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Day 22: Radical Transparency.

Radical Transparency.

This is the most important principle I intentionally acquired recently. Radical transparency comes from Ray Dalio’s book Principles. The idea is to be radically open with yourself and selected few who support this principle.

What does it entail?

  • Choosing transparency over “niceness”

  • Not holding back the hard truths

  • Caring about progress more than fear of confrontation

  • Being able to deal with the pain coming from radical transparency.

My friend Jeremiah and I established this principle at the onset of our relationship. We agreed to be fully honest with each other about things we see. It started with gentle “You might be doing it wrong” and now it goes all the way to “This is big problem to be fixed”. Sounds nice to have an extra pair of eyes on yourself, right? The progress it has brought to both of us is tremendous. It definitely comes at a cost of dedicated readiness to learn. Let me have a radical transparency moment here. Things I heard from Jeremiah made me cry many times. Not because he is not a nice guy but exactly because he was nice enough to tell me things no one else did. It doesn’t feel amazing to be hearing things you don’t want to hear, to be realizing you are not that fabulous. It really hurts. Especially if you are trying to become really great and see how many flaws are still there to be worked on. But it feels fucking amazing to look back and see progress! It was hard to both receive feedback and also give it because who wants confrontation?! We just want to be comfortable. Now, radical transparency is not for everyone. There are people who flourish in positive affirmations of their greatness and it’s their intentional choice. But if you are trying to improve yourself, suck up the pain and be ready to learn.

I had a deep realization today about the beginning of radical transparency journey for anyone. It starts with being strong enough to be fully honest with yourself. I realized that in order to become strong, you need to first train yourself to be able to handle your own critical feedback. If you can handle your own honesty (and this is the person who knows the most about you), no other person will be able to destabilize you too much. What does this entail?

  • Choose not to make up excuses for times when I was weak or made a bad decision.

  • Full honesty about the feelings I am feeling (this requires a level of self-awareness.)

  • Stating and accepting factual reality (weight is my favorite example. Instead of saying “Ah I got chubby because I was stressed about exams”, accepting fully that you “just got fat”)

Accepting that I was feeling jealous is the hardest for me. I want to feel strong and confident but then I look at myself and see how jealous I am of something. It’s hard at the moment but only this realization allows me to try to rise above it next time. No need for nice words. You did mess up. You did let someone dow. You are not great at something, maybe not yet but right now you are not. You made the wrong decision. You didn’t think enough. Wowww, so much negativity! Not at all. This is the factual reality of things. Seeing it as it is without covering it up will make you more in tune with the reality and increase your threshold of dealing with hard truths.

As I am recapping this day, I wrote this in my notes.

It sucks to write this. Sucks to see that I made some small steps but nothing actually super productive. I won’t say anything to make myself feel nice. This is just how the day has been. I will try to make tomorrow better.

Radical transparency as a life principle comes from radical transparency with yourself, every day.

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