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Insights Through the Rearview Mirror, December 18, 2020

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Guest, Michael Golden, How to Use The Golden Mean to Make Better Decisions

Insights Through the Rearview Mirror with Jon Kramer and Paul Kramer

Guest, Michael Golden, How to Use The Golden Mean to Make Better Decisions

Have you ever thought about your decision-making process? Do you even have one? Every one of us has a fascinating story made up of many decisions over the course of our lives. It’s the sum of these decisions that dictate the direction of our journey.

We address:

Should you ever rely on your gut when making big decisions?

How do I minimize the amount of decisions I end up regretting?

What is The Golden Mean and how can I use it to make better decisions?

Jon and Paul welcome Michael Golden, social entrepreneur, award-winning journalist, political reformer, and communication specialist. With a successful, multifaceted career under his belt, Michael demonstrates how even someone with varied passions and continuously shifting interests can still adopt a decision-making framework that allows them to lead a purposeful life and career.


  • Pay attention to your gut. While it isn’t wise to rely solely on your gut for every decision you make, it does indicate what’s driving you. Listening to your gut is a great way to remind you why you were brought to your biggest, most life-changing decisions in the first place, along with the smaller decisions downstream of those overarching ones. And, as it happens, there are times when your gut is what makes or breaks certain decisions. Sometimes, it pays off; other times, you make a decision you regret. In any case, you learn a lesson from the experience that informs your next decision.

  • Accept who you are and let that acceptance guide your decisions. Michael is the type of person whose interests change regularly, which explains the fascinating trajectory of his career. He is successful in spite of that because he doesn’t overanalyze his decisions and takes opportunities as they come. That is who he is as a person, and he refuses to criticize himself for following his gut. He doesn’t even say that it’s a good thing that he jumps around a lot. “It just is, so stop judging yourself about it.”

  • Take advantage of The Golden Mean to Make Better Decisions. The Golden Mean is an ancient concept elevated by the Greeks—Aristotle in particular. It is about finding the midpoint between extremes or finding the virtue between two opposite vices. It’s so easy for us humans to go to either extreme when pursuing anything in life. If you feel that things are starting to get a little too out of your control, you’re probably engaged in an extreme. Slow down, look at the rear-view mirror, and reevaluate your current path. The Golden Mean is ultimately about moderation.


  • Michael’s decision-making framework [04:22]

  • Why Michael made the transition from journalism to television [06:02]

  • How Michael made the decision to take control of his demons [11:10]

  • Understanding your objectives [18:40]

  • The common strand that informs all of Michael’s seemingly unrelated career shifts [22:06]

  • How accepting who you are influences your decisions [27:56]

  • Utilizing The Golden Mean in your decision-making construct [30:40]

  • Is there anything that Michael would have done differently? [34:08]

  • Why you should strive for self-acceptance [38:00]


Michael Golden is a strategist and social innovator who excels at launching and accelerating mission-driven enterprises. His expertise stems from a 25-year career as a national award-winning journalist and co-founder of One Million Degrees, Newsbound, Complete the Degree and Golden Mean Strategies.

Michael is also the author of Unlock Congress and serves as a Senior Fellow at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy.

His commentary has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, FOX News, PBS, NBC, and NPR.

Insights Through the Rearview Mirror

If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Insights Through the Rearview Mirror

During the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, marketing executives, and brothers, Jon and Paul Kramer were discussing the decisions each had made in their lives. The good, bad, big and small and how each of these decisions had informed and transformed their lives.

Out of these heartfelt conversations came the idea of helping others make more considered decision in their lives. And, while there are literally thousands of books on decision making, they started to discuss how to improve on these “how-to” text books to make the art of better decision making easier and more gratifying.

An ongoing theme was “If I knew then what I know now…”

If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Insights Through the Rearview Mirror” is a journey through the decision-making process of interesting people. The question we will attempt to answer is there a decision-making framework that can lead to a more successful process? A way that will help you make better decisions.

In each episode, we will talk to interesting and intriguing guests about the decisions they have made in their lives, exploring the constructs they may have used and the learning that they have found in their very own “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” journey. Through these discussions, we will illuminate and amplify better ways to approach decisions and help you avoid deciding for the wrong reasons.

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