(How to deal with the unknown, make better decisions and live a great life.)
“Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle…”
We’ll get back to Ray Dalio’s question shortly.
Who’s Ray Dalio?
He’s an American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager and philanthropist, one of the world’s 100 most influential (Time) and 100 wealthiest (Forbes), founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds and the 5th most important company in the U.S. (Forbes).
The man has to know something, right?
Yet he introduces his seminal book, Principles, as follows:
Before I begin telling you what I think, I want to establish that I’m a “dumb shit” who doesn’t know much in relation to what I need to know. Whatever success I’ve had in my life has had more to do with my knowing how to deal with my not knowing than anything I know.
Reading this, I was transported back to the wondrous and horrific (in equal measure) time of my Ph.D. research… Studious and perfectionistic to a flaw, I researched more extensively than most. I loved the way I was expanding my knowledge, making brain-tingling connections and sensational discoveries!
But the more I got to know, the more I realised how much more there was to know.
Thick tomes and piles of research papers stretched out to infinity…
Life was too short for me to learn everything. Incomplete knowledge was my damnation.
Thankfully, my supervisor at the time pulled me out of my misery.
He pointed out that the best researcher is not the one who has all the information, but the one who knows where to find the information that is needed.
Back to Dalio’s question:
Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.
Just this week, I worked with two different clients, facing essentially the same dilemma.
They have exciting new projects in mind…
Very enticing, holding much promise, but still little more than glorious ideas.
Pursuing these projects would mean risking cushy jobs and easy lifestyles.
Both people sense they could know success beyond their wildest dreams, if they take the leap… but at what risk?
Dalio found a way to deal with risk and the unknown.
His secret weapon?
Bullet-proof principles for life and work.
(Plus meditation, of course. Transcendental, to be precise.)
Not a bad combo, if you ask me.
And, if you ACTUALLY ask me, I’ll top principles and meditation with stellar intuition.
It’s like being the ultimate researcher.
Able to access the information that is needed wherever it may be.
But what about you and the “dangerous jungle”?
How do you decide?
Which life do you choose?