— Robert Greene
— From 25iq.com
I want an idea meritocracy. I want independent thinkers who are going to disagree. The most important thing I want is meaningful work and meaningful relationships and the way to get that is through radical transparency.”
“Meaningful work is being on a mission that you’re excited about and that you can get your head into. And in meaningful relationships you can be totally transparent with each other, letting each other know what your weaknesses are.”
Dalio’s approach is quite similar to Charlie Munger’s approach: “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.”
Dalio and Munger share other approaches to decision-making. For example, Munger, who describes his process as follows: “I use a kind of two-track analysis. First, what are the factors that really govern the interests involved, rationally considered? The first track is rationality-the way you’d work out a bridge problem: by evaluating the real interests, the real probabilities and so forth. Second, [I work to eliminate] influences where the brain at a subconscious level is automatically doing these things-which by and large are useful, but which often malfunctions.” Munger and Buffett also have a third step in their decision-making process that is similar to Dalio: expose their ideas to the best minds they can find. In Buffett’s case that mind is almost always Charlie Munger. Buffett calls Munger the “Abominable No Man.” Buffett exposing an investing hypothesis to Munger is like tempering steel if an investing hypothesis doesn’t break after being exposed to Munger it is more likelky to be sound.
To review what I have said in this post so far, the decision making process that Dalio, Buffett and Munger use is:
(1) make the most rational decisions you can;
(2) look for psychological bias that may have interfered with making a rational decision; and
(3) expose your hypothesis to very smart people who have a thoughtful contrary view and deeply understand their position.
On this last point Daniel Kahneman believes: “To better avoid errors, you should talk to people who disagree with you and you should talk to people who are not in the same emotional situation you are.”
Alex Green From Beyond Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life (p. 13)
Without self-expression, life lacks spontaneity and joy. Without service to others, it lacks meaning and purpose . . . Conceiving of ourselves as artists in whatever work we do gives us a metaphor for a life of integrity, service, enjoyment, and excellence . . . I know of no better nutshell statement of the path to finding one’s true calling in life than the simple formula given by Aristotle: Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation. These two, your talents and the needs of the world, are the great wake-up calls to your true vocation in life. To ignore either is, in some sense, to lose your soul.
Work is the natural outlet for our energy and enthusiasm. What could be more enjoyable than to love what you do and feel that it matters? After all, the highest reward for your work is not what you get, but what you become.”
— From James Montier in ‘Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast‘
At times the most valuable information can be found in our differences, and not in the areas in which we all agree. As the late Richard Russell opined, “If everyone is thinking the same, then no one is thinking.” Or, as Alfred P. Sloan put it, “If we are all in agreement on the decision – then I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.” Indeed, one of my jobs internally is to ask difficult questions and take the other side of debates when I feel so inclined: a contrarian amongst contrarians. It turns out that I’ve pretty much been in training to be a stubborn, difficult pain in the arse my whole life!
According to more than 40 Gallup studies, three-quarters of us are disengaged from our jobs. And more than 50% of employees are currently searching for new employment opportunities.
It’s odd that we spend most of our waking hours at work – in occupations often chosen by our younger selves – and yet seldom ask ourselves how we got there or what our occupations really mean.
When we meet someone new, for instance, the question we most frequently ask – after discerning where they’re from and whether we have any common acquaintances – is what he or she does. Our work, to a great extent, defines us.
It wasn’t always this way. Three hundred years ago, Voltaire argued that work exists to save us from three great evils: boredom, poverty and vice. But, as a society, we have since put our belief in two great ideas: romantic love and meaningful work.
Historically, our faith in these grew up together. We started to think that we should marry for love and not necessity at roughly the same time we started to believe that we should work not only for money but for self-fulfillment.
These are two beautiful ideals, but rarely does either go long without hitting a rough patch.
When we are without work – as tens of millions of Americans are today – we lose more than income; we are cut off from an identity. We can’t explain any more what we do – and hence who we are.”