Spotlight on Meditation: Ray Dalio


Ray Dalio is founder of Investment firm Bridgewater Associates. Ray was born August 8th 1949 into a humble beginning.  Born to a Jazz musician, Dalio was a self starter for any of his accumulated wealth. At the age of 12, Ray purchased $300 Northeast Airlines stock shares.  Subsequently, the airline merged with another, and Ray tripled his investment. The beginning of an $18B Dalio enterprise (November 2020). 

Ray began practicing Transcendental Meditation back in the 1960's.  Dalio says in his book “Principles” that he learned the practice after the Beatles were documented as studying Transcendental Meditation in India in 1968.  “It helps slow things down so that I can act calmly, even in the face of chaos, just like a ninja in a street fight,” Dalio wrote.  Transcendental Meditation (TM) involves closing ones eyes and repeating a mantra over and over to reduce stress and anxiety.  Generally it is practiced twice a day with 20 minutes being the average time.  In fact, an interviewer once asked Dalio "you meditate for 40 minutes a day?" and Ray's response was "it's such a great investment."

See Ray talk here about the benefits of Meditation. 

 

Ray has an approach to life that is apparent in his book, Principles, where he asks himself, 'how do I know I'm right' versus thinking you are always right.  He refers to this as being evidence-based.  When approaching a decision, ask yourself: do you have clear facts leading to your perspective?  If not, you're probably not being evidence based.  Ray also advocates in his book to think for yourself to decide on what you want, what is true, and what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2.  It's a very logical approach to life and has suited Ray and many others well.  

Among a lot of great information in his book Principles, Ray talks about TM and how he believes it has enhanced his open-mindedness, higher-level view on things, creative thinking and also equanimity.  Being consistent with Ray's approach in the book, he wasn't overly prescriptive with meditation being the only way to gain these qualities, just that the reader should consider exploring meditation. 

Ray credits Bob Roth as his meditation teacher.  Bob is writer of the book Strength in Stillness, a great read for those wanting a straightforward guide on Transcendental Meditation.  In an interview with David Branaccio in 2018, Bob Roth talks about the benefits that TM has given Ray:

No, and actually, Ray’s been doing it for almost 50 years, and he says it gives him energy, it gives him focus, it gives him clarity, it gives him creativity. It wakes up the creative centers in the brain. And he also says it allows him to be like a ninja — great term — where everything is coming at him very fast. But inside, it’s coming at him slow motion, and he can really discern, he can really make the correct decisions. It’s really important to him. As a matter of fact, he’s made it available to 700 of his employees at Bridgewater.

Ray Dalio is not Bob Roth's only high-profile student: count Oprah and Gwyneth Paltrow among the others. Roth mentioned in an interview from October of 2020 that one of the more common themes he saw with his high performing students was an early bedtime.  8pm, 9pm.  Along with moderate exercise, a healthy diet, and meditating.  

Meditation has helped Ray cope with the highs and lows of running the worlds largest hedge fund company.  That includes the near collapse in 1982, where Dalio actually bet on the downturn of the economy.  Dalio has shown in the public spotlight that meditation has been useful for him throughout the years. 


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