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Resparkle Through the Power of Noticing | Cass Sunstein (ep. 650)

Cass Sunstein

John O’Leary welcomes Cass Sunstein on the Live Inspired Podcast to share how disrupting our well-worn routines allow us to live happier and more fulfilling lives.

When it’s common to feel jaded and unexcited in the monotony of our day-to-day lives, Cass Sunstein explores how we can begin noticing the wonderful things that spark meaning and joy.

Cass is the nation’s most-cited legal scholar and is at the forefront of behavioral economics. For nearly two decades, he has served in the US government in multiple capacities and worked with the United Nations and the World Health Organization. He’s written hundreds of articles and dozens of books about society and culture.

Today, Cass joins us to share his groundbreaking study of how disrupting our well-worn routines – both good and bad – can rejuvenate our days and reset our brains to allow us to live happier and more fulfilling lives.

My friends, if you or someone you love is years into a dream job, a happy relationship, or a beloved home and beginning to feel ho hum, this conversation will awaken you to feel happier, healthier and more alive… in other words, ‘resparkle’!

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  • In high school, Cass earned the nickname “Boxer” not for fighting but in reference to working harder when things went wrong.
  • When deciding between going to law school or earning a PhD in literature, Cass saw law leading to a greater purpose.
  • Under the Obama administration, Cass is proud of his work around TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry and wishes he was able to reduce the billions of hours of paperwork burdens required by Americans.
  • Cass Sunstein’s New York Times bestselling book Nudge focuses on how we make choices and how we can make better ones. Get a copy here.
  • Optimistic bias is the belief that they themselves are less likely to experience a negative event, or that things will work out for them.
  • “To become an extremist, hang around with people that you agree with.” – Get a copy of Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide here.
  • “Members of a democratic public will not do well if they are unable to appreciate the views of their fellow citizens, if they believe in quotes, fake news, or if they see one another as enemies or as adversaries in some kind of war.”
  • “Humans habituate. We stop noticing what’s amazing around us.”
  • Through dishabituation, you can rediscover the sparkle of every aspect of life and appreciate the things you may have been taking for granted.
  • In our 20s, we are generally more fully alive versus having more security in our later years. “If you look at a colored photograph for a long time without moving your eyes, the colors disappear. That’s what happens in midlife crisis. Everything’s turned gray.”
  • How can you make things resparkle? Take a break (real or in your head) and change your environment. When you return you’ll have a renewed sense of appreciation.
  • Get a copy of Cass Sunstein’s latest book Look Again: The Power of Noticing What Was Always There here.

Are looking for opportunities to ‘resparkle’? I invite you to take my IN AWE 21-Day Challenge. Created to break through the echo chamber of negativity and growing concerns, this program reminds us of the freedom of focusing on things we can control and the truth that the best is yet to come. Join the IN AWE 21-Day Challenge at ReadInAwe.com.

Did you enjoy today’s conversation? 

You’ll love my conversation with Ingrid Fetell Lee! Design expert Ingrid Fetell Lee has spent over a decade researching the relationship between happiness + our surroundings. This conversation will empower you to be more intentional on what joy means to you and dedicating yourself to finding more joy in life and at work. Listen to Ingrid Fetell Lee on ep. 384.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Possession by A. S. Byatt.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. I had probably a stronger sense of wonder and amazement then than I do now.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My laptop.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. William Shakespeare.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. From psychologist Amos Tversky, who said he's an optimist. And the reason that he's an optimist is it's rational because if you're a pessimist, you suffer twice
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. It's going to be great.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. He got lucky.