Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio sat down with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget to discuss his book “Principles: Life and Work.” Here Dalio explains the importance of learning from his mistakes.
“Principles: Life and Work” is the first of two planned books, and includes a short autobiography along with an expanded version of the “Principles” that all Bridgewater employees read when joining the company. Following is a transcript of the video.
Henry Blodget: And one of the other principles that you stress is this idea that you should teach your team to fish rather than giving them fish, but you gotta give ’em room to make mistakes. This is something that Jeff Bezos and many other incredibly innovate entrepreneurs have stressed again and again. We have to get over the fear of mistakes. This seems to be a key part.
Dalio: Well, you learn from mistakes and learn from pain. Like I say, you can scratch the car, but you can’t total the car. OK. Mistakes is one of the best sources of learning, right. Successes mean you do the same thing over again, and ok, that’s fine, but mistakes that are painful stick. When I look back on my career, I think that the mistakes were the best thing that happened to me.
I remember my mistakes better than I remember my successes. Somehow there must be more of the successes to get me where I am, but I remember all the mistakes, and I remember the lessons. So that’s what I mean by pain plus reflection equals progress. So yeah, it’s ok for you to make mistakes. It’s not ok for you to not learn from those mistakes. That’s a principle in there, right. And so you have a culture that operates this way.
If you don’t have a culture that operates this way, it’s not gonna be self-reinforcing. And so the reason I’m talking about these types of principles rather than my economic and investment principles, which’ll come out in the next book is because these are the most fundamental principles, which are the basis of success. And they’re not just in investment, investment firms principles. It’s not just a hedge funds principles. It’s like life principles and how we’re gonna deal effectively with each other.
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