When we set goals, we’re excited, engaged and motivated to complete them. But after a while, the momentum can slow, we lose enthusiasm and we start cutting corners. The “middle problem” is something we can all relate to. And it's one of the topics we discuss on this episode with Dr Ayelet Fisbach PhD

Ayelet teaches us about staying motivated, without cutting corners. How our identity, flexibility and patience actually affect our goals. And perhaps, most importantly, why we should set ourselves uncomfortable goals and learn from our failures.

Talking with Ayelet on Behavioral Grooves was a true privilege for us. She is one of the few researchers on the planet who blend motivation and goal setting into their work, and her groundbreaking research has won her a bunch of international awards. She is the Jeffrey Breckenridge Keller Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and also the recent author of Get it Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation (https://amzn.to/3f3ooh4).

Can we motivate some of our regular listeners to support our podcast via Patreon  https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves? Or perhaps your 2022 goal is to tell your favorite podcasters how much you love their show?! We’d love to help you achieve that goal; just click here if you’re an Apple podcast listener: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/behavioral-grooves-podcast/id1303870112 or write a review on your favorite podcast player.


(6:18) Welcome and speed round.

(9:19) What tools do we have to motivate ourselves?

(10:18) Why flexible goals are vital.

(14:11) Exceeding your own expectations is when you feel good about your goals.

(16:45) The problem with the middle.

(18:47) We can all get tripped up by the planning fallacy.

(21:28) Set goals, not means (goals aren’t chores).

(24:57) How does our identity affect our goals?

(28:29) The different ways patience plays a part in goals.

(30:59) Why identifying temptations can help you avoid them.

(34:04) How food labels could improve our eating habits.

(38:28) Setting an uncomfortable goal can actually be rewarding.

(44:12) Learning from failure. 

(49:35) How Ayelet engages with music.

(52:05) Grooving Session discussing Ayelet’s research.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves



Write a review for Behavioral Grooves podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/behavioral-grooves-podcast/id1303870112 

Ayelet Fishbach, “Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation”: https://amzn.to/3f3ooh4

Ayelet Fishbach: https://www.ayeletfishbach.com/

The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success: https://amzn.to/34de2sS 

Abigail Sussman: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/s/abigail-sussman 

Second city: https://www.secondcity.com/ 

Episode 228. Kelly Leonard, Getting to Yes, And…Behavioral Grooves: Two Podcasts in One: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/getting-to-yes-and/

Paul Bloom, “The Sweet Spot: Suffering, Pleasure and the Key to a Good Life”: https://amzn.to/32QfmBS

Episode 274, Paul Bloom: Why Finding Pleasure in Life is a Painful Journey: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/pleasure-is-a-painful-journey/

Ethan Kross, “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It”: https://amzn.to/32Vj0Ks

Carol Dweck, “Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfill Your Potential”: https://amzn.to/3GjBvGp 

Societies around the world are getting older; a combination of people living longer and having fewer children. The 85+ population is now the fastest growing demographic on the planet. The causes and, more importantly the impacts of living longer are significant, both for society and as individuals. This is what we discuss in this episode with Bradley Shurman, a demographic futurist, who has authored the recently published book The Super Age: Decoding our Demographic Destiny (https://amzn.to/3tYus39). 

Bradley shines a light on the crucial topic of ageing. He reveals the shocking truth about the impact of wealth on our longevity. And he shares his two surprising tips on how to live a long and meaningful life. As always, we round up our episode with our Grooving Session where Kurt and Tim dwell on some of the take-aways from the conversation with Bradley. 

If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through Patreon  https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves. We also love reading your reviews on the podcast. We recently had a listener write a simple “Thank you for this podcast” in the review section, and believe us when we say that just that one small sentence made our day! 


(2:56) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:14) What is a Super Age society?

(11:29) How improving infant mortality rates has flipped the world’s demographics around.

(14:39) What are the impacts on society of fixing youth mortality?

(22:37) How Bradley was influenced by his grandparents' experience of aging. 

(24:54) The shocking correlation between wealth and longevity. 

(30:43) The universal trend of people wanting to die at home.

(34:06) If you’re not learning, you’re not earning. 

(37:47) What is on Bradley’s playlist?

