“Realise that you are simultaneously everything and nothing – and decide what you want to be.” – Ray Dalio
You are NOT stuck in your life.
It IS okay to flip your life on its head and change the entire narrative.
You CAN do just about anything you want.
Because as much as our own life is the most significant everything we have and know, to just about everything else our life is entirely insignificant and nothing. What we decide to do doesn’t really matter, so you’d may as well enjoy the absolute hell out of yourself while you have the chance.
Ray Dalio’s book Principles is simply outstanding. Throughout his life, Dalio has been documenting all of his successes and failures and developed unarguable life and work principles to live by, to help guide you to making the best possible decisions, to understand what is important and what isn’t, to know that failure is the inevitable and ever returning hurdle to happiness and success, to foster better relationships with your family and coworkers, to be radically open minded about everything and to strictly remove closed mindedness and negativity because it serves zero purpose.
I could go on.
When I first read the principle in the quote at the top, I thought it was was a bit left of centre to the theme of the book and odd that Dalio had made it one of the very early principles. But I found it very interesting. Looking back on it now, I realise how profound it is and it gives so much context to everything else that followed.
The sooner that you realise that all of those things that are weighing you down, stressing you out or making you angry and unhappy… the jerk that cut you off, your boring job, an old tiff with a friend, trying to impress unimpressionable people, the feeling that you “can’t” take a holiday because you are too busy, or your arsehole of a husband that puts you down, acts like he is above you, devalues you making you forget your true value and makes you feel worthless and ‘trapped’ because he earns the money… are absolutely everything to you right now, but absolutely nothing in relation to the universe. The sooner you can realise that those negative parts to your life are doing nothing but wasting your time and the precious breathe you have on this Earth. You are allowing your teeny tiny spot in this world to be occupied by negative bullshit and you have all of the power to change that.
“It is a great paradox the individually we are simultaneously everything and nothing. Through our own eyes , we are everything -e.g., when we die, the whole world disappears. So to most people (and to other species) dying is the worst thing possible, and it is of paramount importance that we have the best life possible. However, when we look down on ourselves through the eyes of nature we are of absolutely no significance. It is a reality that each one of us is only one of about seven billion of our species alive today and that our species is only one of about ten million species on our planet. Earth is just one of about 100 billion planets in our galaxy, which is just one of about two trillion galaxies in the universe. And our lifetimes are only about 1/3,000 of humanity’s existence, which itself is only 1/20,000 of the Earth’s existence. In other words, we are unbelievably tiny and short-lived and no matter what we accomplish, our impact will be insignificant. At the same time, we instinctively want to matter and to evolve, and we can matter a tiny bit—and it’s all those tiny bits that add up to drive the evolution of the universe.
The question is how we matter and evolve. Do we matter to others (who also don’t matter in the grand scope of things) or in some greater sense that we will never actually achieve? Or does it not matter if we matter so we should forget about the question and just enjoy our lives while they last?”
So to the jerk that cut you off… It’s all good, take the spot, it will serve no significant impact to my commute time.
To your boring job… Time to find something that makes me truly happy. Because in the overall scheme of things this job doesn’t matter, but to me, my own happiness in my lifetime means a lot.
To your old tiff with a friend… If you love that friend and he/she matters to you so much that your disagreement is causing significant emotional pain that you cant shake, You’d better go see your friend and make up. If it is a lost cause, forget about it and move on.
To those people you desperately seek to impress… They aren’t worth your energy and your sanity. You’ve got too much happiness you can seek from those in your life that DO care, and the ability to ‘impress’ those people will be effortless.
To that feeling that you can’t take a holiday… Of course you can take a damn holiday! Annual Leave Schmannual Leave, it’s all smoke and mirrors and your work can survive without you. But will you live with happiness or regret when you don’t go on those adventure’s?
To your arsehole of a husband… F**K HIM OFF.
The early struggles and troubles of navigating life once you’ve left that jerk are nothing in comparison to the regret and emptiness you will feel if you stick with that childish, backwards, entitled dirtbag of a human. To the universe he’s a speck in the ocean, to you he is that stain on your dress that won’t clean up no matter how much you try to clean it. You’re always just better off burning it and finding a new dress instead.