How Humility Makes Ray Dalio Money

Ray Dalio is a very wealthy man. Self made wealth. He is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.

While clearly a talented business developer and investor, there is another aspect that adds to his success.

He does not have a “Master of the Universe” complex.

An adjunct to quality education

Have you noticed how people are taught to be right? Does that make sense to you?

Dalio seems to think that being right is the ideal, but noticing what goes wrong is more suitable for understanding how to improve.

From a recent twitter post.

Everyone has weaknesses and they are generally revealed in the patterns of mistakes they make. The fastest path to success starts with knowing what your weaknesses are and staring hard at them. Start by writing down your mistakes and connecting the dots between them.

Then write down your “one big challenge,” the weakness that stands the most in the way of your getting what you want. Everyone has at least one big challenge. You may in fact have several, but don’t go beyond your “big three

The first step to tackling these impediments is getting them out into the open.”

Another look at education

Education should derive its strength from improvement not just from acquiring new information.

For example, If you have an arithmetic test in Grade 1 and you get 45 out of 50. Is that good? Probably. Does it teach anything? Not really. Suppose you analyzed the five wrong answers and discovered they all related to a single mistake. Now the test has value to the student

Life is like that too. You learn more from mistakes than anything else in your life.

“So take it from me you’ll learn more from your accidents
Than anything that you could ever learn at school”

You’re Only Human (Second Wind) by Billy Joel

Mistake analysis requires humility. Unskilled people avoid noticing mistakes.

An approach

Suppose people were taught to look for mistakes and given information about how to deal with them. That would make mistakes less threatening.

Set Godin offers ideas in an article. A Plan For Wrong.

It’s likely that you’re going to make an error. That you will make choices based on things you don’t know, perhaps should have known. Things will go wrong.

And then what?

A question he raised makes the point obvious. In Driver’s Ed should they teach what to do if you get a ticket or have a fender-bender? Knowing what to do about mistakes is an important skill.

We should emphasize it.

The takeaway

Mistake analysis should be a field of study

Humility comes before the decision. “What I think might be wrong and the market helps me understand that.” Ray Dalio

Mistakes are your friend. Be nice to them.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com

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