(39:47) Grooving Session discussing what we learned from Bradley.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves



Groovy Snacks Newsletter: www.behavioralgrooves.com 

The Super Age: Decoding our Demographic Destiny: https://amzn.to/3tYus39 

Dolly Chugh, Episode 230, How Good People Fight Bias: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/how-good-people-fight-bias/

Musical Links

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyTa_gJkYwI 

Ella Fitzgerald, live in Berlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5WQfkRZKFc 

Why do people train for a marathon? Listen to sad music? Eat really spicy food? All of these activities induce a painful response, yet they also bring us pleasure. We often set ourselves up for negative experiences because it primes us for positive ones further down the line. There is a balance, a sweet spot if you will, between the amount of pleasure we experience and the suffering that it takes to get us there.

World-renowned psychologist and author Paul Bloom, joins us on this episode to discuss his most recent book The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning (https://amzn.to/3Kmpweh). He challenges our definition of a fulfilling life, and why we actually NEED suffering to be part of it.

We are so conditioned in our culture to only seek out pleasure that even the notion of reading about suffering was not particularly appealing to us, well to Tim - it turns out Kurt might be somewhat of a benign masochist! But from the get-go, Paul’s compelling narrative convinced us that suffering can be motivating. Listen in and tell us if you think there is a sweet spot, and then reach out to us on email (info@behavioralgrooves.com), on Twitter (@behavioralgroov) or write us a quick review about the show (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/behavioral-grooves-podcast/id1303870112). Thanks!



(4:40) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:24) Why do we choose suffering?

(11:24) Do we really only seek pleasure?

(13:40) We often have mistaken ideas about what we want.

(16:16) Looking beyond happiness; what we actually pursue for a meaningful life.

(22:24) How can suffering help pleasure?

(24:59) How being in a state of flow explains the sweet spot.

(28:27) Why are people driven to climb Everest? 

(32:32) What are the unpleasant sensations that people do not pursue?

(34:37) Pain then pleasure or pleasure then pain?

(36:13) The effect of the peak-end rule.

(38:40) Why do we want to listen to sad music? 

(45:11) Grooving Session discussing how Paul’s work can improve our lives.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



“The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning” by Paul Bloom: https://amzn.to/3Kmpweh 

Shaquille O’Neal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaquille_O%27Neal

“Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind” by Wilson et al (2014): https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1250830?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed 

Paul Rozin: https://web.sas.upenn.edu/rozin/

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: https://amzn.to/3qyLRgB  

“A psychologically rich life: Beyond happiness and meaning” by Oishi and Westage (2021): https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2021-74886-001

“Anticipation and the valuation of delayed consumption.” by George Loewenstein (1987): https://www.jstor.org/stable/2232929 

Episode 67, George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom:  https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/george-loewenstein-on-a-functional-theory-of-boredom/

“When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End” by Kahneman et al (1993): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1993.tb00589.x 

Jeremy Bentham: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Bentham 

Richard Tedeschi, The Science of Post-Traumatic Growth: https://scottbarrykaufman.com/podcast/richard-tedeschi-the-science-of-post-traumatic-growth/ 

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran: https://amzn.to/329fN9O 

Episode 207, Jonathan Mann: Is it Possible to Design an Experience? https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/jonathan-mann-is-it-possible-to-design-an-experience/


Musical Links 

Adele “Someone Like You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLQl3WQQoQ0 

Alice Cooper “Poison”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq4j1LtCdww 

Pink Floyd “On The Turning Away”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojf18wT_Xtk 

Eminem “Lose Yourself”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yhyp-_hX2s 

The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbNlMtqrYS0 

Joan Armatrading “Consequences”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otq9VBa6a0s 

David Bowie & Nine Inch Nails “Hurt”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhhEHuChFck&ab_channel=redsails2008 

Billy Joel “Piano Man”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxEPV4kolz0 

Violent String Quartet “Bad Guy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWUbCwmBmgE 

BX Arabia is a regional behavioral insights conference that started in 2018 to emphasize the application of behavioral science in the Global South. Kurt and Tim were fortunate to be invited to moderate at the latest event, affording them the opportunity to have conversations with some of the region's most amazing BeSci thinkers. This episode highlights some of the unique insights from these conversations, with input from the following experts:

  • Faisal Naru: Executive Director of the Policy Innovation Unit in the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
  • Dr. Ahmed Al Zahrani: Minister Deputy and Chair of G20 as well as the Executive Director of the Riyadh Behavioral Insight Center in the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development in Saudi Arabia.
  • Saud Al Rakhayes: Founder and Senior Behavioral Strategist at The Behavior Change.
  • Aditya Jagati: Leader of the Busara Center’s offices in India.
  • Wiam Hasanain: Behavioral scientist and social impact advisor based in Jetta, Saudi Arabia.
  • Nabil Saleh: Vice President Strategy at Nudge Lebanon.
  • Ivo Vlaev: Professor of Behavioral Science at Warwick Business School, UK.

