How to adopt a CRO mindset for life optimization with Ruben de Boer

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Richard Joe 0:01
Hey, it’s Richard here from Experiment Nation. And today I’ve got Ruben de Boer from online dialogue here and today we’re going to be talking about something a little bit different. We’re going to be talking about how we can use a CRO optimization framework for our own personal lives and how we can optimize those aspects of our personal lives in order to be better humans. So listen up and we’ll be on board soon. Get a it’s Richard here from experimentation Podcast. Today, I’ve got a special guests. It’s Ruben de Boer from online dialogue. Based in the Netherlands, they wanted the, for the world, probably the one of the world’s top CRO agencies out there, Reubens, a lead online conversion manager. And he’s been a conversion optimization for about 10 years now. And he is also the owner of conversion ideas, with a student base of over 10,000 students teaching CRO to everybody, including myself. So welcome to the show, Ruben. It’s good to have you on board. And yeah, and today we’re going to be talking about instead of something really technical, I decided that we will talk about, you know, as conversion specialists, I was just talking to him briefly that, you know, we do this all day for, you know, eight to 10 hours a day, trying to optimize our websites with good intent. How about we have that same sort of methodology or mindset to our own personal lives and transpose this sort of ideas? So you really recently wrote an article about this. So yeah, can you discuss what what made you get into CRO? And how you? How did you sort of think about how we can improve our own personal lives with what you learned?

Ruben de Boer 1:49
Perfect? Well, first of all, thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to be on this. And I really love the topic, it’s a really good topic. Because my interest in conversion optimization, experimentation actually started in the space of personal growth, I believe it was 2006 2007. And when I was University, I met a couple of guys who were really into personal growth. So in confidence in happiness in, in social skills. And it really got me interested in everything regarding personal growth, but also human behavior. And of course, I also had like, a passion for data. And these these combinations, the human behavior optimization, and data actually led me to conversion rate optimization, but it started with, with personal growth, and really did growth mindset. And I enjoyed combat and combining both right now, as a personal growth, optimization mindset, and experimentation in my personal life. So experience experiments measure and optimize my personal life, which is another passion of mine, besides extra mutation.

Richard Joe 3:04
And how did you how did you like kind of get your first sort of CRO gig and saying that because you, you talked about, like at university, and you know, wanting to follow like, I don’t know, self help books, or those sort of things in I mean, I guess University at a time where people were really young, they’re trying to get some during the age of, you know, breaking out of their shell growing from a an adolescent or teenager to an adult and trying to find themselves and so I guess Yeah, I guess I can sort of see that link between the person who don’t ask it’s the CRO but how do you kind of parlay that into an actual job I do know that there was a job out of like the you can see a job out of this or was it just sort of organically suddenly happens?

Ruben de Boer 3:54
Yeah, it was basically organically so these these guys are met they also had a coaching company and I came with partner but mainly focused on on marketing and with that I straightaway noticed my interest for for online and everything it can measure with conversion rate optimization did not really exist at that time yet. Of course, were some people already working on AP testing. Recently, you interviewed John Wessling with my my boss, who was already at that time doing a B testing. But it didn’t really exist back then. So basically, organically. I came into an online marketing role, I think in 2011 ish. And as far as when it also first did my my first AP test and I did online marketing but all focus was on the website and a B testing and from there on, I really gotten zero job.

Richard Joe 4:49
What was your first ab test of interest?

Ruben de Boer 4:53
I made a I still remember what it was really big high back then the boss have big orange button. And so my first AV test was converting a text link into a big orange button. Like I guess a lot of people did back then.

Richard Joe 5:11
I think I think I did. My first was the CTA test as well, like, I don’t know if it was based on a blog or whatever. But it’s sort of like the first thing you do. It’s like, okay, you read a blog, and it says, I just change it from buying now to just now or shop now, we’ll change a button from Green bike. Yeah, you know, orange to green or whatever. You know, it’s just like, I guess is the sort of first thing you do, even though it’s probably like, you know, sort of frowned upon in some circles, you know? Yeah. And it’s easiest, most intuitive thing, right?

