The founder of the world's largest hedge fund says there are 2 attributes that are most important to success

Larry Busacca/ Getty Images for The New York Times.Ray Dalio
  • Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, shared on LinkedIn what he believes are the two most important characteristics for success.
  • The first is curiosity, which Dalio says can be nurtured by always asking “why”-based questions.
  • The second is character. Dalio defines that as being able to learn from your mistakes and accept setbacks as natural.

Ray Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates when he was 26 years old. Now, 43 years later, it’s the world’s largest hedge fund.

The billionaire investor is known most for his perspectives on the economy, but he’s also well-regarded for his management philosophy and the idea of “radical transparency.” He shared many of those ideas in his 2017 book, “Principles: Life and Work,” and also shares ideas on his LinkedIn page.

On LinkedIn, Dalio was recently asked what he thought were the two most important habits to build. Rather than insisting on an early bedtime or giving up carbs, he shared two characteristics he viewed as critical to success: curiosity and character.

Of course, it’s not quite clear how to build either of those traits into a habit.

“I’m not sure how to best build curiosity in people, but I’d say the habit of asking a lot of questions like ‘why’ in order to make sense of things is good,” Dalio wrote on LinkedIn.

When it comes to building character, Dalio had some insight into coping with the pain of failure, writing:

“As for character, the most important habit is to go to the pain because it will strengthen you which will give you the power you need to be successful. Pain + Reflection = Progress. With practice the pain won’t be as painful and you will begin to see the pleasures of the successes so that going to the pain will make you feel good rather than bad.”

Dalio has spoken before on the importance of remembering one’s mistakes. In an interview with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget last year, he said mistakes were important for growth – so long as you learn from them.

“Successes mean you do the same thing over again, and OK, that’s fine, but mistakes that are painful stick,” Dalio said. “When I look back on my career, I think that the mistakes were the best thing that happened to me.”

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