Life Lessons and Principles from Billionaire Ray Dalio – Pain + Reflection = Progress!

The greatest achievements and rewards in life is to fulfill one’s ideals: wealth, health, success and happiness.  But how can the event be so perfect?  In your life and chase, we will definitely encounter a lot of lessons from reality.  Every lesson can make you miserable, but if you can reflect and improve from this lesson, then you will improve.  Failure is the mother of success.  Then you will get closer and closer to your ideal.


Today we will learn from a billionaire, founder of Bridgewater Fund:  Ray Dalio.  Let’s see how he slowly stood up from one of the biggest setbacks in his life and learned many principles of life, thus achieving his brilliant achievements now.


The Most Painful Experience of Ray Dalio

Say he started his own company and invested in his twenties.  It all went well at the beginning.  But in his thirties, ,made a serious mistake in one decision.  Almost all wealth was gone overnight.  I quote the sentences in the book:

My experience over this period was like a series of blows to the head with a baseball bat.  Being so wrong—and especially so publicly wrong—was incredibly humbling and cost me just about everything I had built at Bridgewater.

I saw that I had been an arrogant jerk, who was totally confident in a totally incorrect view.   So there I was after eight years in business, with nothing to show for it.  Though I’d been right much more than I’d been wrong, I was all the way back to square one.  At one point, I’d lost so much money I couldn’t afford to pay the people who worked with me.  One by one, I had to let them go.We went down to two employess—Colman and me.  Then Colman had to go. With tears from all, his family packed up and returned to Okla homa.  Bridgewater was now down to just one employee: me.

Losing people I cared so much about and very nearly losing my dream of working for myself was devastating. To mack ends meet, I even had to borrow $4,000 from my dad until we could sell our second car.  I had come to a fork in the road:  Should I put on a tie and take a job on Wall Street?  That was not the life I wanted.  On other hand, I had a life and two young children to support.  I realized I was facing one of life’s big turning points and my choices would have big implications for me and for my family’s future.


Shock: It may be your own career, wealth, family, and love all returned to the original place because of severe blows.  Of course, Ray Dalio finally managed to get out of his trough.  Now he’s getting better and better, becoming one of the greatest investors.  Then in the process of his trial, delved into many different philosophies.  The first thing I learned from him was:

Pain + Reflection = Progress

Pain + reflection is progress, Like Tony Robbins said: Progress = Happiness.  It means pain and reflection, and you will get better.  And progress equals happiness.  There are a lot of truths and experiences in life, all you gain at your most painful time.  We will fight for our goals throughout our lives.


5 Steps Process

We have five steps:

  1. Have clear goals
  2. Identify and don’t tolerate problems
  3. Diagnose problems to get at their root causes.
  4. Design a plan
  5. Push through to completion


Failures & Setbacks

Almost all your ideals and goals will encounter problems and frustrations, and even failed in the end, and the impact of failure is really great.  Despite the fact that you put in a lot of effort, spirit and effort, not working is not working.  Sometimes things go against wishes, and you work more hard, let the result backfire on you.  It’s very painful.

  • Maybe the company you worked for more than ten years suddenly fired you, just like Jim Carrey’s father.
  • Maybe your life savings are invested.  As a result, they meet the financial crisis, and you lose everything.
  • May also be a love that has been in business for many years, and eventually broke up.
  • Or you are an athlete, but your injuries make careers impossible, It’s like Vince Carter Grant Hill and so on.

All kinds of failures, setbacks and blows can really destroy a person’s life.  But it can also be a good opportunity to learn.  Make yourself progress so you don’t repeat it.  How can we reflect and learn in painful situations.  Then progress is what we have to do.


Learn From Failures

We have a trilogy:

  1. Get out of pain
  2. Introspection
  3. Execution or Move on


1. Get out of Pain

How can we get out of pain?  Pain can make you frustrated, scared, irritable and lose motivation.  Basically people at this time have no way to make any decisions rationally.  The easiest and most effective way:

Is to use time to dilute everything.  Some people may be days, weeks, months, or even years.  Depending on how big your shock is, and did you get some help during recovery to get you out of the haze?  Time can heal wounds, dilute injuries, settle mood, calm down emotions.  Don’t think too much about it.  Instead, look for other things to do first and distract yourself.  Let time take its effect slowly.


2. Reflection

Our second step is: reflection and learning.  To reflect and learn, the first and most important point is: acknowledge.  Admit frankly that you did something wrong.  Then you can see where you can improve.  Why do we say that it is very difficult to be willing to take mistakes?


