Ray Dalio is one of the most successful investors on Wall Street and founder of Bridgewater Associates, which is one of the largest and most unconventional hedge funds in the world. His firm embraces complete transparency and makes decisions purely on meritocracy. As a result, he and his firm are much more self-reflective than traditional fund managers, which is probably why he has been so successful.
So what can we learn from Dalio about being successful and reaching goals? In a recent episode of the Tim Ferriss Show, Dalio actually shared what he believes are the are three factors that make a successful life: setting audacious goals, learning from mistakes, and pressing on with determination.
Setting Audacious Goals
If you don’t want to achieve anything audacious, then you won’t. That doesn’t mean that your goals should be absurd—you probably never plan on going to Mars, but Elon Musk does. Absurd for you, audacious for him. However, you may plan to pay off your mortgage in five years, even though you’re on year two of a thirty-year note. That’s audacious, not absurd, and you won’t achieve it unless you try.
Learning from Mistakes
Dalio contrasts the audacious goals with how to deal with inevitable problems along the way. He says, “You have to deal with those problems and that reality realistically, learning from mistakes.” In other words, you can’t just wish your way toward goals. You will face obstacles, but as you do, create practical solutions. And when you still fail, learn from your mistakes. Either way, you’re improving.
Press on with Determination
You never hear anyone talk about how much fun it is to set a goal and fail—it’s not. Failing is painful and in many cases painful enough to keep people from trying again. But if you learn from your mistakes, it’s still a valuable experience. You just have to have the determination and will to try again, applying what you have learned to your next attempt. With each one, you will either get closer to your goal or learn a lesson that will get you closer the next time.
It’s a tough process, but as Dalio says, “You’re going to get better all the time. You can’t help but get better. And you do that a long enough amount of time and you’re going to far exceed your dreams.”
Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.