The life rule Ray Dalio taught his son about success

Matt Dalio, son of Ray Dalio
Courtesy: Matt Dalio

Nowadays most people would be grateful for any words of wisdom from billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, as the 70-year-old is one of the most prominent names in finance.

But daily pep talks from the Bridgewater Associates founder where just the norm for his kids, Matt, Devon, Paul and Mark Dalio, when they were growing up.

"My dad would always say things like you know, Matt, you can have anything you want in life but you can't have everything you want," Matt Dalio, 35, tells CNBC Make It.

"[What my dad meant] was part of having what you really want in life means giving up all of the other things," Dalio says, "and a lot of people aren't willing to give up those other things."

Ray Dalio describes the sentiment in his 2017 book, "Principles: Life & Work" as well.

"While you can have virtually anything you want, you can't have everything you want," he explains. "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."

He goes on to say that "not being selective" is the biggest mistake most people make throughout their careers.

Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, speaking at the WEF in Davos, Switzerland, on January 22, 2019.
Adam Galica | CNBC

"Some people fail at this point before they have even started. 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," he writes. "Don't let yourself be paralyzed by all the choices."

Matt Dalio says that idea has stuck with him and as he builds his own company, Endless, a tech organization that teaches children to code through computer games. That and the "core thing" he learned from his father.

"For the vast majority of my life, my dad was just doing what he loves ... and no one paid him any mind," Matt Dalio says.

"I learned [by watching my dad] is that it's not about the money. It's about doing what you love," he says. "If you do what you love the money will follow."

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