Billionaire Ray Dalio's 5 steps for success can help you earn more in 2020

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

Billionaire Ray Dalio is telling "readers of all ages" his secrets to success — and you can use them to take your career to the next level in 2020.

Dalio, 70, founded Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund, which manages about $150 billion in global investments. He recently released "Principles for Success," a condensed, easy-to-read and illustrated version of his previous book, "Principles: Life & Work."

Whether "you want to be 'master of the universe' or live under a palm tree," the investor writes, we each have to decide for ourselves what a successful life looks like.

"At first, my problems, mistakes, and weaknesses caused me a lot of pain, mostly because I was stuck wishing I didn't have them. After awhile, I learned that these pains were messages that were signaling that I needed to reflect on my realities and how to best deal with them," he writes.

Through self-reflection, Dalio drew lessons from his setbacks about how to determine, and then achieve, his goal. Success, he decided, was the result doing five things over and over again, no matter what path you choose.

His five-step plan includes: outlining goals, identifying problems that may hinder achievement, diagnosing problems and reflecting on the how you're contributing to their existence, designing a plan to problem solve, and executing that plan.

Here are some ways that Dalio's core principles can help you define goals and develop skills to earn more money.

'Know your goals and run after them'

To get started, determine your goals. Even before that, though, writes Dalio, you need to identify what you're good at and understand your weaknesses: "There are always wonderful paths for you, you just have to find them by reflecting well, learning through trial and error, and showing determination to push towards your goal."

To set yourself up for success, it can be helpful to break your goal down to specific steps by creating a to-do list. "It's about looking into that [task] and breaking it into smaller, more doable tasks," Paula Rizzo, author of "Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Successful and Less Stressed," told Grow earlier this year.

For example, if your goal is to earn more in the coming year, start with simple tasks like researching the training you need to get a title change at work or finding out how other companies compensate employees with your level of experience. This will help inform your conversations when asking your employer for a raise.

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'Learn what you're not doing well'

Another step in Dalio's plan entails diagnosing your problems to figure out how they're holding you back: "Sometimes a weakness of yours or others' is the cause of your problems, so you have to consider that possibility."

"Learn what you're not doing well and change," Dalio writes. To learn, you may need to enlist the help of others. "If you can look at things with the help of others who can see what you are blind to, you'll see much more than you can alone."

You can start by listening to people who have different kinds of expertise. If you work at a corporation, for example, learn about other divisions of the business, Vijay Sathe, professor of management at the Drucker School of Management in Claremont, California, told Grow earlier this year. "We all have limited time, but invest 5% of your time talking to someone in marketing, for example," he says.

By gathering information from colleagues, you may discover a way to better serve your organization. Increasing your contributions to your company will make you more valuable and help strengthen your argument for a bump in pay.

If you can look at things with the help of others who can see what you are blind to, you'll see much more than you can alone.
Ray Dalio
founder, Bridgewater Associates

Design and execute a plan

When you face an obstacle standing in the way of progress, "push yourself to do what's needed," Dalio writes. You should start by designing a plan — and sometimes, that requires looking outside of the office.

Taking on a side hustle, for example, can help you acquire new skills that can bolster your resume, helping you make the case for a raise or putting you in the running for a new job, Grant Sabatier, creator of Millennial Money, an online personal finance community, told Grow earlier this year.

And network, since you can learn from others who have achieved similar goals. Having an open line of communication can help you stay on top of career opportunities and remain relevant in your industry. It can also offer valuable outside perspective. "You can get help from others who can see and do things you can't," Dalio writes.

Success isn't a result of achieving a single goal, Dalio says. It's about evolving and learning along the way, and it's also about improving your connections with other people. "The things we strive for are just the bait," he writes. "The struggle to get to them with the people we care about gives us the personal evolution and meaningful relationships that are the real rewards."

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