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Principles

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Principles

I've recently been reading an earlier version of Ray Dalio's original book, Principles. I wanted to share two things that stood out most to me as I was going through the book. T ...

I’ve recently been reading an earlier version of Ray Dalio’s original book, Principles. I wanted to share two things that stood out most to me as I was going through the book.

The first is this quote: “In life, you can have virtually anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want”

I found this extremely profound because it forces one to prioritize goals. Implicitly, it also makes a distinction between goals and desires. For example, a person could want to be really fit with six pack abs (goal), but they could also want to eat chocolate cake (desire) every night. These two are at conflict with one another and make the basic notion that goals are good, and desires are bad. If we want to reach our goals, we need to give up desires. However, even more empowering about this quote to me, is that we can have virtually anything we want. Just take a moment to reflect and think about that, it’s so powerful. If we want something bad enough in life and are willing to work hard towards it, we can find a way to have it. Obviously, physics and laws still apply so we can’t naturally fly (yet), but the concept that we can have virtually anything we want really hits home for me. I recommend making a list of your most important goals, and finding creative ways to get there.

The other quote that stood out to me: Pain + Reflection = Progress

Everyone goes through pain, and I’m referencing psychological pain in this context, not physical. It could be a bad performance review at work, a recent breakup with your significant other, or a disagreement you had with a close friend. Many times, we block out the pain, try to ignore it, and never think back to what caused the pain, and how to get better so that it doesn’t happen again. Without reflection, there is no progress. If there is only success and happiness, we can not improve because there is no catalyst to do so. Pain is a beautiful emotion and can be a powerful motivator for change and progress, but only if we have the courage to look back and address it head on.  I know I’ve had trouble dealing with pain in the past, and without addressing it head on, have made similar mistakes again. I’ve recently made a list of some of my most painful moments that I’ve experienced, and tried to come up with a learning, or principle from each of those experiences so I can improve and compensate for my shortcomings. I have a list of ~10 moments right now, but will add to it as life moves on…

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