There is a word, supposed to be really simple and relatable, which is now much abused in marketing – insight. If a person has insight into what we humans do or how we react in a particular situation, then their creative output is just going to talk to us in a completely different way and also make us question and think about why we do it.
One of the persons who personifies the word “insight” especially in (but not limited to) personal finance is Carl Richards and the Behavior Gap.
Personally, I remain indebted to Carl Richards, his introduction to the idea of how money is emotional and financial planning is not just investments and most importantly the nudge he gave me to embark on this path. Carl Richards was in India and my organization (being a bank) had invited him to speak on the art of financial planning. Having a nascent interest in it and a long-term plan despite being a marketing professional, I decided to attend it and I am so glad I did.
Carl was warm and funny in his talk and answered all questions patiently. He gave a glimpse into the world of financial planning and how investments could really be a much smaller part of it. After the talk, I emailed him about how I had this plan in my head but I wasn’t sure if it made sense or if I was ready for it. And he replied. Unlike a lot of successful people, he took the effort to encourage and reply to an absolute rookie. One line which he wrote that stayed with me was – “The one thing that separates winners from losers is ACTION”. He made me write my why and a concrete action plan.
As they say, if you write it, you also end up cementing it in your head.
What I love about it: Carl is not big on writing long verbose focus-inducing posts. In his blog, most posts lead into short podcast episodes. He is best-known for his series of napkin sketches in New York Times called “Behavior Gap” where he explores the gap between rational behavior and what really transpires thanks to human behavior. The result is a multitude of simple yet super-effective sketches which are backed by fabulous human insight.
I binged on these sketches while researching for this post and am sure like me you would also simply be smiling and nodding your head to what the sketch is about.
Favourite Sketch: Below are 2 of my favourite sketches. It goes without saying that it is one of the major learnings that I have had in the last few years – enough people will talk about anything they might want to change. But unless you take 1 step and then the next, nothing is going to even stir.
Since I love Carl and his work so much I sort of OD-ed on his sketches while researching for them. So here goes 6 more of the ones which made me think just a little more.
I would suggest everyone should really look up all 30 pages of his sketches and see the beautiful work that Carl has done over the years.