Since 2021 is heading to the end, and 2022 is right behind our door, the rush is inevitable. That’s something genuinely natural to aim at finishing before the next countdown starts. But can we finish something if we haven’t yet reflected on what exactly has been happening? At some point in the traditional last-days-of-the-year rush, I noticed the book, which I consider one of the most thought-ordering daily and helpful for strategic planning and attaining goals. That’s Ray Dalio’s “Principles”: the table book of mine and the piece I strongly recommend you to read. 

Me and Ray Dalio

Me and Ray Dalio, TechCrunch Disrupt conference, San Francisco, 2020.

You can find the answers you seek out, you can validate your existing solutions with it, or you can get familiar with the opposite to your opinions. However, hardly ever does the last one happen because this book is mostly about common sense but in rigorous and precise order. Refreshing and focusing are never spare in front of new beginnings, for example, the New Year. While reading this time, I took down the list of the most powerful in my opinion statements. My marketing managers immediately noticed and made me combine them into the article, threatening me with bad luck if I didn’t. I don’t believe in bad luck — neither does Ray Dalio. But I believe in sharing the gems, so let’s look over some most insightful of them.

Ray Dalio, Reality + Dreams + Determination = A Successful Life

Lately, the reality seems like a dream, but in some angles, more like horror. Those who like to feel the ground below their feet are having a tough time — the pandemic has caused many changes and has even braced the rule that the only sure thing is uncertainty. It’s causing a handful of troubles, of course. There are strict rules and regulations, not enough personal connections with anyone except the immediate family, canceled flights and postponed events attendances, and communication errors. But wait. These used to be titled troubles. Haven’t we already fixed them? We indeed have, and in a short time, we have even learned to grow in this new reality, and the Geniusee team proves it with the 130% year-over-year growth within the pandemic period. Why?

“I believe that evolution, which is the natural movement toward better adaptation, is the greatest single force in the universe and that it is good.”— Says Dalio in his “Principles” (here and further, quotes from the book).

We have the default aptitude for adapting. Does it mean to agree on worse and accept dire circumstances as given? For goodness’ sake, no. We constantly learn how to overcome unexpected stoppers to attain our goal. By the way, let’s admit that pandemic-caused troubleshooting is not the only issue left, and those good old ones are still alive and kicking. Financial challenges, technology risks, supply and logistics problems, talent acquisition struggle, societal changes, etc. So providing that hopefully, we have almost evolved over the pandemic (which is one of the most inspiring global trends 2021), talking about difficulties, we can once again agree on the fact that: 

“The most important quality that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is our capacity to learn and adapt to these things.” 

So, here’s the question: what do we decide to be? Successful or not? Whatever success means to you, it takes courage and determination to stick to your choice if you choose the first option. Nonetheless, it’s also in our nature to reject risks that might cause pain. Encountering our barriers hardly ever feels like cuddles. It causes pain, which messages us about the discomfort. Ironically, this brings another message: pushing our limits. Gaining strength for further adaptation and next — evolution, and contributing to evolution is universally rewarded.” Geniusee wouldn’t have made it till now if we had freaked out after the first challenges we faced. Years ago, when starting, we were newbies on the market and only constantly taking small steps we started growing and appeared on the business maps of the USA and Europe. Once we assume that this period of growth is over, we immediately die because every single achievement opens up new scales and opportunities. So, we prefer humble celebrations of our wins to big feasts, as every day we decide to set our bars higher. That’s by some means pragmatic, but we agree that

“The quality of our lives depends on the quality of the decisions we make.”

And this implies every single decision, both operational and strategic. From the bird view, even including personal life and work balance aspect. I have several questions I ask myself sometimes:

  • How much do you care about your health and mental state of mind? That influences your work capacity and potential. 
  • Do you nourish yourself? That impacts your physical shape and brain work. 
  • How do you build relationships with your colleagues? It reflects on the outcomes and the workflow for everyone. 
  • Do you know what your team is up to and how they are working? It makes a difference in the results. 
  • Do you follow the best teamwork practices? That’s how you build the process, and that’s your path from executing tasks to achieving the goal and your common way to distinguish one from another. 
  • Does everyone know and share the values you all have? That’s the matter of organizational culture for your team, and these two are crucial for the company lifecycle. 

There are way more other questions to answer and answers to find in this book, but what I’m leading you to is that:

“To achieve your goals, you have to prioritize, and that includes rejecting good alternatives.”

Some people face trouble focusing. Ray Dalio sets the order of steps to attain success, and they are titled “goals,” “problems,” “diagnosis,” “design,” and “do it.” So apparently, sometimes people struggle on the very first step — while setting goals. Some set too many, unable to choose the primary one because it seems too inaccessible. They spread their power among several focuses and finally  achieve few or none. In the end, they are neither empowered by their achievement nor happy, as they don’t get what they want, but for the alternative, which also seems good and easier. Two conclusions to make: find out what you want and don’t get paralyzed by choice. 

“Recognize your weaknesses and design around them. So you must be honestly self-reflective.” 

I am good at, for example, finances, planning, etc., and can be utterly useless at something else important. Of course, that might deprive me of succeeding, but only if I were alone on the planet. Luckily, I admit my imperfection and can admire others’ talents. Here comes the perfect moment to announce my very favorite principle by Dalio — Radical Openness. It encourages actively seeking our personal unknown in order to learn from an ever-changing environment.” Radical openness also gently pushes us to discover others and their talents and gifts. This is a way to practice humility and eagerness to learn from what the world offers. 

So we never suffer from not knowing something. We compensate for one another’s weaknesses and embrace the strengths, combining them into a great Geniusee team with all the necessary skills to succeed. Do we face problems? Of course.

“Most problems are potential improvements screaming at you.”

Be sure that we know what that quote means. And we are lucky to. We are curious to bring each problem to the surface, identify and learn it. One more essential rule Dalio explains – not to tolerate problems. And even though it’s sometimes exhausting, it works for better. 

“When you think that it’s too hard, remember that in the long run, doing the things that will make you successful is a lot easier than being unsuccessful.”

So lastly, the radical transparency in this Ray Dalio “Principles” review is mostly about being equipped with the will to work hard and play hard. Being honest with yourself and your team, evolving and attaining common goals, which are simultaneously personal for everyone — empowers and gives your company wings to fly. So, read the book and have a safe flight! See you in 2022. I truly hope that the upcoming year will be favorable to all of us and keep Ray’s signing on my book up. 

Signing by Ray Dalio