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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

251.The Fun Habit with Mike Rucker

In today’s conversation, I am joined by Dr. Mike Rucker, author of the brand new book, The Fun Habit, which just came out a couple of days ago on January 3, 2023.

Mike is an organizational psychologist and charter member of the International Positive Psychology Association whose work has been published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management and Nutrition Research. His ideas about fun and health have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fast Company, The Telegraph, Psychology Today, Forbes, Vox, Thrive Global, Mindbodygreen, and more. He was named one of ten digital changemakers by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and currently serves as a senior leader at Active Wellness.

And, not surprisingly, today’s conversation is all about fun! We also talk about framing and word choice and how fun and change really do go together. It’s a great chat that I can’t wait to share with you.

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IN A RUSH?

HERE'S A 2 MINUTE TIP.

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SHOW NOTES:

  • [00:41] In today’s conversation, I am joined by Dr. Mike Rucker, author of the brand new book The Fun Habit
  • [02:32] Mike shares about himself and his background. He is an organizational psychologist by trade, but he focuses more on behavioral science. 
  • [02:44] His new book, The Fun Habit looks at living a life more joyfully through the active pursuit of the activities you engage in rather than pursuing happiness. 
  • [04:04] From 2009-2016 he optimized his life and tried to extrapolate as much happiness as he could. 
  • [06:33] He found out that the more he tried to chase happiness the unhappier he was and he wanted to figure out why. 
  • [09:08] We can have more longevity with certain tasks if we add a component that makes it pleasurable for us. We do mundane things – with a little creativity, we can reframe them.  
  • [12:07] If we take control over how we spend our time and bias it towards fun things, ultimately we will perceive the world in a more positive and optimistic light. 
  • [14:41] If you don’t take time off the table for yourself you are not showing up as the best version of yourself. 
  • [16:42] When our lives are overly habituated and we are always doing the same stuff we store those memories as single units.
  • [18:58] Most people live this habituated life and that becomes comfortable, but you forget that you can have a little bit of time for yourself.
  • [20:42] Disruption is a great opportunity for change.  
  • [21:42] The initial step is to sit down and brainstorm what you would like to do more for fun. This could include past hobbies, things you authentically feel connected to, and things you long to do. Par your list down to 8-15 things so it is actionable.
  • [23:34] An important second step is to make sure it is not an exercise of adding things to your already busy life. Mike suggests doing a time audit. 
  • [26:16] We need to swap out the “low-hanging fruit” activities for ones that light us up more. 
  • [27:15] First create space in your schedule. Once you have that, use the list you made to integrate things that are more fun into your life. 
  • [28:29] A lot of times the biggest impact is looking for a way to change an activity so it is better, or adding something on.
  • [30:56] When you hear about fun interventions at work you need to make sure everyone can come in and have fun at the activity in a safe place. Leaders need to be setting an example.  
  • [33:07] Fun in the workplace generally unites you around a common goal. Cohesion comes from wanting to accomplish something together. 
  • [35:16] Because our brains work in micro-moments and microdecisions, we really need to be looking at the little things. (Change is more than just the big stuff that requires a project team.)
  • [38:00] People who have a best friend at work are more loyal, happier, engaged, and better employees. Helping to incorporate fun and allowing people to connect is valuable. 
  • [40:45] You can either empower the individual so that they can have more fun and more vitality when they come back to the office or you can create it from an empathic standpoint where you are creating opportunities for organic fun. 
  • [41:37] Fun is not the same for everyone.  
  • [42:56] If the outcome of whatever you are trying to do can still be the same but allow people to do it in a way that feels comfortable to them, you are going to have more fun every time.  
  • [44:10] Melina’s closing thoughts
  • [44:54] We are a species that is meant to have fun. We should take the time and make the effort to bring fun back into our lives.
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