I never was a big reader, and I guess I’m still not, as I spend most of my time working, running my business, with my family, working out or sleeping. That’s it.
Most content I consume these days is audio (from 2015 – 2017 I’d watch Netflix while working, but I can’t do that anymore), from my Hip Hop playlists on Apple Music and Spotify, to podcasts.
But occasionally I find a piece of potential reading material (usually one I learn about by listening to podcasts) that really piques my interest.
Earlier this year it was Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. Now, it’s Principles by Ray Dalio.
The world’s number one all time investor and someone who I’m now convinced is one of the 50 smartest people of all time, took the time throughout his life to actually write down all of his thoughts, concepts and rules that he personally operated his life around.
One section I’m in right now caught me as extremely relevant to not only my career, but also to how any human being would make decisions throughout their entire life.
It’s the concept of how to deal with your weaknesses.
First of all, you have to be self-aware enough to be objective about your weaknesses, which is a rare trait to begin with.
Then, in dealing with your weaknesses, Dalio points out that there are four potential paths.
1. Ignore them (denial).
a. He elaborates that this is the route most people take, causing them to become progressively less effective as they continue to “bump into problems” with others and stay in the same spot mentally and financially.
2. Acknowledge them and work to turn them into strengths.
a. These can be physical challenges like losing weight, or intellectual challenges like learning new skills or languages.
b. He notes that this option is ideal, but WAY HARDER than anything else, and that much pain is likely to come initially from this route, but that pain will turn into immense productivity after you get to a “second degree consequence” and don’t expect immediate rewards.
3. Acknowledge them and find was to navigate around them.
a. This would go along with philosophies like that of Vaynerchuk, who mainly encourages people to “fXuck their weaknesses” and “double down on their strengths.”
4. Change Your Desired Outcome.
a. This refers to maybe initially wanting $1 million but changing your goal to $100k after you realize you maybe want to spend more time on leisure rather than work. Just my example, not his.
So while Dalio says if you want to be successful and happy, avoid #1, and find which works best for you of the final three, I’ve reflected a bit on how I believe I’m a striking balance of 45% of 2 and 3 each, with 10% of 4.
For example, I’ve written about how four years ago I became fed up with the ceiling on my earning potential as a “communicator and marketer” and learned how to create websites myself, soup to nuts.
This is an example of 2. My weakness was tech, and it was painful, but I learned it. Well, you know, will always be learning it. But now the “first degree consequence” (aka what happens initially after the work) is less painful. And VERY REWARDING.
An example of 3 comes now in my career more frequently than even last year, when I acknowledge that I’m not equipped to say, code a complex software application from scratch, nor even really project manage it, but my strength is SELLING IT and ensuring it’s business worth for our clients.
My way of navigating around it is to find amazing people to do the other parts of the work.
For number 4, typically the way that applies to me is on a work/family balance scale.
I’m super happy working all the time, but not AS HAPPY as when I maximize time with my wife and kids, or call my friends to catch up.
So changing my “desired outcome” from “getting all my work done” to “enjoying the people around me more,” I win.
Another ironic example is, “taking the time to read a book,” instead of “getting all my work done,” can provide a higher level of perspective and ultimately changing that desired outcome can increase my long term macro outcome.
For anyone in business, at any level. Intern, Entry, Mid, Executive, Owner, Retired, I highly recommend this book.