produce better outcomes. b. By comparing your outcomes with your goals, you can determine how to modify
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Making money in the markets is tough. The brilliant trader and investor Bernard Baruch put it well when he said, “If you are ready to give up everything else and study the whole history and background of the market and all principal companies whose stocks are on the board as carefully as a medical student studies anatomy—if you can do all that and in addition you have the cool nerves of a gambler, the sixth sense of a clairvoyant and the courage of a lion, you have a ghost of a chance.” In retrospect, the mistakes that led to my crash seemed embarrassingly obvious. First, I had been wildly overconfident and had let my emotions get the better of me. I learned (again) that no matter how much I knew and how hard I worked, I could never be certain enough to proclaim things like what I’d said on Wall $ treet Week: “There’ll be no soft landing. I can say that with absolute certainty, because I know how markets work.” I am still shocked and embarrassed by how arrogant I was. Second, I again saw the value of studying history. What had happened, after all, was “another one of those.” I should have realized that debts denominated in one’s own currency can be successfully restructured with the government’s help, and that when central banks simultaneously provide stimulus (as they did in March 1932, at the low point of the Great Depression, and as they did again in 1982), inflation and deflation can be balanced against each other. As in 1971, I had failed to recognize the lessons of history. Realizing that led me to try to make sense of all movements in all major economies and markets going back a hundred years and to come up with carefully tested decision-making principles that are timeless and universal. Third, I was reminded of how difficult it is to time markets. My long-term estimates of equilibrium levels were not reliable enough to bet on; too many things could happen between the time I placed my bets and the time (if ever) that my estimates were reached. Staring at these failings, I realized that if I was going to move forward without a high likelihood of getting whacked again, I would have to look at myself objectively and change—starting by learning a better way of handling the natural aggressiveness I’ve always shown in going after what I wanted. Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)