“My point is that people who create great things aren’t idle dreamers: They are totally grounded in reality. Being hyperrealistic will help you choose your dreams wisely and then achieve them. … People who achieve success and drive progress deeply understand the cause-effect relationships that govern reality and have principles for using them to get what they want. The converse is also true: Idealists who are not well grounded in reality create problems, not progress. What does a successful life look like? We all have our own deep-seated needs, so we each have to decide for ourselves what success is. I don’t care whether you want to be a master of the universe, a couch potato, or anything else – I really don’t. Some people want to change the world and others want to operate in simple harmony with it and savor life. Neither is better. Each of us needs to decide what we value most and choose the paths we take to achieve it. … The question isn’t just how much of each to go after, but how hard to work to get as much as possible. I wanted crazy amounts of each, was thrilled to work hard to get as much of them as possible, and found that they could largely be one and the same and mutually reinforcing. Over time I learned that getting more out of life wasn’t just a matter of working harder at it. It was much more a matter of working effectively, because working effectively could increase my capacity by hundreds of times.” – a. Dream + Reality + Determination = Successful Life, 1.1 Be a Hyperrealist, Chapter 1. Embrace Reality and Deal with It, Part II. Life Principles, PRINCIPLES (Ray Dalio 2017), p134-5
< Contents >
- Humility, Humility, and Humility!
- We Are Not What Our Mind Dictates Us To Be
- Learning How to Use Our Mind Effectively Leads to Personal Power!
- Closing: Back to Prologue – Working On Inner World Is the Starting Point!
I once had a brief period in my life in which my mind was run by incessant and compulsive thoughts and inner-dialogues. I couldn’t really stop noises from my head.
I believe I am not the only one who goes through this kind of experience and period in life. I don’t know what really triggered me to enter into this negative state but I feel that it was my soul’s yearning to break out and thus reach my true nature in the higher realm.
The Power of Now, that I acquired only a few years later, greatly enlightened me so that I was able to understand what state I was in and the nature of my experience. Through that book, I felt sort of released from the mental state that had been pressing me and felt I was even born again to another person. It was a very special and liberating experience for me. It was the power of that one small book on me.
Dalio’s Principles reminded me of the feeling of enlightenment and freedom that I experienced at that moment. ‘If this is the case for me, can I imagine how other people would feel and inspired?,’ was I pondering.
How far can spirituality lead and affect people? * Most people probably will work on spirituality on personal level. It’s not easy to have a glimpse of a person’s spiritual aspect, for it is a very personal area.
For that reason, I felt fortunate to read a book like Principles from which I was able to learn that behind Dalio’s success today lie not only his great spiritual understanding of our reality but also his fierce application of enduring principles that led tangible accomplishments.
Through this series of Mind and Beyond Mind, I have tried to facilitate or rather, supplement our understanding of Ray Dalio’s Principles with the aid of spiritual messages of Eckhart Tolle, hoping that adding a spiritual dimension may help or accelerate readers’ personal evolution. Then why adding a spiritual dimension when discussing about a business book?
It is said, outward manifestations such as health, wealth, and success are only a reflection of one’s inward state. It always works in one direction: From internal to external. I found the validity of this statement from Dalio as a person and from his principles for his life and business. Hence, the importance of working on our inner world. And this long journey.
What do we learn from Principles in terms of our self-development? A book appeals differently to different people. But personally, I would like to highlight three major points.
1. Humility, Humility, and Humility!
Don’t we all believe that we matter? Hence, the importance of our value, our judgment and every label that we attach ourselves to?
Dalio’s ultimate humility and his uncompromising quest for finding and reaching what is true left me indeed small and humbled. This great man’s inner world filled with spiritual wisdom, insight and truth learned from a higher perspective, taught me why I have to be humble in an absolute sense.
Tolle described about a notion of ‘Die before you die’: People realize what truly matters in life and what is real and true for them only when they feel death approaching, for death is something that strips away of all that’s not themselves. People who encounter this ‘death before death’ moment learn that all that our ego identifies with is not true self.
Then, what is left after the experience of ‘death before death?’ Truth in higher level – humility, compassion and unconditional love.
