In Ray Dalio’s book Principles, he covers a lot about his personal life, goal setting, and decision making.
The second part of the book covers his Work Principles.
But there are a few lines in the first part of the book that can change your life.
Having the basics — a good bed to sleep in, good relationships, good food, and good sex — is most important, and those things don’t get better when you have a lot of money or much worse when you have less. And the people one meets at the top aren’t necessarily more special than those one meets at the bottom or in between. — Ray Dalio, Principles p.123
What this means for you!
For a billionaire like Dalio, he would have experienced life at every stage. His wealth could afford him the best of the best.
Despite his wealth, he readily admits at some point, there’s nothing he can do to make some parts of his life better than it already is.
- Your food can’t get any more organic
- There will be a cap on how comfortable your sleep can really be
- Regardless of wealth, your relationships are either enriching or not.
So in essence, someone living just about minimum wage can have an excellent quality of life.
Whereas there could be a miserable millionaire who has horrible relationships, poor food habits, and having poor (or no) sex.
These few lines are a great jumping off point for your own life. Upgrading the basics could improve your joy, reduce anxiety, and positively impact your health and wellness.
Improve Your Sleep
In the largest sleep study ever completed, scientists of the University of Western Ontario concluded 7–8 hours of sleep improves decision making and quality of life compared to those with significantly more or less. So a great starting point could be to get optimum sleep.
If time is not an issue, assess sleep quality. This may include tracking your REM (rapid eye movement) length and quality.
Simple changes like shutting off phones and televisions long before bedtime could help, as well as reducing caffeine, alcohol and managing exercise.
Finally, getting the best mattress you can afford which provides the best comfort and temperature.
The goal is to become significantly better than you were before and to do it consistently. High quality sleep is the basis of all other things you should look to improve.
A good night’s sleep can change your life!
Improve Your Relationships
“Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.” — Ben Stein
The quality of your life can be changed by getting serious with your relationships.
The time you spend with others is valuable, so you should be getting a return on your investment, especially since you would be required to put in the work to keep them healthy.
Start with your immediate circle.
- Can you confide in them?
- Are they striving for similar life goals?
- What are the foods they eat? And do you eat the same?
- How do they treat their parents and loved ones?
- Do they support your business or personal endeavors?
How much time and money do you invest in relationships?
This may include going to networking events, charity events, and workshops to make new connections and grow your circle of influence.
Finally, how is your relationship with your significant other (if you have one)?
- Are you growing together or are you serving a life sentence?
- Can you comfortably express your feelings without fear of retaliation?
- Does this person lift you up or put you down?
Getting the best out of your relationships can bring the best out of you.
Improve Your Food
One of the hardest habits to break is the food choices we make. It’s often when health is severely compromised that drastic changes are made.
Wealthy persons understand health is wealth and health can be fixed with what we put in.
The best way to improve your food intake is to find one thing to remove from your diet. Track one habit daily, then move onto something else.
There are hundreds of food and diet crazes out there like Keto, Paleo, etc. The best way to improve your diet without stress is to “eat the rainbow.” Fill your plate up with plant-based food that’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, or purple.
Improve Your Sex
Repeat after me.
Sex is more important than money.
A Canadian university study not only revealed that more money did not equal more sex, but sex weighed higher on overall happiness than money. Additionally, excess sex and money had diminishing returns on happiness.
The goal is to find your sweet spot (any pun you could think about was intended). Figure out what works for you and speak with your shag-nificant other(s). Time to get it in!
Ready to change your life?
It’s clear improving your basic needs to better than average can significantly change your life.
In fact, you won’t be hard-pressed to find studies online backing up the claim that happiness actually decreases as wealth increases.
Trust me, I’ll cry on a bed of millions than be broke any day. But at the same time, it will be deeply important to make sure these basics are awesome before I earn another.
If you really want to improve your happiness and life, take the one area that needs the most attention and putting your resources into it.
Try it for the next 3-4 months. Then move onto the next one. You may not get Ray Dalio money out of it, but you’ll surely rival his happiness.