An interview with billionaire investor and founder of the world’s largest Hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio. In this interview, Ray discusses his principles for success and the his use of an idea meritocracy. Ray also talks about relationships and privacy.
Ray Dalio: Overcoming Failure, Steps To Success And Idea Meritocracy
I'd love to talk about principles. There are principles in general I want to distinguish. There are principles in general and then there are principles that I have that worked for me and I want to distinguish the two because we're going to talk about both of them. I think the most important thing is for each individual to have their own principles and to be crystal clear on those principles. I think as a society as a whole which we're not as clear on those principles if we were to think about maybe as a country what are the principles that bind us together what are the principles that separate us and we all had that clarity. I think Prince everybody's got to have their own principles so I'll talk about principles in general but well get into mine. So what I'm saying when I say principles what I'm referring to is the fact that whenever you're in a situation how would you best handle that situation. So there are overarching principles. You know what are your values and how do you live though your life out consistent with those values. And then there were just at various levels there are tactical principles like I don't know how do you give a talk like this or whatever it is. And what I stumbled on was the one I would make trades. I wrote down the particular principle. The reason I would make a trade. So when I was in a situation I would write down that my principle for dealing with that situation was and that helped me a lot.
So if there's one message that I would want to carry convey to you it would be almost like rather than just make decisions when you're in a situation it would be invaluable if you think about what are your criteria for making that decision and also write them down. I stumbled across this by an act by accident because when I would make trades I would say if I put that what were my criteria. And then when I closed the closed the trade out I would then find out how it did. I learned that by writing those criteria down I could then go back and if I was clear enough and see what those criteria would have worked in history and that gave me a perspective that I didn't have and I learned that if I was able to write them clearly enough in other words in the form of what we call algorithms are used to be called formula's we would be able to then put that out and then whatever information would come in it would collect that information would come in and we would be able to make decisions in an algorithmic way. So the clarity of writing down one's principles is invaluable. What I did was then when writing those principles down I also have a culture that you learn about about radical truth and radical transparency. Everything sort of taped and you eliminate you eliminate the duality you eliminate the you have the consistency of it you Opper or you walk in your talk. And that has an effect to building trust and then having all sorts of things.
Anyway when I wanted to explain is while there are all sorts of principles for everything you know you all are in different areas you all have all different counters in your life. I think in principles for everyone I would say that's a great thing to do because if you write them down in your crystal clear not only over a period of time when you encounter new things do you then examine how those new things work relative to principles you will evolve those but it helps your communications with other people in such an important way because they know where you stand. And that's been fabulous. So I'm not so in general I think it's great that there are principles I would recommend everybody do that it's been invaluable and so there I'm just saying that you could have a million things that there are principles about. In my experience as we get into two areas economics investments and work were the things that we're going to talk about so I'm going from the general principle level down to the OK what are my principles and just to be clear my principles are just my principles. Everybody has to have their own principles and there's nothing saying that my principles I'm just throwing them out there because they helped me. So I'm at a stage in my life in which I'm in what I would describe a transition from the second stage of my life to the third stage of my life. I think life happens and when I see a sort of three stages the first stage of your life you're dependent on others you're learning you're a student and that's your first phase of your life.
Second phase of your life you're working others are dependent on you and you're trying to be successful as you go to that third stage of your life your free of obligations and the joy that you have is that other people are successful without you your kids as they grow older. They are successful the people that you work with and there's a transition into that third stage of life that I think seems natural which is that you want to help others be successful without you.