Seek Truth

Ray Dalio cites this as his most fundamental principle:

“Truth —more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality— is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.”

It’s not hard to understand why. If we fail to recognize reality, we work on the wrong things, spend time with the wrong people, and move in the wrong direction.

If we fail to recognize we aren’t performing at our job and change things, we’ll be fired.

Spend our lives in a relationship with the wrong person, and we’re going to be unhappy. 

As humans, we are built to see only the parts of truth we like. 

We are all full of biases. They cause us to think highly of ourselves, seek evidence that confirms our beliefs and avoid anything painful.

Overcoming these biases is hard work. 

It requires learning to recognize situations where we are vulnerable. Situations where we are subject to social pressure, or experiencing strong emotions.

It requires finding objective ways to evaluate ourselves, or having others do it for us.

Or using tricks like Extreme Ownership to short-circuit some of these natural reactions.

The reward, if we manage to do it, is that we see ourselves and the world more clearly.

Which means we can get closer to getting what we want from the world.

That helps us in all kinds of ways: 

  • Finding the right job
  • Working on the right things
  • Finding the right partner
  • Spending time with the right people
  • Prioritizing the parts of our lives well

The reward for doing these things well is a happy, healthy life.

Which makes truth something worth working for.