One of the key traits that has helped Ray Dalio build a remarkable career as an entrepreneur and investor is the ability to reflect and learn from his biggest mistakes.
"Pain plus reflection equals progress," the Bridgewater Associates founder told Tony Robbins during a Facebook live chat on Tuesday. The interview, which was hosted on Inc.'s Facebook page, was in conjunction with the release of Dalio's book Principles: Life and Work.
Dalio also explained how he built Bridgewater Associates, the company he created in 1975, into a multibillion-dollar hedge fund. While he stepped away from his management role at Bridgewater in March, Dalio continues to be the company's co-CIO.
In relaying his best advice for entrepreneurs, Dalio emphasized the importance of realizing that you're not alone. "Don't be trapped in your own head and know how to get the best resources," he told Robbins. "When you fall and you get banged up, reflect, there's a lesson there."
The two spoke at length about investing and economics, but Dalio also responded to Robbins's questions about his unconventional and occasionally controversial leadership beliefs (including claims that Bridgewater was a "cult," according to a 2011 report in Institutional Investor). "It's a difficult environment, like what you say, an intellectual Navy SEALS," Dalio said. "If you get to the other side and you get through it and you have these relationships, then it's powerful."
Additionally, Robbins asked Dalio about his leadership tactics that focus on "radical transparency." This includes management systems that have been transformed into apps like Baseball Cards, a summary of every employee's strengths and weaknesses that are available to anyone at the company, according to Bloomberg. Robbins asked Dalio what those critics were missing about the culture at the company.
"It is an idea-meritocracy in which the goals are to have meaningful work and meaningful relationship -- and they are equally important and they reinforce each other - through radical truthfulness and radical transparency," Dalio said. "Radical truthfulness means we lay on the table what we really think and we deal with it. And radical transparency gives the ability to people to see everything because you can't have spin."