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25th of May 2018

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We've got a roadmap for your success at work and beyond (Paid Content by Principles)

Advertising Content from Principles These principles help you thrive

By Mashable Brand X

These principles help you thrive

By Mashable Brand X

You’ve mastered the fundamentals at your job: You close the deal, you file on time, you never heat fish in the office microwave. You like your work, and you’re hungry to keep climbing the ladder. Or maybe you’re sick of your job: You feel uninspired, no one takes you seriously, someone’s always heating fish in the office microwave. Whether you’re feeling the former or the latter, at work or just in life generally, you’re looking forward toward greater things, right? But how do you get there?

Founder of Bridgewater Associates, billionaire investor, and philanthropist Ray Dalio knows a thing or two about success, and he has some sage advice for you. His book Principles synthesizes a lifetime’s worth of hard work, trial and error, and business experience into a set of principles that Dalio believes led him to success in life and business — and which he argues will help anyone else looking to succeed on his or her own terms. He’s also just released a 30-minute, 8-part animated mini-series that hits all the key ideas in the book in an easy-to-digest form.

Pick up a copy of Ray Dalio’s Principles at your local bookstore to learn more, and check out our hypothetical journey through a few select Principles below.

First, watch this animated video to learn how to get the most out of life in 30 minutes.

Embrace Reality and Deal with It

You’re just starting out in a new job you’ve pushed hard to land. It’s a big opportunity, but it requires new skills you’ve never done before, including a weekly presentation to the whole department. As the first one approaches, you’re feeling confident: You crushed it in your last role without much effort, and all the people in the department like you, so it’ll be an easy crowd. But when the day of the presentation comes, you bomb. Everyone in the room looks confused when you land the big conclusion, and your boss takes you aside after to tell you to prepare more next time. Even your best friend, who you know understands what you were trying to cover, offers to help you before the next go around.

You’re facing a choice, and here’s where the first principle comes in. Are you going to blame your boss and colleagues for failing to recognize your genius — or will you embrace reality and deal with it? The feedback from the group hurts, for sure, and it likely has you feeling defensive. But if you let that defensiveness stand in the way of improving your approach, you’re never going to succeed.

The sooner you confront the reality of whiffing on your first go-around, the sooner you’ll be on the path to knocking it out of the park. And this is true not just in the office, but at just about anything where you’re stretching to achieve new things. Inevitably, you’re going to have some failures. But whether or not you move past them depends on acknowledging the reality of your situation, not what you think it should be.

Diagnose, Design, and Do It

Say you’ve decided to leave your job and move onto the next big thing. You’ve got a goal: find a better paying job at a company more suited to your goals. You start sending out applications, but you’re not getting any bites. You’ve run into a problem. Those two steps aren’t unfamiliar to you, as you’ve spent your entire life forming goals and then running into problems in the fulfillment of those goals. What’s different now will be in how you conceptualize what to do next, by following the five-step process.

Thinking methodically about your process could make a huge difference in achieving your goal. So, you’re not hearing back from potential employers — what to do? You need to diagnose the cause of the problem. Is your resume up-to-date and tailored to each position? And your cover letter? Are you missing a certain skill? Maybe that’s it. You go through your list of applications and notice they all ask for a skill you don’t have on your CV — coding. Coding! After a quick online search, you realize you were hired at your current position before coding became a common skill for people with your job elsewhere. Problem diagnosed.

Now, what to do about it? You design your solution. How can you learn this skill in order to bolster your resume and get the job you want? More research reveals you can take coding classes online. It will take a few months, but you’ll have a certificate that proves your skill — and you’ll be in a much better position when you send out your next round of applications. Finding a new job isn’t happening as quickly as you’d hoped, but remember when you embraced reality earlier on? Yeah. So, now go do it. Take that class, get that certificate, and get that new job.

Everything Is a Machine

When it comes down to it, most of the things that happen in your life are not unique. That may at first sound depressing, as we naturally think of ourselves as independent and special creatures, but it’s actually good news. Of course you’re interesting and have special talents, features, skills: You can cook a perfect Bolognese, or you’re an Olympic swimmer, or you’re the best coder in your new job (congratulations, by the way!). But these skills and, most importantly, the journeys undertaken to accomplish them, are not things you invented yourself. They’ve happened all throughout human history, and they’ll happen again. Think of it this way: everything is a machine.

No, that doesn’t mean the world is robotic and predictable. Quite the opposite. Rather, viewing life (yours and those of humankind as a whole) as mechanical simply means you’re acknowledging that the story of a life is comprised of events that happen over and over again, in cycles, some long and some short. That’s the reason why, now that you’ve started your new job, you’ve been reading articles online about how to thrive in a new position. Other people have done this before, and they’ve studied their experiences, learned from them, and passed that knowledge down to you. You won’t be the last person in history to get a new job, right? And this job won’t be the last new job you ever take, right? You’ll go through another similar cycle down the road.

Practically speaking, this means you should try taking the long view. By acknowledging that there are common principles that have proven successful for people in the past in navigating a new career, you’re opening yourself up to the study of those principles — and, hopefully, the success they can bring.

Of course, progress in your job and in your life will still require taking risks in order to reap bigger rewards. But with knowledge that whatever happens in your future, you’ll be far from the only person in history to experience it, you can at least prepare yourself to reason your way through unexpected outcomes. History does repeat itself. Make that work to your advantage.

Be Radically Open-Minded

You’ve embraced reality, you’ve rejected the enticing notion that all of your experiences are unique, and you’ve used these principles to find a new job. You’re ready to thrive. The person at the desk next to yours is always piping up with worthless suggestions. (What’s worse: she’s constantly chewing with her mouth open.) But no matter. You’ve decided to let that annoyance drop, and you’ve been talking every day to get to know her better. One day, when she notices the frustration on your face as you stare at your screen, she turns to you, talking while she chews a banana, and tells you that you’re “doing it wrong.” Before you can object, she offers a suggestion, one that you’d never considered. You’re shocked. She’s right — this will solve your problem, and it will keep that problem from coming up again in the future.

While you just learned the solution to a temporary problem, you also have the occasion to learn a permanently useful principle: be radically open-minded. By engaging with someone you would have normally dismissed right away, and by listening to that person’s constructive criticism without getting defensive, you’ve discovered something beneficial.

You can expand this principle it to every corner of your life, professionally and otherwise. Perhaps the solution your coworker showed you today will be the key to getting that raise you want or an eventual promotion. More likely, it will be a small part of achieving those goals. But you’ll be better prepared to get that promotion if you engage with as many different people with as many different perspectives as possible.

Surround yourself with others who can do certain things better than you can, listen to their points of view, and share ideas, in the process making their strengths your own by internalizing their knowledge. But chew with your mouth closed, will you?

Struggle Well

Of course, things won’t always go swimmingly in your new job. You’ll face setbacks, unexpected challenges, failures, falls. You’ll need to decide how to deal with them — and with the principles you’ve learned, like the five-step process, you’ll be able to do so. It might take great struggle, but that’s also a positive, so long as you struggle well. Going through these rough patches forces you to evolve, to grow as a result of challenges, unless you want to stay stuck.

By paying close, conscious attention to the process of this struggle, you’ll learn how to better move through difficult periods, making each subsequent challenge that much easier to deal with — or, if not easy, that much more beneficial to you and your growth as a person. If you learn to welcome struggle as an opportunity for growth, you’re setting yourself up to succeed in ways you may never have anticipated before these setbacks knocked you down. And that’s the real thrill of it all.

Learn more about Ray Dalio’s Principles and what they can do for you by watching the video at the top of this page and by checking out the new book to discover the power of the principles in more detail.

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