What is Principles In Action?
- Principles in Action is a multimedia experience based on Ray Dalio’s best-selling book Principles: Life & Work and includes;
- The complete book text with additional images, media, and dynamic content that will grow over time
- Interactive case studies where you can see the principles in action at his company Bridgewater Associates,
- Tools that allow you to create your own principles
- A digital “coach” that helps you learn how to apply principles to your own life
- ...and more. Over time, app updates will introduce new features including courses and tools as well as a part of the app that will help you to develop your own principles. You’ll also have a chance to take a one-of-a-kind personality assessment that, combined with your answers to questions in the courses, will give you a detailed picture of what you’re like along with tailored tips to help you achieve your goals in light of your strengths and weaknesses.
How did the Principles in Action application come to be?
- In Ray’s own words, “Principles are like recipes for getting whatever you want out of life. All successful people operate by principles that make them successful. Above all else, I’d like you to have your own principles that work well for you. I’d also like to pass along the principles that worked well for me which I laid out in my book Principles. In thinking about what the best format would be it occurred to me that the best way to deliver a book in a multimedia era is to do it with multimedia in an app. I’m not only going to share the full text of the book, I’m also going to take you into real life interactive case studies, most of which happened in my company Bridgewater. That way you can experience and reflect on the principles in action.”
What is the benefit of having my own Principles?
- Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behavior that get you what you want out of life. They can be applied again and again in similar situations to help you achieve your goals.
- Each day, each of us is faced with a blizzard of situations we must respond to. Without principles, we would be forced to react to all the things life throws at us individually, as if we were experiencing each of them for the first time. If we instead classify these situations into types and have good principles for dealing with them, we will make better decisions more quickly and have better lives as a result. Having a good set of principles is like having a good collection of recipes for success.
- While Ray has shared principles he’s found helpful and believes are a foundation for his and Bridgewater’s success, the most important thing is for you to reflect for yourself on what you want out of life and find principles that work well for you to help you get it.
How do I think about creating my own principles?
- As Ray wrote in Principles, “experience taught me how invaluable it is to reflect on and write down my decision-making criteria whenever I made a decision, so I got in the habit of doing that. With time, my collection of principles became like a collection of recipes for decision making. By sharing them with the people at my company, Bridgewater Associates, and inviting them to help me test my principles in action, I continually refined and evolved them.” While most people don’t write down their decision-making criteria, it’s largely not because it’s necessarily difficult, but simply that they aren’t in the habit of pausing any time they make important decisions and writing out their reasoning. If you do that regularly, over time you’ll build a library of principles that you can stress test and share with others for feedback.
- Here’s a quick guide to doing this:
- Think about an important, specific decision that you made – e.g. deciding to hire Sally, saving for a new car, deciding to move to Boston.
- Now think about it as a type without it’s specifics – e.g. deciding to hire “a person” rather than sally, or saving for “something big” rather than “a new car”
- Write down that general statement of the situation
- Then write down the criteria you used to make that decision. In other words, write down your reasoning behind why you made that decision in the way you did.
- Now try to write it as a principle, with a headline statement that synthesizes your approach and some of the reasoning/explanation behind that principle if applicable
- Can you think of someone who might be able to give you feedback on your principle? Someone who might be more believable than you in the area it concerns? If you don’t know of someone more believable, try having some of your peers stress test your thinking.
What are some best practices when engaging with the interactive case studies within PIA?
- Think of yourself as a participant or observer of these real-life situations. Reflect honestly about how you would operate if you were in the shoes of those you see within the case studies. What principles would be informing your decision-making on the best course of action? Experience and reflect on the principles in action. Be aware of any emotions that may come up whether that be fear, excitement, or something else and use those to reflect as well. Are you having a reaction to something that may be uncomfortable - like getting critical feedback about your weaknesses - but actually is productive and healthy in the long term? Use those experiences to reflect on what your own principles would be for being most effective.
When should I go to Coach versus the Principles?
- The Coach is just another way of engaging with the Principles, so you should consider the Coach as an option anytime you are using the Principles. The Coach does a particularly good job at taking different practical scenarios, or ‘situations’ you are likely to face and connecting them with the best Principles for handling it. So, if you are facing a particular situation going to the Coach might be easier then searching through 300+ Principles in the book to try to make those connections yourself.