Ray Dalio on Opinions
In a wide-ranging interview on Masters in Business, Ray Dalio – the super successful investor – said this about opinions while discussing his process question, “How do I know I’m right?”:
BARRY: When should you not have an opinion?
RAY: Well, a lot of times, right? I mean, opinions – particularly in any – is a zero sum game. So many people have opinions that they’re attached to, and they don’t know whether they’re right, and that bias is killing them. I think one of the greatest tragedies of mankind is people stupidly holding on to opinions that could be wrong, that they could be so easily put out there and stress test, and that emotional attachment to these opinions is one of those things, where instead you could just say, let me get the best thinking I can have, it doesn’t even have to come from me. Why does it have to come from you?
Although it’s an investing/money podcast, the interview should be valuable for just about anyone since it’s primarily process-oriented, with concepts that apply to just about everywhere else.
You can hear that moment here:
A Comment on the Onegin Choruses
Singing the Eugene Onegin choruses is a particular delight amongst the various opera choruses I’ve now sung. They also present a few challenges that are worth comment.
The dominant challenge is that the length of phrases is unusual. The opening chorus contains some long lines where the ideal spot to breathe happens later than you might expect. Here’s one such example, with my preferred breath spot marked:
With the “Adagio” tempo marking, you need to prepare in advance to reach the ideal breathing spot. You also have to construct the phrase musically in a way that makes sense with the language and the larger musical context. My ideal stress point are the downbeats of bars 11 and 12.
As with a lot of this music, those stress points don’t have to happen on the highest note in the phrase, so you need to restrain yourself and not just blast out the higher tones. It’s a challenge, but when it all comes together, the effort proves itself worthwhile.
Defining Success Without a Scoreboard
Business leaders have an actual score they can point to as justifying their choices and actions. Profits go up, the stock rises, customer sat has risen, and therefore the previous choices have paid off. Warren Buffett makes a stock pick, and at some point it pays off or it doesn’t. Jony Ive and Tim Cook remove the headphone jack from the iPhone, and either they sell more or they sell fewer. The numbers don’t lie and all that.
For a singer or director, there’s nothing like that. There’s no score afterwards. One person will tell you what you did was great, and another will tell you it was garbage. Who are you going to believe? There are no hard numbers there. It’s dependent on their respective tastes.
You probably don’t want to go by the businesses numbers either, especially if you consider what you’re doing to be art. Summer blockbusters make a lot of money. Is that artistic success? One opera draws larger crowds than another. Is that success? Maybe/maybe not.
You’ll have to define it for yourself. The alternative is not knowing what you stand for and an emotional dependance on other’s flitting tastes.
Tonight is the premiere of Handel’s Saul at Theater Dortmund. It’s a great choral work, and I’ve loved getting to sing this music. Toi toi toi to all involved!
Heute Abend findet die Premiere von Saul, das große Händel Oratorium, in Opernhaus Dortmund statt. Es ist ein großes Chorstück, und es macht mir Spaß Händel wieder zu singen. Ein Herzliches toi toi toi allen Beteiligten!