1. Think Big – Dr. Grace Lordan Retirement Wisdom 33:54

Are you thinking big enough about your Retirement? The traditional one-size-fits-all Retirement isn’t the right fit for many people today. You can create a version that’s best for you. Dr. Grace Lordan, author of Think Big, Take Small Steps and Build the Future You Want explains how findings from behavioral science can help you do just that, by overcoming cognitive biases and other obstacles. Many of my favorite books for Retirement aren’t about Retirement, but the principles can give you an edge in thinking big and building your future.

We discuss:

  • Her idea of ME+ in Think Big
  • How the concept of Your Future Self can help you think big
  • Why new can narratives help us
  • When the “stories we tell ourselves” get in our way
  • How cognitive biases present obstacles
  • A cognitive bias many people aren’t aware of – but should be
  • The dangers of all or nothing thinking
  • Why identifying and managing your Time Sinkers can be a game changer
  • How small, positive actions done regularly drive make progress 
  • Why being compassionate toward others matters

Grace Lordan joins us from London.



Dr Grace Lordan is the Founding Director of The Inclusion Initiative and an Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Grace is an economist and her research is focused on quantifying the benefits of inclusion within and across firms, as well as designing interventions that level the playing field for under-represented talent within firms.

Grace is an expert advisor to the UK government sitting on their skills and productivity board, is a member of the UK government’s BEIS social mobility taskforce and is on the Women in Finance Charter’s advisory board.

Her academic writings have been published in top international journals and she has written for the Financial Times and Harvard Business Review. Grace is a regular speaker and advisor to blue chip finance and technology firms.

Think Big, Take Small Steps and Build the Future You Want, is her first book.


For More on Grace Lordan

Think Big, Take Small Steps and Build the Future You Want


SMILE in 2022 – London School of Economics Business Review (a 3 minute read on six life lessons from behavioral science you can put to good use this year)


Podcast Episodes You May Like

How to Begin – Michael Bungay Stanier

The Future You – Brian David Johnson

The Mind-Body Connection and The Rabbit Effect – Kelli Harding

Tiny Habits Can Lead to Big Changes – BJ Fogg


Wise Quotes

On Visualizing Your Future Self

“In behavioral science one of the things we know for sure is that people who visualize their future self in the present are much more likely to invest in themselves. There’s lots of things that are going on that can distract us from investing in our future selves. So, it’s really bringing the idea of yourself, not just the kind of vision and the lifestyle the person will actually have, but what they will actually be doing on a Monday to Friday [basis] in life is really what gets you there –  through imagination. I can’t reiterate enough how well visualization works  to bring the future to life. But it also works to bring the future into the present day, which is really when you needed to get motivated to take these small steps that will get you there.”

On Small Steps and a New Narrative

“I think fundamentally the stories that we tell ourselves define our actions. So if you believe that you don’t deserve something, you’re probably never going to get it. If you believe that you don’t belong to be in a particular situation, you’re unlikely to find yourself in that situation. If you believe that you don’t have enough time, which is a common kind of self-destructive narrative, then you’re you’re definitely not going to be able to do the things that you want to do. And part of the book Think Big is exploring the narratives that are holding you back. You can spend a lot of time with CBT and wrestling with yourself in order to try to disrupt those narratives, but I sometimes say: Actually why not get on with it and write a new narrative? So figure out how would you describe the person that you want to be in 5 years time. What are the actions that they’re taking daily? And now you start taking those actions – those really, really small steps.  And I think there’s there’s a blurry line somewhere where you become that person, if you repeat those actions over a very long period of time.”

On Cognitive Biases

“One of the kind of biases that people have studied the most is Loss Aversion. This is the idea that if I lose something it causes my happiness to deteriorate much more than it would gain if I if I had gained the same thing on the other side. For me when I think about success, one the most interesting things is this idea of anticipated loss aversion. So there’s really great evidence has shown that the majority of people when they anticipate a negative event coming, they really overestimate the impact of the negative event is going to have on them as a person. So if you can imagine yourself putting out there being nervous about being turned down for a gig. The idea is when you’re imagining that you think it’s going to feel much worse than it actually is. I think the sad fact of that anticipation or anxiety, as it would manifest in some people, is that it does give real physiological reactions. So blood pressure increases, body tension increases, and your head aches. And it often stops people taking action.Had the person actually gone and tried what they wanted to do, had they even failed the negative impact on their happiness will be much less than what they anticipated it to be – because as human beings we’re really, really resilient.”


About Retirement Wisdom

Planning for Retirement goes well beyond your 401k or IRA. How will you invest your time after your full-time working years?

You’ll need another portfolio.

I help people create a multipurpose Retirement, with the right mix of interests, activities and pursuits to invest your time wisely. And for many it includes a new version of work in some form– redefined on your own terms.

Schedule a call to see if a 1-on-1 program or a small group Designing Your New Life program can give you an edge in your next chapter.

Visit retirementwisdom.com for tools and resources to help you retire smarter.


Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet