I became a fan of Ray Dalio after reading his book, The Big Debt Crisis and his article series on LinkedIn called The Changing World Order. I was really impressed by his knowledge. Then I picked up another popular book written by him called Principles. It is a long book. I brought both the Kindle Version and Audible Book Version. I usually listen to the book when I am on Subway. If I found something interesting, I will reference the Kindle Book later.

Chapter 4 is particularly interesting. The author talks about how our brain evolves from the bottom up. The bottom and oldest parts keep us alive. It controls heartbeat, breathing and the nervous system. The next layers control limb movements, emotional responses, etc. And the newest layer, the neocortex, is where learning, planning, and imagination happens. The author realised that there are large parts of our brains that don’t do what is logical and battling the subconscious mind using the conscious mind is counterproductive since it is just more natural for us to act subconsciously. The author also pointed out the power of habits. It is the most powerful tool to train the subconscious mind. It is not necessary that the upper-level you needed to fight with the lower-level you. It is more effective to train the subconscious mind.

The author also observed that our differences weren’t a product of poor communication; it was the other way around. Our different ways of thinking led to our poor communications. Therefore, it is important to understand how people are different. In Bridgewater, they use psychological tests to evaluate candidates and put people into teams, and the author shares his thoughts on that.

  • Introversion V.S. Extroversion
    • Extroversion: like to talk out ideas
    • Introversion: prefer to think privately and share only they’ve worked things out on their own
  • Intuiting V.S. Sensing
    • Intuiting: see the forests/ big pictures
    • Sensing: see the trees/ details
  • Thinking V.S. Feeling
    • Thinking: consider facts and logical analysis
    • Feeling: Focus on harmony between people
  • Planning V.S. Perceiving
    • Planning: focus on a plan and stick with it
    • Perceiving: focus on what’s happening around them and adapt to it
  • Creators V.S. Refiners V.S. Advancers V.S. Executors V.S. Flexors
    • Creators: prefer unstructured and abstract activities and thrive on innovation and unconventional practices.
    • Advancers: They relish feelings and relationships and manage the human factors.
    • Refiners: challenge ideas. They analyze and refine things
    • Executors: they ensure that important activities are carried out and goals accomplished
    • Flexors: a combination of all. They can adapt their styles.
  • Focusing on Tasks V.S. Focusing on Goals

I think we can use the above attributes to understand a person, both ourselves and others more systematically, and put people in the right place to do what they do best for a better outcome as a whole/ group.

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