The Life Principles Part 1 (Book Notes)

based on the work of Ray Dalio

  1. Embrace Reality and Deal with it
    1. ) Be a hyper-realist
      1. (a) Dreams + Reality + Determination = A successful life.
    2. )Truth – or, more precisely, and accurate understanding of reality – is the essential foundation for any good outcome.
    3. ) Be Radically open-minded & radically transparent.
      1. (a) Radical open-mindedness and radical transparency are invaluable for rapid learning and effective change. – Learning is the product of continuous improvement based on real-time feedback loop in which we make decisions, see their outcomes, and improve your understanding of reality as a result. Put yourself out there and open for radical transparency.
      2. (b) Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way. – you must be willing to do things in the unique ways you think are best and open-minded-ly reflect on feedback that comes your way.
      3. (c) Embracing radical truth and radical transparency will bring more meaningful work and more meaningful relationships.- Typically it takes about 18 months to change most habits.
    4. Look to nature to learn how reality works – we are incapable of designing and building a mosquito, let alone all the species and most of the other things in the universe. So, I start from the premise that nature is smarter than I am and try to let nature teach me how reality works.
      1. (a) Don’t get hung up on your views of how things ‘should’ be because you will miss out on learning how they really are. – It’s important not to let our biases stand in the way of our objectivity. To get good results, we need to be analytical rather than emotional. – Nature optimizes for the whole, not for the individual, but most people judge good and bad based only on how it affects them. What i had seen was the process of nature at work, which is much more effective at furthering the improvement of the whole than any process man has ever invented.
      2. (b) To be ‘good’ something must operate consistently with the laws of reality and contribute to the evolution of the whole, that is what most rewarded.
      3. (c) Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe; it is the only thing that is permanent and it drives everything. – evolution is good because it is the process of adaptation that generally moves things toward improvement.
      4. (d) Evolve or Die – the key is to fail, learn and improve quickly.
    5. Evolving is Life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward.
      1. (a) The individual’s incentive must be aligned with the group’s goals.
      2. (b) Reality is optimizing for the whole – not for you. Contribute to the whole and you will likely be rewarded.
      3. (c) Adaptation through rapid trial and error is invaluable.
      4. (d) Realize that you are simultaneously everything and nothing – and decide what you want to be. – it is great paradox that individually we are simultaneously everything and nothing. Through our eyes , we are everything, but through the universe perspective we are nothing.
      5. (e) What you will be will depend on the perspective you have. – where you go in life will depend on how you see things and who and what you feel connected to.
    6. Understand nature’s practical lessons
      1. (a) Maximize your evolution – the consistent drive toward learning and improvement makes getting better innately enjoyable and getting better fast exhilarating. – Materialistic things are just bait.
      2. (b) Remember “no pain, no gain” – the stuff we chasing after won’t maintain our happiness.
      3. (c) It is fundamental law of nature that in order to gain strength one has to push one’s limits, which is painful. – As Carl Jung put it, “Man needs difficulties. They are necessary for health.”
    7. Pain + Reflection = Progress – your challenges will test and strengthen you. If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, your’re not maximizing your potential.
      1. (a) Go to the pain rather than avoid it. – growth and personal improvement is rarely fun, it usually a painstaking experience.
      2. Embrace tough love
    8. Weight second – and third-order consequences. – usually first-order consequences often have the opposite desirabilities from the second consequences resulting in big mistakes in decision making.
    9. Own your outcome – take responsibilities for the results of your decision making. Whatever circumstances life brings you, you will be more likely to succeed and find happiness if you take responsibilities for making your decision well instead of complaining about having things being beyond control.
    10. Look at the machine from the higher level (Bird-eye view)
      1. (a) Think of yourself as a machine operating within a machine and know that you have the ability to go alter your machines to produce better outcomes.
      2. (b) By comparing your outcomes with your goals, you can determine how to modify your machine.
      3. (c) Distinguish between you as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with your machine.
      4. (d) The Biggest Mistake most people make is to not see themselves and others objectively, which leads them to bump into their own and others’ weaknesses again and again.
      5. (e) Successful people are those who can go above themselves to see things objectively and manage those things to shape change.
      6. (f) Asking others who are strong in areas where you are weak to help you is a great skill that you should develop no matter what, as it will help you develop guardrails that will prevent you from doing what you should’t be doing. – something that everyone including myself need to develop.
      7. (g) Because it is difficult to see oneself objectively, you need to rely on the input of others and the whole body of evidence.
      8. (h) If you are open-minded enough and determined, you can get virtually anything you want.

