Before I begin telling you what I think, I want to establish that I’m a “dumb shit” who doesn’t know much relative to what I need to know”

Ray Dalio- Multi Billionaire and founder of Bridgewater the largest hedge fund in the world

Ray, the multi billionaire , introducing his life and success philosophy prefaces his book that he’s a “dumb shit”. How many of us, with a fraction of the success, often insist our opinions and methods are not only right but the only ones?

I hope this article jars you and creates a stir. How many of us are so in love with our own ideas and opinions that we hold them over anyone else’s? How many of you accept thoughts, opinions, and facts from people around you in your environment NEVER taking the time to consider if they are true or accurate?

How many of us are in a virtual echo chamber of political views, religious principles, and cultural norms? Many of us are put in these echo chambers not only by our choice of company but the social media algorithms that consistently feed you what you want and already believe to be true.

I don’t care how much you love a friend or family member or colleague on a personal level. If they are not qualified to give an opinion in the area you are asking then you are bound to get poor information.

If your brother isn’t in amazing shape with the energy you want, I wouldn’t want his (often vehement) opinion of how to achieve what he hasn’t. I wouldn’t want my friend or colleague advising me on financial success if they are in the same type of financial situation as myself.

One of the most important lessons that can be quickly learned and applied from Ray Dalio is to surround yourself with the smartest people you can who DISAGREE with you. Begin to stress tests all opinions and ideas. Be honest and courgaeous enough to take the thought and opinion out of your mind, lay it down and find out if it is good or true.

Yearly, I meet thousands of good spirited, hard working, and smart people seeking guidance or help. So many are tragically unable to discern a good ideas or accurate opinions from bad and unfounded ones. They jump to emotional and irrational conclusions. Sometimes because of the negative and pessimistic opinion of someone around them. Sometimes from fear.

We live in a culture where information is served up to us by our inquiry. You can find anything you go looking for — the question is who are you asking? Are they qualified to answer it? If they claim to know for sure, “an expert”, please remember one of the wealthiest men in the country claims he’s a dumb shit and is constantly testing his thoughts against other smart people who disagree with his.

Be humble.

The only thing we can be certain of is we can be certain of nothing.