More Dalio. Man, this small book is so dense with good stuff. Bold added by me -
199a) Don’t be a perfectionist, because perfectionists often spend too much time on little differences at the margins at the expense of other big, important things. Be an effective imperfectionist. Solutions that broadly work well (e.g., how people should contact each other in the event of crises) are generally better than highly specialized solutions (e.g., how each person should contact each other in the event of every conceivable crisis), especially in the early stages of a plan. There generally isn't much gained by lots of detail relative to a good broad solution. Complicated procedures are tough to remember, and it takes a lot of time to make such detailed plans (so they might not even be ready when needed).
199c) Watch out for “detail anxiety,” i.e., worrying inappropriately about unimportant, small things.
Very useful term - "detail anxiety." Useful to think about - and strive to avoid.
Reminds me of the ol' 80/20 rule. It's such a simple thing to conceptualize but a totally different beast to consistently implement.
I think one key here is recognizing opportunity cost of the task at hand. Going from 95 to 98 at the expense of bringing something else from 20 to 50 probably isn't worth it if 95 will get the job done. But again, one must be aware of this trade-off and not burrowed in a task with blinders on. How to avoid blinders? I'm working to use forced breaks every 90 minutes or so of working on a task. "Is this worth another 90 minutes of time?" Otherwise the hours just seem to pass by.
The way I see it, detail anxiety and perfectionism in general is not the trait of a diligent hard-working engineer. It simply has to do with fear of failure. When you look at "perfectionists" as people with heightened fear of failure, it explains a lot of things about the (ineffective) dark side of perfectionism.
I just happen to know it personally. :)
Sebastian, I'm curious, how well do you think Dalio's principles and emphasis on transparency would work in other cultures? By this I mean countries like Japan - where, or so I've read from you, they have a much more duty based society and it is very important not to "lose face". While I think Dalio's principles are very universal, I'm not sure how well they would fare in other countries. Of course, Bridgewater's culture seems to be vastly different from most other American companies as well.
Made my first comment on your blog recently and as promised, i'm here to make direct contact via email, officially deleting my name from the list of 900 :)
I'm blown away by the depth of the posts you make in response to emails from other folks for advice, so i'm gonna try my luck seeking some insights from you about my situation.
I just graduated from university about one and a half years ago.
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