Recently, during a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" Q&A, Ray Dalio was presented with some interesting questions. From discussing the importance of diversification to analyzing investments and also delivering advice on how to navigate the college life.
Of all the points mentioned during the session, the question about college stood out to me the most because the advice shared was applicable to life and business.
Here's the exchange, "Hello Ray, I'm a sophomore in college, and I wanted to ask you how I can get the most out of my college years?"
Dalio's response was "Party like crazy and don't make the grades your highest priority. Make the friendships and your experiences most important."
As I thought about that statement more, there are two big takeaways from that statement that will help your career and set you on a path to being a top performer.
1. Nothing beats real-world experience.
I remember being in school and learning about marketing and management. Then one day, I was given the opportunity after a few years of studying to do it in a live-action setting and completely tanked the audition.
This was my introduction to the concept that real-world application is much different compared to theory and learning in a classroom setting.
When I first started my business and worked with my first client, I had a template that I expected to go by. But as we all know, working with an actual human is anything but predictable.
Dalio's advice reminded me and hopefully reminds you that your best teacher to growth as an entrepreneur, artists, or whatever else your daily craft is will come from simply living life. No matter how many books and courses on entrepreneurship you indulge in, it still won't prepare you fully for the real world.
To grow and truly become world class requires a lot of doing and exposing yourself to potential mistakes along the way.
While "partying like crazy and not prioritizing grades as the highest order" may not be applicable to you anymore. Reframe that statement into the adult version that goes like "take crazy action and don't prioritize perfection and avoiding mistakes."
2. Place a premium on people.
Traveling back to my college self, I remembered always being encouraged to attend networking and other various social events. It wasn't merely because socializing is healthy, it was more so because your relationships serve as an integral link to your career success.
We've all heard statements such as "Your network is your net worth" and Jim Rohn's "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
As Dalio also mentioned during the session:
"When I look back on my life and the various accomplishments I've made and impacts I've had, the most important source of happiness for me has been the wonderful relationships I've had."
We all have to trek along a particular journey to reach our specific goals. It's easy at times to lock yourself away and develop tunnel vision for that specific goal. But, it's important to remember that while you're in relentless pursuit of your goal, it's the people and experiences created during that time that makes the journey enjoyable and truly special.