How to confront your own weakness

Most people, including myself at times lack the courage to confront my (their) weakness and make hard choices to confront my own weakness.

Ultimately, it comes down to the following 5 decision:

  1. Don’t confuse what you wish were true with what is really true
  2. Don’t worry about looking good – worry instead about achieving your goals
  3. Don’t overweight first-order consequences relative to second- and third- order consequences
  4. Don’t let pain stand in the way of progress
  5. Don’t blame bad outcomes on anyone but yourself. Take 100% responsibility for your own life.

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Choices you have when encountering your weakness

When encountering your weakness you have 4 choices:

  1. Denial : You can deny them (which is what most people do)
  2. You can accept them and work at them in order to try to convert them into strengths ( which might or might not work depending on your ability to change).
  3. You can accept your weakness and find ways around them
  4. Or, change what you are going after.

Your choice will be critically important to the direction of your life.

Choose wisely.

Memorable Quotes form “The Principles”

Here is memorable quotes from ‘The Principles” by Ray Dalio from the chapter in his Life Principles.

  1. You better make sense of what happened to other people in other times and other places because if you don’t you won’t know if these things can happen to you and, if they do, you won’t know how to deal with them”.
  2. Though most everything seemed inevitable and logical in retrospect, nothing was nearly as clear in real time.
  3. I also punched my boss in the face. Not surprisingly, I was fired.
  4. I valued money less – as long as I had enough to take care of my basic needs.
  5. Meaningful work and meaningful relationship were and still are my primary goals and everything I did was for them. Making money was an incidental consequence of that.
  6. I saw that I had been an arrogant jerk who was totally confident in a totally incorrect view.
  7. I believe one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your decision making is to think through your principles for making decision, write them out in both words and computer algorithms, back-test them if possible, and use them on a real-time basis to run in parallel with your brain’s decision making.
  8. I believe that all organizations basically have two types of people: those who work to be a part of a mission, and those who work for a paycheck. I wanted to surround myself with people who needed what I needed, which was to make sense of things for myself. I spoke frankly, and I expected those around me to speak frankly. I fought for what I thought was the best, and I wanted them to do so as well. When I thought someone did something stupid, I said so and I expected them to tell me when I did something stupid. Each of us would be better for it. To me, that was what strong and productive relationships looked like. Operating any other way would be unproductive and unethical.
  9. To have real idea meritocracy, there must be transparency so that people can see things for themselves.
  10. It seems to me that life consists of three phases. In the first, we are dependent on others and we learn. In the second, others depend on us and we work. And in the third and last, when others no longer depend on us and we no longer have to work, we are free to savor life.
  11. A ‘hero’ isn’t a perfect person who always gets things right. Far from it. A hero is someone who ‘found or achieved or [did] something beyond the normal range of achievement,’ and who ‘has given his life to something bigger than himself or other than himself.’


