1,5 Minutes on Influence: Kahneman and Achieving Your Goals

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,



This week, our 1 minute is dedicated to Prof. Daniel Kahneman, who we sadly lost yesterday. A titan in the field of behavioural economics, Kahneman’s work has profoundly influenced us at SUE. Often hailed as the ‘grandfather’ of behavioural economics, he was actually the grandfather figure I would have wished to have.

These are 5 reasons why he was so special:

1.     The Simplicity of His Groundbreaking Theory
Kahneman showed us that human thinking could be divided into two systems: fast, intuitive thinking (System 1) and slow, logical thinking (System 2). This elegantly simple idea revolutionized our understanding of decision-making. Dr. Kahneman discovered that people often rely on mental shortcuts, leading to decisions that go against their own best interests. This know-how helps us make better decisions and understand how we can shape behaviours for the better.

2.     The Wit of His Quotes
Kahneman had a way with words that captured complex ideas in a nutshell. Consider these gems:

“Human beings are to thinking as cats are to swimming.
They can do it, but they prefer not to.”


“We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know.”


3.     The Creative Genius of His Experiments
Kahneman’s experiments, a fusion of intelligence and curiosity, explored the unique aspects of the human mind. Take his revealing study on colonoscopies, for instance: he found that if the discomfort decreased towards the procedure’s end, people remembered the entire experience more favorably, even if it lasted longer. This insight into the selective way we remember things sheds light on the intricate workings of human psychology, highlighting how our final impressions can profoundly shape our memories.

4.     His Special Work Relationship with Amos Tversky
Kahneman and Tversky’s partnership was nothing short of legendary. They shared a typewriter and would toss a coin to decide whose name would be listed first on their collaborative papers, as their ideas had become indistinguishably intertwined.

5.     The Range of Domains He Influenced
From the military to helping baseball scouts to evaluate talent, from governments making better public policies to leadership teams to become less leaderless, the impact of his work was widespread.

Daniel Kahneman’s legacy is a testament to the transformative power of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.

Let us all strive to embody these three powerful ‘C’s in our daily lives.

At SUE, we will continue to build on the foundation he laid,
Forever mindful of his profound impact on our understanding,
of the human mind and behaviour. He will be missed.


Further reading, watching and learning:

Kahneman fast and slow thinking explained
System 1 and 2 quick guide
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
Daniel Kahneman | Talks at Google
Learn yourself how to apply Kahneman’s thinking


With spring blossoming around us, it’s the perfect moment for a fresh start. Did you know that the start of a new week, month, or even a birthday can dramatically boost your motivation to achieve your goals?

This phenomenon, known as the ‘Fresh Start Effect’, is a psychological boost that empowers us to pursue our goals with renewed vigor. Here’s a little guide on how to make it work for you:

1.     Spot Your New Beginning: Keep an eye out for those dates that naturally feel like a fresh start. It could be the coming of spring, the beginning of a new school term, or just any Monday.

2.     Define What You Want to Achieve: Use these moments as opportunities to set clear, achievable goals. Whether you’re embarking on a fitness journey, learning a new skill, or improving daily habits, clear goals are crucial.

3.     Embrace Your Clean Slate: Fresh start moments offer you a psychological break from your past, including any missteps or setbacks. Treat it as a clean slate, a chance to start anew without the burden of yesterday.

4.     Map Out Your Path: Plan the steps you’ll take towards your goals. A detailed plan transforms your aspirations from wishes into actionable objectives.

So, here’s your takeaway:
Don’t wait for a new year for a fresh start. Every day presents a new opportunity. Let’s use the Fresh Start Effect to kickstart our goals 🌱.


Further reading:

The Fresh-Start Effect: Motivational Boosts Beyond New Years’ Resolutions
The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior


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Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Co-Founder of SUE | Behavioural Design Academy

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