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Life advice from self-made billionaire, Ray Dalio

Why mistakes, mediation and meritocracy lead to success

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The recession of 2008 may have been more than a decade ago but for a lot of people, the feeling of suffering lingers. 

If you’re one of those people, how can you put the fear of that recession in the past for good and take a more proactive, confident approach to your portfolio?

In this episode of the Tony Robbins podcast, Tony and self-made billionaire, masterful investor and founder of Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, discuss what Dalio has learned from his record-breaking career, why meritocracy leads to success and how everyone can benefit from a balanced portfolio.

If anyone knows about a balanced portfolio, it’s Dalio. Over the course of four decades, his firm, Bridgewater Associates, has grown beyond his wildest dreams. It is now the largest hedge fund in the world, managing more than $160 billion dollars in assets and making more money for its investors than any other hedge fund in history.

In addition to his success in the financial markets, Dalio is also an accomplished author, a TEDTalk speaker and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. His book, Principles, is a New York Times bestseller and Amazon’s #1 Business Book of the Year. In 2020, he was ranked as the world’s 79th wealthiest person in the world by Bloomberg L.P.

But Dalio is a humble man who comes from humble beginnings. He is incredibly successful but has seen his fair share of failure.

Now that he is nearing retirement, he has discovered that the greatest joy in life is not how wealthy he can become. The greatest joy in life is to help others be successful.

In this candid discussion with Tony, Dalio shares his personal beliefs about creating a successful workplace culture and why it’s important for everyone to strive to create a meritocracy and invoke “radical honesty” in their lives.

ray dalio interview

In this episode, Dalio discusses how to make the tough decisions necessary to be successful in life and in business. Being successful means making mistakes and even the best entrepreneur needs to make mistakes in order to learn from them. Dalio explains he wouldn’t be so successful if he had never made tough decisions that ended in failure.

As you think about this concept, listen as Tony and Dalio discuss the typical three states of life that every human goes through: when you depend on others, when others depend on you and, finally, when you find joy in helping others succeed. Dalio understands that the secret of living is giving.

Ray Dalio Interview Show Notes – Part 1

[00:08] Introduction
[02:50] Tony introduces Ray Dalio
[05:30] Ray’s upbringing and early life
[06:00] The first stock he bought
[07:00] Getting hooked on the market
[07:30] Why he wants to share his secrets now
[08:15] The three stages of life
[08:45] Finding joy in helping others achieve success
[09:15] Creating principles in life
[09:45] Why his new book is a recipe book
[10:45] The two things you need to be successful
[11:10] You have to stress test your ideas
[11:50] The power of making mistakes
[14:00] Public humiliation in 1982
[15:30] The most painful experience became the most powerful
[15:50] Learning to ask: “How do I know I’m right?”
[16:00] Pain + reflection = progress
[16:30] Creating a meritocracy to draw the best out of everybody
[18:30] How to raise your probability of being right
[18:50] Why we are conditioned to need to be right
[19:30] The neuroscience factor
[19:50] The habitual and environmental factor
[20:20] How to get to the other side
[21:20] Great collective decision-making
[21:50] The 5 things you need to be successful
[21:55] Create audacious goals
[22:15] Why you need problems
[22:25] Diagnose the problems to determine the root causes
[22:50] Determine the design for what you will do about the root causes
[23:00] Decide to work with people who are strong where you are weak
[23:15] Push through to results
[23:20] The loop of success
[24:15] Ray’s new instinctual approach to failure
[24:40] Tony’s ritual after every event
[25:30] The review that changed Ray’s outlook on leadership
[27:30] Creating new policies based on fairness and truth
[28:00] What people are missing about Ray’s culture
[29:30] Creating meaningful work and meaningful relationships
[30:15] The importance of radical honesty
[30:50] Thoughtful disagreement
[32:10] Why it was the relationships that changed Ray’s life
[33:10] Ray’s biggest weakness and how he overcame it
[34:30] The jungle metaphor
[36:00] The dot collector – deciding what to listen to
[40:15] The wanting of meritocratic decision-making
[41:40] How to see bubbles and busts
[42:40] Productivity
[43:00] Where we are in the cycle
[43:40] What the Fed will do
[44:05] We are late in the long-term debt cycle
[44:30] Long-term debt is going to be squeezing us
[45:00] We have 2 economies
[45:30] This year is very similar to 1937
[46:10] The top tenth of the top 1% of wealth = bottom 90% combined
[46:25] How this creates populism
[47:00] The economy for the bottom 60% isn’t growing
[48:20] If you look at averages, the country is in a bind
[49:10] What are the overarching principles that bind us together?
[50:20] Determine the principles that will guide your decision-making
[50:50] What will happen to the economy when technology disrupts industries
[52:30] Technologies can now surpass the capacity of people
[53:00] 40% of jobs will be replaced by technology
[54:00] People must learn how to write algorithms
[55:00] How to redistribute wealth
[56:20] The problem with many programs and policies
[58:00] Ray’s advice for anyone trying to get to the next level
[59:50] Why meditation has become so important to Ray
[1:02:10] Reduce risk without reducing returns
[1:04:00] The market is a zero sum game
[1:05:50] The risk of ruin
[1:06:30] Ray’s most important message for you

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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