The More You Play, The Better You Get

Throughout his bestselling book, Principles, Ray Dalio, the founder of the largest hedge fund in the world, sounds very much like a Stoic without knowingly stating it. As he writes in one passage, he learned to see pain as a teacher—it almost became a game to him to figure out the hidden lessons in each painful experience:

“I began to experience painful moments in a radically different way. Instead of feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, I saw pain as nature’s reminder that there is something important for me to learn. Encountering pains and figuring out the lessons they were trying to give me became sort of a game to me. The more I played it, the better I got at it, the less painful those situations became, and the more rewarding the process of reflecting, developing principles, and then getting rewards for using those principles became. I learned to love my struggles, which I suppose is a healthy perspective to have…”

This is why Stoicism is adopted by men and women of action, by the doers and the professionals. The philosophy puts in words what they have instinctively come to understand. And here Ray Dalio is offering one of Stoicism’s timeless lessons: to love everything that happens. To trust that it is for the best, to learn from it, to be better for it.

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