Billionaire Ray Dalio certainly knows a thing or two about setting — and reaching — his goals. The financier grew Bridgewater Associates from an operation run out of his apartment to one of the world's largest hedge funds.
To achieve your goals, Dalio says be selective.
"While you can have virtually anything you want, you can't have everything you want," he explains in his 2017 book "Principles: Life & Work." "Life is like a giant smorgasbord with more delicious alternatives than you can ever hope to taste. Choosing a goal often means rejecting some things you want in order to get other things that you want or need even more.
"Some people fail at this point, before they have even started," he says. "Afraid to reject a good alternative for a better one, they try to pursue too many goals at once, achieving few or none of them. Don't let yourself be paralyzed by all the choices."
Dalio also cautions against confusing goals with desires. Goals, he says, need to be achieved (such as achieving good physical fitness), while desires can actually prevent you from reaching goals (like eating good-tasting, but unhealthy, food).
And, don't forget to aim high, Dalio says.
"What you think is attainable is just a function of what you know at the moment," he says. "Remember that great expectations create great capabilities. If you limit your goals to what you know you can achieve, you are setting the bar way too low."
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