Many of the examples of behavioral science discussed highlight that the Global South has some unique needs in the field. However, an overarching theme is that context matters! The root of successful behavioral science ideas come from encompassing the surrounding culture and environment. 

BX Arabia was founded by Fadi Makki, who is also the leader of B4 Development in Doha, Qatar. He left us with these inspirational words: “Unlearn all the old habits that are anchored in intuition, and then embrace, evidence-based policies and tools such as experimentation.”


(2:14) What makes BX Arabia unique? 

(5:58) The growth of behavioral science agencies around the world.

(8:13) How behavioral science is being integrated into public policy globally.

(11:46) Why good intentions aren’t enough to deal with wicked problems.

(23:36) The need for more behavioral scientists in the Global South.

(26:25) How behavioral science improved traffic flow in Beruit.

(31:15) The success of weight loss programs using behavioral insights.

(36:50) The large-scale nudges that are being studied at the FIFA World Cup in 2022.


BX Arabia: https://nudgelebanon.org/bx-arabia/ 

Diversifi: https://www.diversifiglobal.com/ 

Behavioral Change For Good Initiative: https://bcfg.wharton.upenn.edu/ 

Episode 272, Jeff Madoff:  How To Turn Your Creative Dreams Into Reality: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/creativity-jeff-madoff/

John Bargh, Episode 248: Do We Control Situations or Do Situations Control Us? https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/control-situations-with-john-bargh/

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves

If you have a creative vision, how do you focus your skills on making it happen? Can you turn your dream into a career? How can we encourage more creative entrepreneurs? And can we incorporate more creativity into an analytical job?

Jeff Madoff is an American director, producer, photographer, writer and professor living in New York City. He is the founder and CEO of Madoff Productions, winning awards for his commercials and videos AND he is a die hard music loving fan.

In his upcoming production of The Lloyd Price Musical, Jeff learnt a valuable lesson of asking himself the question “is it essential?” Even work that is funny and engaging, may not be an essential part of the bigger story. “Is it essential?” is a challenging question for all of us but can be incredibly useful at keeping us focused on reaching our goals. 

In our discussion with Jeff, he dispels the myth that you are either creative or analytical. And he brings home to us the importance of listening. Listening not just to form an appropriate response, but listening in order to fully understand the other person. 

Fans of Behavioral Grooves, please consider leaving us a review on your podcast player. If you listen on Apple, here is the podcast review page for Behavioral Grooves to get you started: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/behavioral-grooves-podcast/id1303870112

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



(3:31) Welcome and speed round questions.

(10:11) How to encourage creative careers.

(16:58) Turning your passion into a career.

(22:36) How to weave creativity into any job.

(25:43) When the creative world and the business world meet.

(29:41) Learning to ask “Is it essential?”

(42:25) What is on Jeff’s playlist? 

(46:53) How entrepreneurs can be creative.

(53:48) The story behind The Lloyd Price Musical.

(1:04:06) Grooving Session discussing Jeff’s interview.



Creative Careers: Making a Living with Your Ideas by Jeff Madoff: https://amzn.to/3pXmogM

Gregory Peck: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Peck 

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie: https://amzn.to/3eYxbRE 

The Lloyd Price Musical: https://www.peopleslight.org/whats-on/20212022-season/personality-the-lloyd-price-musical/ 


Musical Links 

Frank Zappa “Montana”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmcYTShN4Fk 

Buddy Guy “Stay Around A Little Longer”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emyt-agLE_s 

Slim Harpo “I’m a King Bee”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWLvm11MAaM 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Woke Up This Morning”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BATlJwKB8ts 

Muddy Waters “Mannish Boy”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSfqNEvykv0 

Chuck Berry “Sweet Little Sixteen”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLV4NGpoy_E 

Jimi Hendrix “Foxey Lady”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PVjcIO4MT4 

Link Ray “Rawhide”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn5hl2IA7_s 

Howlin Wolf “How Many More Years”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpKB6OZ_B4c 

Stevie Ray Vaughan “Texas Flood”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC5H9P4F5Uk 


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