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John O’Leary welcomes organizational psychologist and behavioral scientist Dr. Mike Rucker on how to invite more fun and joy in your life on the Live Inspired Podcast.

There are numerous health and wellbeing challenges associated with isolation, cynicism, burnout, negativity, and divisiveness. And yet there is one surprising solution to circumvent each of the challenges: FUN.

  • Having more fun improves your relationships, both at work and in life
  • Fun makes us smarter
  • Fun reduces stress
  • Finding more fun in physical activity balances your hormone levels
  • Fun can make you more energetic and youthful
  • Fun elevates our culture, retention, impact, and profitability professionally

Dr. Mike Rucker reminds us that fun is a resource available to each of us almost any time, yet most of us are not having nearly enough of it.

As an organizational psychologist and behavioral scientist, Mike has critically evaluated modern approaches to happiness and has developed science-backed and actionable tips that reinforce the importance of seeking fun, rather than happiness, in our daily lives.

Today, Mike shares how intentionally increasing your joyful moments can improve your health, relationships, and productivity, while also providing specific guidance to help you make the most of your time and create more space for having fun.

Whether you’re a frustrated high-achiever trying to find a better work-life balance or someone who is seeking relief from life’s overwhelming challenges, this conversation is for you.

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  • With two career-focused professors as parents, Mike longed for social connection and understood that he wanted to lead a more robust life.
  • Inspired by local-legend Dave Scott, Mike had an interest in endurance sports as a child.
  • Toxic positivity: The act of pursuing happiness aggressively can lead to a lot of detriment.
  • Before the unexpected death of his brother, Mike was living life joyfully but taking for granted how finite time was.
  • “When we identify happiness out on the horizon, we start to ruminate the gap of where we are and where we want to be. Then slowly and often subconsciously when you’re not aligned to the ideal happiness, you begin to identify as unhappy.”
  • One out of four people report feeling so burnout with habitual busyness that they don’t know how to enjoy life.
  • Savoring as a gratitude practice: Live in the moment and enjoy the opportunities presented by turning off your phone, being empathic those you’re with and completely immersing yourself in the activity.
  • To bring you back to a joyful memory, Mike suggests creating a treasure chest of tangible items that allow you to soak in the happiness.
  • “We might only have one or two big successes in our lives so if you wait around for those to happen and don’t enjoy the journey, that can be a really agonizing life.”
    It’s important to have a “transitional ritual” that allows you to shut off work and engages you to weave fun into your daily life.
  • Hedonic flexibility principle: For those who take time for themselves to enjoy activities out of work have the resiliency to do more difficult tasks longer.
  • Our perception of time often seems quicker as we get older because our brains aren’t recording new experiences like it did when we were children. To circumvent this, Mike suggests a mindfulness technique of taking inventory of different sights, smells and noises on your next walk.
  • Get a copy of Dr. Mike Rucker’s The Fun Habit.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with screen/life balance expert Catherine Price. Hear Catherine share her evidence-backed resources to help others design lives in which they control their technology, rather than the other way around—with the ultimate goal of increasing happiness, productivity, creativity, health and wellbeing. To scroll less, live more, and have fun, don’t miss Catherine Price on ep. 470.


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. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Curiosity.
  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. The treasure chest of tangibles memories.
  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. Alan Watts.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Be where your feet are.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Slow down a little bit and figure out what happiness means to you in a deliberate way.
  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. It’s chaos. Be kind. Have fun.