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Building a blueprint for a better brain by tinkering with the code.

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May 14th, 2020


Ray Dalio has famously published his book Principles where he outlines the methods and strategies for the way he operates on a personal level.  In the book he repeatedly invites readers to take on the same task, to write down the principles by which they operate. 


Tinkered Thinking is naturally poised to knock together some principles considering the hefty amount of pondering on the page that has emerged over the course of hundreds of episodes.  And certainly this episode is an initial attempt to fashion some principles, with conscientious plans to iterate these principles through time. 


Truth is, though, every one is well poised to take Dalio up on his suggested exercise of writing down a set of personal principles, whether we are accustomed to jotting down our thoughts or not.  We all operate on heuristics and codes of conduct, whether we’re conscious of it or not, whether we’d like to face them or not. 


Those who worry about what they might find when confronted with the question of how they operate, may in fact benefit from the exercise the most.  If we discover something we don’t like, the written word endures in a way that is much harder to ignore when we compare it to some fleeting action or statement.  More importantly, the written word can be edited, whereas the past cannot.  There is freedom in writing because we can tinker with the form and substance of our thought.  We can craft it, and sculpt it to approach an ideal.  Then, in the form of a principle, it can be something that we strive to emulate in action.  In this way, we can leverage our thoughts against our actions in order to change them for the better.


And without further ado:




  1. Has the best question been asked?


  1. Use it to boost it or lose it.


  1. The discovery of the new will always look like wandering before it is found.


  1. The ‘question’ is the only real tool. Questions allow for the creation of new tools and all tools are useless without the concurrent use of questions that unlock their use.


  1. The sole resource of persuasion is the other person’s mind, a resource which can only be mined with the use of questions.


  1. Time is not a resource. Money is a resource because it can be sourced again. Time is only a source because it depletes of its own accord without the option of renewal.


  1. Understanding is knowledge in motion. In order to integrate knowledge, one must actively use it until it’s possible to produce predictable outcomes.


  1. Honesty is the master variable and it is a skill. Honesty determines how much friction there is in human systems. The less honesty there is, the more friction exists.


  1. Peace is a subtractive process. It requires simplification, like the surface of water, any attempt to actively create peace only generates more ripples.



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Podcast Ep. 760: Principles

Tinkered Thinking

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