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Book Excerpt: Be radically open-minded & radically transparent

None of us is born knowing what is true; we either have to discover what’s true for ourselves or believe and follow others. The key is to know which path will yield better results. I believe that:

a. Radical open-mindedness and radical transparency are invaluable for rapid learning and effective change.

Learning is the product of a continuous real-time feedback loop in which we make decisions, see their outcomes, and improve our understanding of reality as a result. Being radically open-minded enhances the efficiency of those feedback loops, because it makes what you are doing, and why, so clear to yourself and others that there can’t be any misunderstandings. 
The more open-minded you are, the less likely you are to deceive yourself — and the more likely it is that others will give you honest feedback. If they are “believable” people (and it’s very important to know who is “believable”), you will learn a lot from them.

Being radically transparent and radically open-minded accelerates this learning process. It can also be difficult because being radically transparent rather than more guarded exposes one to criticism. It’s natural to fear that. Yet if you don’t put yourself out there with your radical transparency, you won’t learn.

b. Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way.

You must be willing to do things in the unique ways you think are best—and to open-mindedly reflect on the feedback that comes inevitably as a result of being that way.

Learning to be radically transparent is like learning to speak in public: While it’s initially awkward, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will be with it. This has been true for me. For example, I still instinctively find being as radically transparent in the ways that I am in this book uncomfortable because I am exposing personal material to the public that will attract attention and criticism. 
Yet, I am doing it because I’ve learned that it’s best, and I wouldn’t feel good about myself if I let my fears stand in the way. In other words, I have experienced the positive effects of radical transparency for so long that it’s now uncomfortable for me not to be that way.

Besides giving me the freedom to be me, it has allowed me to understand others and for them to understand me, which is much more efficient and much more enjoyable than not having this understanding. Imagine how many fewer misunderstandings we would have and how much more efficient the world would be—and how much closer we all would be to knowing what’s true—if instead of hiding what they think, people shared it openly. 
I’m not talking about everyone’s very personal inner secrets; I’m talking about people’s opinions of each other and of how the world works. As you’ll see, I’ve learned firsthand how powerful this kind of radical truth and transparency is in improving my decision making and my relationships. So, whenever I’m faced with the choice, my instinct is to be transparent. I practise it as a discipline and I recommend you do the same.

c. Embracing radical truth and radical transparency will bring more meaningful work and more meaningful relationships.

My experience, based on watching thousands of people try this approach, is that with practice the vast majority find it so rewarding and pleasurable that they have a hard time operating any other way.

This takes practice and changing one’s habits. I have found that it typically takes about eighteen months, which is how long it takes to change most habits.

(Source: Principles by Ray Dalio)

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