Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Did I make the right choices in my life?

Written by: on October 21, 2021

Daniel Kahneman, the author of Thinking, fast and slow, has achieved enormous markers in his life as a renowned psychologist, emeritus professor of Princeton University, and winner of Noble prize in Economics. The international bestseller, Thinking, fast and slow, educates the reader to become more conscious and reflect upon one’s own decision-making process. The author’s elaborate, profound, and genius demonstration of logics and usage in numbers prove how human reasoning is flawed and full of possible errors when it comes to decision making. Kahneman presents another level of perspective by explaining understanding of human judgments and decision making. Throughout the book, the author compares and contrasts between automatic operation of system 1 and controlled operations of system 2 to introduce the hybrid nature of decision-making process. I will definitely need more time to read it over couple more times in order to fully comprehend it because the book is thick and full of complex contents.

Couple weeks ago, I finished watching the new global hit Korean drama series Squid Game on Netflix. I didn’t appreciate all the gruesome and brutal killing scenes, but I was fascinated by the survival game plot and character developments in the drama. Also, the survival games that was sketched throughout the drama took me back to my childhood memories because almost all the Koreans my age did actually grow up playing red light- green light, Squid game, and licking on Dalgona candy.[1]

I noticed two important factors that contributed to Squid game’s success in appeal to the global audience. One came from Netflix’s automatic system 1 ability to abolish communicating wall by subtitling and audio tracking in multiple languages and it’s fast ability to market it globally. Also, I thought the greatest factor came from genius development and display of many real and connectible character from all levels of personality that exists in every ethnic society. Every character was a failure and they were offered a last chance in life to win big by playing with their lives. These characters were developed and fabulously acted in a way where every human being in the world can somehow identify with one of them as themselves or a failure they know as a close friend or family member. Throughout the drama, the characters display selfish, sinful, and greed driven decision-making process that switches between system 1 and system 2.

As I worked through Kahneman’s book, I questioned myself this question: ‘Where does all of our life decision making ultimately lead to?’ Kahneman’s life-long exploration invites the readers to examine their own life decision-making process and learn to make better decisions by learning to both think fast and slow at the same time. In our technologically advanced age of amazon 1-click culture, everyone is trained more and more to think fast and act fast. Every competent and goal driven adult has growing list of demanding emails and personal things-to-do lists. The world is spinning faster and faster that we are never required to think slow anymore. The author wrote, “Memory also holds the vast repertory of skills we have acquired in a lifetime of practice, which automatically produce adequate solutions to challenges as they arise.”[2] Most of the numbers and probabilities presented in the book represents human limits in best decision making based on life experiences, education background, and rational and irrational personal judgements combined into profit margins within 100%. If I were to add in a biblical perspective in decision making process, I would demonstrate the gospel reality beyond human limits where Jesus promised bearing harvest in 30 folds, 60 folds, and 100 folds! That can be taken in two ways. One is to simply take it as 3000%, 6000%, 100000% on the decisions you make or if we were to take it in a compound multiplication of 100% on each fold, then it becomes : 30 folds = 1,073,701,824 or 60 folds = 1,151,973,021,073,889,216 or 100 folds = 1,201,064,595,207,167,685,882,431,343,616. That is a number too big for me to handle~

Kahnman concludes his book by reflecting upon the ultimate question of life: Did I make the right choices in my life? Not only do I want to better my thinking by thinking fast and slow, but I want to add another aspect of thinking with my 3 (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) As I finished the last sentence of the book, I prayed to God (to me God is the system 3 – the ultimate and perfect trinitarian system 3), ‘Lord help me to make the right decisions in my life completely dependent on you! I need you Lord today so much more than yesterday!’

[1] Dalgona candy – here’s how to make it if you want to try some, your kids will love it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9uhgf0ISJs

[2] Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), 416.

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

7 responses to “Did I make the right choices in my life?”

  1. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Johnathan: Your posts are always interesting to read. i liked how you distilled Kahneman’s book to the bottom line–and on a personal note: “Did I make the correct choices in my life?” Books like this one help us reevaluate our choices, both professional and personal. With the benefit of hindsight and maturity, we can better see our mistakes more clearly than when we were in our twenties and thirties. This book helps us more objectively understand how we come to our decisions and therefore it helps us in the future. Onward and upward, right?

  2. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, to quote and old Saturday Night Live line, “I was told there’d be no math!” I really appreciate you introducing God’s role and sovereignty in decision-making. I’ve often thought back to decisions I’ve made and wondered what different outcomes there would be, but I’ve tried to remember that I can only take what I’ve learned and what I know and ask God to help me make the best decisions I can make at this time. Is there a way you have regularly invited God to help you make decisions?

  3. mm Eric Basye says:


    So much fun to read your posts as they are so culturally educational for me! I LOVE that one of your footnotes was how to make Dalgona candy… I am very intrigued! Lastly, I very much appreciate bringing the spiritual realm into the questions of life. If we didn’t have the Holy Spirt (or a loving and merciful God), it all seems quite hopeless. Well done.

  4. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Jonathan – I love the illustration of God being your System 3; such an interesting perspective. I completely agree that in a society of thinking and acting fast that we can lose the ability to think slow. I often see this play out when I work with college students in their discomfort with the discipline of silence and solitude because it would leave them alone with their thoughts. Perhaps you see it too with the youth in your church. Thanks for another thoughtful reflection.

  5. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Jonathan, I am loving that you connected this to The Squid Games. I of course will not be one to watch it because I just can’t handle watching gruesome. My son watched it and really enjoyed it (he also mentioned the themes you did). I am guessing the characters in the show didn’t really have the time or awareness to apply both fast and slow thinking lololol
    As you ponder if you make the right choices, how do you balance utilizing both fast and slow thinking with the other truth that even when we are thinking we are thinking well we still can make the wrong choices? How does Kahneman’s 2-selves play into your evaluation of thinking?
    BTW…your math problem caused a hostile environment for me 🙂

  6. Elmarie Parker says:

    Johnathan, thank you for your post. I too loved that you included a footnote link for making Dalgona candy! It’s on my list for new experiences–thank you.

    Even more, I appreciated your reflection on making wise decisions shaped by the System 3 of the Triune God at home in you. I’m curious how (of if) you experience the dialectic of fast and slow thinking (system 1 and system 2) in the context of your prayerful conversations with God?

  7. mm Andy Hale says:

    Jonathan, you ask some really challenging questions that have me thinking about angles I didn’t pick up on in my reading of the book. I love the nuance of thinking about our life decisions, especially vocationally.

    I think a lot of ministers are thinking at this point in the pandemic, “Am I called to this, or am I certifiably insane.”

    In a conversation recently with Andrew Root, he reminded me that vocational ministry is still genuinely close to the heart of God as we see Jesus living out the full expression of God’s goodness to love and serve others.

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