For Dalio, this certainly happened in the form of a personal crash. How did he rise after hitting the bottom? A person of humility and wisdom who isn’t afraid of loss of ego but is afraid of loss of truth – or of missing what’s important, or missing any chance for growth. A person of humility seeking other independent thinkers’ view to find what is true.
If you are right, how do you know that you are right? Seeing from a higher perspective, we come to learn that nature optimizes the whole not the individual, so our judgment on good and bad (or right and wrong, or like or dislike) based on how it affects us isn’t necessarily good or right in an absolute sense.
As Dalio says, life doesn’t give a damn about what we like. We learn that only our humility provides us with a perspective and courage to connect what we want with what we need to do to get it and to carry it through courageously.
2. We Are Not What Our Mind Dictates Us To Be
This humility also opens an avenue to develop our ability to see things through another’s eyes in times of conflict and to recognize that we may miss out on learning how things really are while being caught up in our own views of how things “should” be.
How do we connect what we want with what we need to do to get it and then find the courage to carry it through in our life?
Rise beyond our closed-mindedness which dictates that only our values, opinions, judgments are or should be right. By being radically open-minded, and by engaging in a thoughtful disagreement, we can find what is true, instead of what we believe should be true, and make a great decision.
This rising beyond requires overcoming our ego that stands in our way to reach what is true. In the perspective of truth, our thoughts – that we are threatened – and emotional pains that accompany them are nothing but our subliminal defense mechanisms and are also transitory.
Great decision makings are realized only when we effectively deal with harmful emotions and solely rely on our higher level consciousness. Our lower level unconscious state need to be illuminated by our higher consciousness.
And this is, according to Dalio, how we achieve what we want out of life and how we become effective. Being caught up in our own individual views of how things should be, and being wasted by our harmful emotions mean we are not effective in matters of life.
3. Learning How to Use Our Mind Effectively Leads to Personal Power!
This practice – rising from our ego and harmful emotions – results in effective use of our mind.
Dalio states that he was greatly benefited from meditation. And regarding this aspect, I have elaborated in other articles of this series about how we can observe our thoughts as well as emotions and ultimately connect to our higher level consciousness – Being.
By entering into no-mind state often (which means by being present in the Now) and by oscillating between mind state and no-mind state, we can reserve our vital energy from being wasted ( i.e. wasted mostly through such patterns as incessant, compulsive thoughts and inner dialogues, according to Tolle). Our restored energy – vitality – will be used when we use our thinking mind in a more clear and focused state. For Dalio, meditation was the way.
Consequently, the greatest benefit is creativity. It’s only when we experience a mental quietude and when we relax our logical thinking mind that we receive creative ideas, visions, or inspirations which are original in nature. Creativity is an essential quality required and sought after in our time. The importance of creativity has been emphasized by Dalio as well. Note Dalio himself is the epitome of creativity, as I highlighted a few times.
It’s worth recalling Dalio’s statement again at this stage: ‘Over time I learned that getting more out of life wasn’t just a matter of working harder at it. It was much more a matter of working effectively.’ I believe the secret to be effective is a matter of effective use of our mind in every sense.
Therefore, the extent of how we can effectively harness our mind for our benefit will decide our degree of personal power we build. Importantly, this is an internal job.
Closing: Back to Prologue – Working On Inner World Is the Starting Point!
Every outward success originates from within. I was deeply touched by what Dalio had gone through, how he ultimately had risen beyond to even a higher level and lastly by how wise he is as a person as well as a business leader.
Working within is the starting point. And this starts from understanding our mind that carries a tremendous potential for our growth, and for our own personal power.
I believe we are not here on earth to simply live and exist. We are insignificant in this vast universe but we all want to matter at the same time as Dalio said. That’s where our thirst for our personal evolution comes in.
Principle is a great book that reminds us of our way of existence. I deeply appreciate him of leaving his legacy in our time. Thanks to his wisdom I was able to contemplate on my existence again and on my potential to raise myself to a higher level.
I strongly recommend reading Principles! I believe hidden gems are waiting for you to be found and inspirations to be received.
As a separate note, for many reasons stated above, I would like to dedicate my long series Mind and Beyond Mind to him. Hope he likes!
* Dalio defines spirituality as ‘the rising above oneself to feel a greater connection to the whole.’ (p142)