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Daniel Pink: Change the Situation, Not the Person

Jamie Hopkins - October 3, 2022 - 0 comments

In trying to make positive changes – whether to our diet, exercise regime or finances – we tend to focus on our own behaviors and our own will. But maybe change isn’t just about the individual, argues bestselling author Daniel Pink. Maybe change will come if we put ourselves in situations that make better behaviors easier to accomplish.

Daniel has been trying to figure out what makes people tick for years. In his seven books, Daniel, once a speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore, explores human behavior. His aim is to understand why people do the things they do, exploring topics such as regret, timing and motivation. His conclusion: Americans assign too much importance to the individual and not enough to the environment in which individuals find themselves.

“There were all these public information campaigns about saving for retirement,” Daniel says. “Then policymakers came up with a negative option. You’re enrolled automatically and you can uncheck the box (if you don’t want to save). That ended up being the most effective thing.”

It worked because the situation made it easy for people to save. Being intentional about the situation we put ourselves in can result in better behaviors around other issues, too, Daniel says.

In today’s episode, Daniel joins Ana and Jamie to talk about how to make meaningful change, how to have respectful conversations in our divisive culture, how to break through a scarcity mindset and why more Olympic speed records are broken between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m.

Key Takeaways

  • Human behavior is an interplay between the person and the situation.
  • Most life situations are not zero-sum. Positive-sum thinking can lift up everyone.
  • While the political discourse may make it feel like our society is more fraught than ever, it’s important to remember how far we’ve come in the last 200 years.


“Human behavior is the product of the person and the situation, so if you only change the person – it’s hard to change people – sometimes it’s easier to change the situation.” – Daniel Pink


Carson Group is committed to helping everyone achieve financial freedom. Schedule a consultation to learn how to help your clients adopt better money habits.

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