Try it

I’ve described a problem as being the ability to explain the current state (of something, anything you care to imagine) and a desired state. The problem is that those states are different. Unfortunately, the word “problem” comes packed with negative connotation. That’s not what I’m suggesting here. The “problem(s)” I’m talking about are anything you desire to change.

A critical feature of intelligence is the ability to describe those two states; that’s literally how you do all the intentional things that you do. Current state, desired state… and then working to get from the current state to the desire state is being a problem solver.

In his book, Principles, Ray Dalio describes leadership as something very similar: having the ability to a) visualize a future state be it physical, spiritual, emotional, or all three and b) find the people and the resources needed to make it happen.

~ Cierra Martin from,

Any time anything makes me think, I label it “good”. This is a good little article from Martin.

But Dalio’s description in the quoted bit above—I’ve not read the book, perhaps this gets covered therein—skips over the actual hard part. It’s giving a nice step 1, then step 3 map. When one tries to solve a problem (“problem” as I described above) which involves other people, there is also a step 2: Getting other people to understand you. And you’ve probably noticed that turns out to be really difficult.


Failing to consider

Failing to consider second- and third-order consequences is the cause of a lot of painfully bad decisions, and it is especially deadly when the fist inferior option confirms your own biases. Never seize on the first available option, no matter how good it seems, before you’ve asked questions and explored.

~ Ray Dalio



All outcomes are manifestations of forces that are at work to produce them, so whenever looking at specific outcomes, think about the forces that are behind them. Constantly ask yourself, “What is this symptomatic of?”

~ Ray Dalio from,

This is pretty much the zero-th rule of being a rational agent. (But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bear repeating.) The post from Parrish is simply a long list of quotes from Dalio. It’s a great list, and it’s assembled in the context of leadership skills. This one, (quoted above,) in particular speaks to me; speaks to me like a drill sergeant. “What is your dysfunction?!” Anyway.

Once I started practicing being rational—yes, emotions are real, they are important, they get their due… But once I started intentionally practicing using rationality as a tool I made huge strides in self-improvement.