Hadiah kerana Jawatan

Di petik dari FB Dr MAZA


Nabi bersabda kepada seorang gabenornya yang telah ditugaskan mengutip zakat kabilah Azad, maka apabila ia selesai kerjanya dan kembali berjumpa Nabi, lalu ia menyimpan sebahagian dari wang yang dikutip sambil berkata :
فيأتي فيقولُ : هذا مالُكم وهذا هديةٌ أُهدِيَتْ لي، أفلا جلَس في بيتِ أبيه وأمِّه حتى تأتيَه هديتُه،
“ini untukmu (bahagian untuk Islam) dan ini untukku yang diberikan sebagai hadiah (oleh orang ramai), maka jatuh murka Baginda sambil bersabda :” Ketahuilah, PERGILAH KAMU DUDUK DI RUMAH BAPA ATAU IBUMU (tanpa jawatan), sehingga datang kepadamu hadiahmu, jika kamu benar-benar betul (layak mendapat hadiah)” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim )

Setelah Baginda Nabi saw menegur tindakan salah seorang sahabat yang mengambil UPAH DAN HADIAH TAMBAHAN atas kerjanya mengutip zakat dan jizyah yang telah diberi gaji, Baginda terus memberi suatu AMARAN :-

واللهِ لا يأخُذُ أحدٌ منكم شيئًا بغيرِ حقِّه إلا لَقيَ اللهَ يحمِلُه يومَ القيامةِ، فلَأعرِفَنَّ أحدًا منكم لَقيَ اللهَ يحمِلُ بعيرًا له رُغاءٌ، أو بقرةً لها خُوارٌ، أو شاةً تَيْعَرَ ) . ثم رفَع يدَه حتى رُئِيَ بَياضَ إِبْطِه، يقولُ : ( اللهم هل بلَّغتُ ) . بَصْرَ عيني وسَمْعَ أُذُني
Demi Allah, tidaklah salah seorang diantara kalian mengambil sesuatu yang bukan haknya, selain ia menjumpai Allah pada hari kiamat dengan memikul hak itu (di atas bahu dan tegkuknya – menurut riwayat lain), aku tahu salah seorang diantara kalian menjumpai Allah dengan memikul unta yang mendengus, atau lembu yang menguak, atau kambing yang mengembik.” Kemudian beliau mengangkat tangannya hingga terlihat putih bawah lengannya seraya mengatakan: “Ya Allah, bukankah AKU TELAH MENYAMPAIKAN APA YANG KULIHAT dengan mataku dan kudengar dengan dua telingaku? (Hadis Sahih : Al-Bukhari)

Maka, saya dengan ini MENYAMPAIKAN AMANAT baginda Nabi ini kepada semua pembaca, tidak kira apa jua pangkat, kuasa, gelaran dan sebagainya. Agar berHATI-HATI dengan sebarang bentuk HADIAH, SEDEQAH, DERMA sekiranya sedang memegang sesuatu jawatan, khususnya LEBIH KUASA, lebih besar lagi UJIANNYA.

Sheikh Dr Musa Shahin Lashin mengulas:- Setelah tahqiq, kita dapati sesungguhnya HADIAH UNTUK PENJAWAT JAWATAN menyerupai rasuah yang diharamkan, rasuah itu adalah setiap harta yang diberikan bagi ‘membeli’ dari pemilik pangkat bantuan ke atas sesuatu secara tidak normal dan salah . …Namun hadiah yang diberi setelah PENCENNYA PENJAWAT DARI JAWATANNYA, maka itu adalah tidak mengapa. (Fath al-Mun’im Syarah Sahih Muslim)

Imam al-Nawawi dan Ibn Qudamah menjelaskan: “Jika ditawarkan, tolaklah, jika telah menerimanya & sukar dipulang semula, serahkan kepada baitul mal untuk digunakan untuk kemaslahatan umat Islam”


Trust – A quick guide on how to built it


At work, managers build trust by demonstrating they have:

  • Character: The ability to make moral decisions, play fair, and do the right thing even when it’s tough
  • Competence: The ability to effectively do the job, understand others’ roles, make decisions, and navigate challenges

To be an effective coach, your employees need to trust you. Make sure you demonstrate character and competence.

Coaching VS Mentoring

People often use the words “coach” and “mentor” interchangeably, but the two roles are quite different.


  • Coaching provides immediate insight and feedback on performance. The employee’s manager usually leads the process.
  • Mentoring emphasizes long-term career development through advice, networking, and support. A mentor may be someone several levels higher in the organization or an experienced manager from another department. The employee usually takes the initiative.