These pandemic-wracked days and months are not for frivolity. College is, according to Ray Dalio. Unfortunately, the “partying like crazy” and friendship- and experience-making parts of college are currently as off-limits as Ray Dalio in his gilded survival bunker of contemplation.
But Dalio’s physical inaccessibility does not mean his Principles are out of bounds. Indeed, they are available to anyone with a Kindle and $14.99 (the hardcover is currently, and unsurprisingly, out of stock on Amazon), or indeed access to Dalio’s Twitter account, where nuggets of principled wisdom are parceled out. And these are times in desperate need of Principles, especially for those poor sods currently being denied the things that a college education is for, and who won’t be getting a proper graduation ceremony. And so Dalio has taken it upon himself to deliver a commencement address in ten daily aphorisms to everyone out there about to emerge from their Zoom classrooms into the world, a world that looks scary and horrible now but which Dalio is certain will prove bright and pregnant with possibilities.
Keep tuning in ‘til graduation day, and be sure to wear a gown and toss your cap when the 10th tweet is revealed. Or, as Dalio might suggest, say “screw it” and just read this quasi-commencement address he’s already given.
“For most people, you go to school, they tell you what class to go to, what classes to take. This goes on all the way through university. ‘Do this, do this, do this…’ and then you go into the class and they say, ‘Learn this,’ and, ‘This is the information,’ and it’s a largely memory-based and instructional-based process,” Dalio told the Academy of Achievement.
But wildly successful people who “shape” the world outside of school have “a strong, strong desire to understand and make sense of reality,” he said. “So they’re all very independent-thinking and, and rebellious. They don’t mind saying, ‘Screw you. This is what makes sense and I’ve got to go down that path….’”
“They’re comfortable with ambiguity. They love ambiguity. Some people don’t like ambiguity. Most people, they say, ‘I’m nervous about ambiguity.’ They love to go in the space of what’s ambiguous, because that’s where the discovery is….”
“What’s the risk of failure? What, you’ll be embarrassed? ... How do you distinguish failure from learning? ... If it’s part of a ‘You’re failing and then you learn,’ then that learning is part of the moving forward. So that is what the process is like. Fail, learn, move forward,” Dalio told the Academy of Achievement.