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Episode #1 | Dr. Daniel Crosby: Money – We’re Not Wired for Contentment

“It’s a lesson to me and I hope to others, to enjoy the journey, to try and find beauty in the mundane—because we are programmed to never really arrive.”

– Dr. Daniel Crosby


“You’re Just Not That Great” is not only the title of Dr. Daniel Crosby’s extremely popular TEDx talk, but it is also the framework through which he shares a wide range of insights that can improve our finances and personal lives. Through a discussion of how our primal brains are alive, well, and driving all sorts of havoc, Daniel guides us to find ways to think critically about what drives our behaviors and how we can override our age-old mental hardwiring.

About Dr. Daniel Crosby

daniel crosby true WELLth podcast

Educated at Brigham Young and Emory Universities, Dr. Daniel Crosby is a psychologist and behavioral finance expert who helps organizations understand the intersection of mind and markets. Dr. Crosby’s first book, Personal Benchmark: Integrating Behavioral Finance and Investment Management, was a New York Times bestseller. His second book, The Laws of Wealth, was named the best investment book of 2017 by the Axiom Business Book Awards and translated into five languages. His latest work, The Behavioral Investor, is a comprehensive look at the neurology, physiology, and psychology of sound financial decision making. When not focused on market psychology, Daniel enjoys exploring the American South, fanatically following St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and spending time with his wife and three children.

Show Notes

Dr. Daniel Crosby was recommended as a true WELLth guest by a senior colleague at Brighton Jones who had heard him deliver a riveting speech at a major industry conference. Once I researched his professional credentials and accomplishments, I knew right away he’d have some excellent insights for true WELLth listeners.

In the course of setting up our interview, I came to know Dr. Crosby a bit better on a personal level and found him an absolute delight. His passion for his topic of research shines bright and draws you in. The same goes for his kind heart and repeated examples of small human kindness (read: when I had to reschedule our taping not once, but twice!).

What I loved about this episode was Dr. Crosby’s transparent, blunt, and evidence-based observations about human nature. Most of us have been told over and over (and over!) that life is a journey, enjoy the ride. But Dr. Crosby takes us behind that statement by describing what is going on in our heads that produces the feeling of contentment, particularly when it comes to money and status so elusive.

I also found profound personal truth in his discussion about the “knowing-doing” gap and find myself referring back to that notion frequently as I try to implement some of my personal goals. Examples include going to bed no later than 10 p.m., working in intense 90-minute blocks with all digital devices turned off, scheduling sacrosanct time for both daily rest and recovery and “digital detox” vacations. So far, I’ve been a #TotalFail on the last two, but merely being aware of the brain science behind the knowing-doing gap helps me #BeginAgain each day with trying to take baby steps toward ingraining these new habits.

Listeners to this podcast come from all ages, income levels, and work situations. But I would be shocked if you didn’t find at least one nugget of gold in this episode that inspires you to make a change in the way you think or act.

Manisha’s Top Takeaways

  1. Loss aversion is at odds, in many ways, with modern life.
    Daniel Crosby shared the fascinating conclusion that our tendency for loss aversion when it comes to investing is not a sign of weakness; instead, it’s an evolutionary strength that kept us alive as a species. Alas, our brains have not had an “upgrade” in thousands of years and are not equipped to deal with many of the complexities of modern life. When it comes to money, you can mitigate this challenge through the twin tools of automating and outsourcing your finances. [10:00]
  2. The real value of financial advisors
    When it comes to improving your financial wellbeing, the real value of a financial advisor comes not in trying to help you find the hot new investment but rather by keeping you in your primal brain from making a handful of catastrophic financial decisions or errors from which you’ll never be able to recover [16:30]
  3. Embrace imperfections
    A great weight is lifted when you make peace with the understanding that just like every other human out there, you have flaws. What’s more, Dr. Crosby posits that only when you acknowledge that you are remarkably ordinary can you quiet your ego enough to craft anything truly unique. [3:00]

Other Major Topics

  • What the “knowing-doing” gap is and how it is likely hurting you [5:00]
  • Why buying a large house is one of the worst investments in your overall happiness [11:45]
  • The four key traits of “investor stupidity” and how to protect yourself from them [14:15]

Resources Cited in the Episode


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