Ego Barrier

First you have to know that human beings are actually a rational animal.  We basically have two ourselves in our heads.  One is a rational self, the other is an irrational and emotional self.  And the more emotional one will naturally starts working when we are under some attack and criticism preventing cheating and resisting anyone’s speech.  This is so-called: Ego will be stumped from it.  Ego is the enemy.  Advice when most needed is least heeded.

  • Sometimes when some people give you advice, you will feel:  What are you doing? Why give me advice? Why should I listen to you?
  • Sometimes someone criticizes you for being lazy and casual.  Then you thought to myself: I am harder than you. Why do you say I am?

Just now these are some Ego conversations inside.  Its role is to protect your self-esteem.  But it can also prevent you from hearing some true words of faith.


Blind Spot Barrier

In addition to Ego, there is a need to know that everyone has their own blind spots.  Blind spots mean you can’t see, only others can see.  This is called blind spot.  Similarly, when someone realizes your blind spot.  Because you don’t know this is really your blind spot.  So your Ego will come out again to protect your self-esteem.  So that you can’t see the truth.  So sometimes you have to admit that you are poor and lazy, admit that you did wrong, saying sorry, etc.  When you can let go of your Ego and emotions, you can reflect on where you can improve.


Learn about Realities

There are three major areas that everyone must learn and recognize.

  1. The laws of nature and society
  2. Yourself
  3. Understand that people are wired very differently

We go one by one.


Realities of Nature, Society and Things

First, recognize the reality. Vulgarly speaking is to know the rules.  Different ways to play in each category.  There are rules of play to do business in business, and there are rules of play to do business in the workplace, There are rules of play in investment, and there are rules of play in love.  There are rules of play in fitness as well.  It can be seen that each category has its own operating rules.  If you want to succeed and reduce your chances of failure.  We need to know more and deeper.  So that you have the opportunity to get the results you want in this category.  In simple terms, it is continuous learning and gaining relevant experience, so that you have a chance to succeed in this area.


Reality of Yourself

To understand yourself like what I just mentioned, Just said, our biggest enemy is our emotional head, Ego and blind spot, so the way to improve is to be radically open-minded.  Being radically open-minded means you don’t stick to your opinions.  Let yourself go and listen to others, especially some believable people.  Understand the opinions of different people.  Don’t use emotions, prejudices, and preconceived attitudes.  Believe that you don’t know everything.  Opinions and differences are common.  Don’t worry, the most important thing is whether you can achieve your goals.  And can’t find the real facts.  Especially what some believable people say:  You have to listen attentively and pay more attention to their words.


What is called believable people?  It is that he has 3 or more successful experiences in this area, then what this person says in this category will be convincing.  You can refer to that.  What I’m saying here isn’t to make you believe what they say, but after many aspects of induction and reflection.  You find the truth and the decision that suits you best.


Reality of Other People

The third thing to know and understand is:  Everyone’s thinking mode, personality and ability are very different.  Humans are basically social animals.  We have to do social activities in both work and life.  Recognize that each other has different personality traits, goals, and thinking patterns.  This can help you get along with each other and reduce friction.  You can also understand that how to arrange your work and make some effective arrangements based on your strengths and weaknesses.  When you know more about reality and yourself.  Then your decision will be much better.  The chance of making mistakes will also decrease.  Generally speaking, humans often make the same mistakes.


Common Mistakes Everyone made

The most common include:

  • Making some irreparable mistakes, losing everything.
  • Too much emotional dependence, too easy to trust people.
  • Too lazy, not self-disciplined, lacking relevant experience and knowledge.
  • Do not look for some relevant people to help myself.
  • Too insistent on one’s own opinion, or too deep to see the general picture.

After the whole process of reflection, I hope you can summarize some points: Be Your Own Principle.  When encountering and happening similar things, you will have a coping method to deal with.


3. Execution

After a round of reflection,  Our third step is to apply what we just learned.  If the source of your pain—the shock event is already a pour of water and there is no way to supplement, the only thing you can do is continue to live: Move on.  And avoid making the same mistake next time.  If the thing causing your pain could be undone, Then you have to apply all the principles you just learned to recover.


Remember when you implement all your principles, don’t be too emotional.  Look at yourself and your goals from a higher level.  Continuous implementation, improvement and repetition.  Over time you will find that it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach your goals.  You have improved a lot in the process.

Progress = Happiness


Know that you are a significant but insignificant person.  Set the goal you want to achieve, and work towards it.  It doesn’t matter whether the end result can reach the goal you want.  If you see it in the process, get it, experience it, lose it.  This is life.

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