The man above is Ray Dalio, giving a TED talk. In 1975, Ray founded his own investment company, Bridgewater Associates, out of his apartment. 43 years later, it is the largest hedge fund in the world, with over $160 billion assets under management. Ray built this company from zero to leading over 1,700 employees and became a billionaire in the process; one of the 100 richest people in the world.
And yet, about 30 seconds into the talk, we can spot something that doesn’t fit that description at all.
See that on his hand? It’s a little cheat sheet. Because Ray is nervous. There are other signs throughout the talk. His voice sometimes breaks, he shakes a bit, and occasionally suffers from dry mouth syndrome.
Ray Dalio is an introvert. It’s the source of his genius and his achievements. But he never liked the spotlight. And in spite of having had his fair share of it at 68 years old, he’s still afraid of public speaking. But he also knows some things are too important to let fear bury them. From Business Insider:
“He told us that while he knew that making himself more public and going on a book tour would be difficult for him, he was faced with a choice to either work through his fear and share his message, or let his principles be analyzed without his input.”
“Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”
Few people live and breathe the stage. They were meant to be there and it was meant for them. All the rest of us, even the best of us, are stuck being Henry Fonda. Fear doesn’t go away. The best thing we can do is take comfort in the fact that we’re not alone and ask ourselves the same question before each and every talk:
“When you have discomfort, do you let discomfort stand in the way of doing what you think is the right thing?” — Ray Dalio