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She Doesn’t Settle

Jan 12, 2022

This week, I cannot wait to introduce you to Nika Kabiri, a decision science specialist who helps people get real, move forward, and minimize regret. She has spent over two decades studying how people make decisions in various contexts, from business to politics to relationships. She's also been featured in Fast Company, Yahoo News, and as a top 10 coach in LA Weekly. Nika contributes to media sources like The Hill, Huffington Post, and Inside Sources, and she's regularly featured on podcasts, radio, and TV. She is also co-author of the bestselling book Money off the Table: Decision Science and the Secret to Smarter Investing, and is currently a faculty member at the University of Washington, where she teaches Decision Science. As the founder and owner of Kabiri Consulting, Nika employs decision science principles to help businesses start, grow, and thrive. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Washington, where her academic focus was on choice theory, institutional analysis, and decision making with constraint, and she also has a JD from the University of Texas. I'm telling you, this lady knows her stuff!

Nika starts by talking about how she got to where she is today, not only professionally but personally as well, including dealing with depression in her 20s, her experience with therapy and pharmaceuticals, how she resolved to own her choices, and the first decisions she made after coming to this realization. She also discusses her struggle with decision-making as a child, her experience in law school and in the legal profession, the moment when she realized law was not for her, and offers some wisdom on what to do in today's environment with the overload of advice and information from social media and influencers. She explains what she teaches in Decision Science at the university, elaborates on her book Money off the Table: Decision Science and the Secret to Smarter Investing and touches on other books she has in the works. She ends by discussing how a poor decision impacts your next big decision, approaching bad decisions as experiments, and the most painful decision she had to make. A true leader in her field with a wealth of personal experience to draw upon as well, Nika Kabiri has so much valuable knowledge to share – don't miss this golden opportunity to soak up the wisdom she is offering us all here today.

And, as always, if there is ever a topic you would like me to discuss, a guest you'd like me to interview on the podcast, or feedback you wish to offer, please feel free to contact me at - I would love to hear from you!

The Finer Details of This Episode:

  • Nika Kabiri's professional story through graduate school and early career
  • Her personal story of dealing with depression and her experience with therapy
  • Her resolve to make and own her own choices
  • Decisions you make before you make your decisions
  • Nika's decision to quit her meds and substitute them with rigorous exercise
  • Dealing with insomnia
  • The consequence of micro-decisions you make every day
  • The importance of your physical health in decision making
  • Nika's experience with law school and the legal profession
  • Nika's struggle with decision-making as a child
  • What to do with the overload of advice and information today from influencers and social media
  • What decision science is all about
  • Removing emotions as the sole factor that drives your choices
  • Highlights from Money off the Table: Decision Science and the Secret to Smarter Investing, and another upcoming book
  • The notion of anticipated regret and how a wrong decision impacts your next big decision


"Make some choices, like, own your choices. Don't let the therapist make your choices for you. Don't let your psychiatrist make your choices for you. Don't let people around you do that for you. Let them inform your choices, but own your life."

“To make really good decisions, you have to be well-rested, you have to eat well—you can't be hungry—you have to have very little stress. So there have to be these certain kinds of physiological, physical conditions that maximize your chances of not being impulsive, not taking risks, and all of that.”

"It's like micro-decisions that you have every day that, if you make them the wrong way, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but you suddenly start to slide into this bad place."

"Your physical health is so important in decision making so don't underestimate that."

"Everything that is not going to work for you is more likely to happen when you are sleep-deprived, nutrition-deprived, exercise-deprived."

"There's a terrible price you pay when you're not making your own choices, and you're doing what other people want you to do."

"At some point, it was less about being a lawyer and having that career than it was proving to myself that I was not depressed, I wasn't going to slip, I wasn't going to have suicidal thoughts, and that I was going to actually be normal."

"A lot of times what one person sees as regretful another person might not, and might just be your interpretation, it might be the way that your upbringing has taught you to interpret certain things."

A kind of particular type of being stuck is that we're afraid to make other choices because we have these bad decision outcomes from the past. But my hack on that is really just, you know, it's an experiment.”

Show Links:

Kelly's homepage - 

She Doesn't Settle – The Experience -

Social: @kellythealth

Nika Kabiri Website –

Nika Kabiri Twitter –

Nika Kabiri LinkedIn –

Money off the Table: Decision Science and the Secret to Smarter Investing -

How to Change a Misinformed Mind -