Ruben de Boer 5:46
And back then, we didn’t know a lot yet about a B testing, of course. So probably it didn’t I didn’t use statistics, Muslims must, is this statistically valid? But it’s perfectly fine to start with, with experiments like that, because I think first you have to run the process a couple of times, and then increase the quality and trustworthiness from there.

Richard Joe 6:08
Yeah, I guess, I guess in saying that, it’s best, even though we sort of, we might be a little bit embarrassed right now, you know, getting your, your feet wet, wet for the first time in, you know, setting something up and then running for a period of time and looking at the data later on, even though like it may not be as robust as you would do today. Like you’re, you’re starting off with a process the iterates that in a way is sort of maybe applying the CRO process to your own job, right, like, you’re getting the data back, and you go through an iterative cycle, or methodology to improve your own methodology, so to speak. So yeah, I did read your article that you see me, you’re just piling into how we as optimizers, we can implement our own personal lives with the sort of framework or methodology. Can you talk to me about that, how you, you know, how you’ve been doing it personally, and you know, how you got started with, like writing this article. And what kind of gave you the impetus to like, sort of spread the word so to speak, I honestly

Ruben de Boer 7:13
do believe that if you have a real optimization mindset, you can apply it, not just in your work, but in all areas of life. And working on external rotation, you obviously have a optimization mindset. And I’ve been doing, using it in my personal life as well, with sports with waking up, we can talk about the Miracle Morning 5am Club, trying to run a business, but also full time job. And of course, my friends, and most, probably most importantly, my girlfriend, as I’m trying to balance all those things in my personal life. Optimize sleep, optimize health, optimize mindfulness, you can apply to everything in your, in your personal life. And yeah, like a, like a massive human optimization mindset, I think you can really apply it in your personal life. And I was talking to someone about it, how I did it. I’m working on my personal growth, I’m working on personal optimization. And, and that person, maybe you’d write a blog about it. So I did, and that really took off. A lot of people showed a lot of interest. And yeah, it was nice to share and inspire people like that, besides all of the things and experimentation.

Richard Joe 8:32
What would you say? It’s the sort of key things that you would take away from your job as an experimenter at work working on websites to? I don’t know, seven, like, with Cisco for an example that you you went for yourself? Waking up at 5am? Can you guide me through that process? And how is it? And also How’s it different to, you know, running like an ABTS because it’s not like you can possibly do a randomized control trial on your own body running to test in the LL.

Ruben de Boer 9:06
Now, it isn’t this very sort of, we don’t have an A B test to for ourselves, indeed. But now the process, the process in itself is actually quite similar. With a few distinctions. Yep. I think the first distinction is mainly when, let’s say the experiment, so to say is life with a B testing or with with experimentation on your website to digital products, you can set it live and just check the data every now and then to see if everything is running smoothly. Whereas if you run an experiment in person life, you have to keep it up and to new behavior. As a basically you have to build a habit around it. Also, because it’s difficult to keep up you don’t want to run a lot of experiments, whereas on your digital products on your website, you want to run as many experiments as possible in your daily life. If you want one or two experiments, probably because you have to keep it up, it’s a new behavior, and you’ll be very difficult to maintain. But other than that, it’s a pretty similar process, you know, you want to achieve a certain goal, you do research on how you want to get to that goal for her. So for me, it was I wanted to have more time for my sports, for my meditation, and for my own company. And not working evening, because an evening I want to spend time, again, with my girlfriend with my friends, and some more sports. So for me, it was doing research, how can I do that, and I tried, a couple of things didn’t work, then I started reading the books Miracle Morning at 5am lab. So that was the research part. Then, of course, I had to set up the experiments, which is basically planning and building habits and see how you can maintain it. Yep. And of course, you want to make the change as small as possible, even though it’s a big change, waking up early, and doing ornamentation. Learning work on my company, the change has actually set my alarm clock. And once they wake up, start the app for sports. So at 5:30am, I start with with sports. And then of course, the experiment runs for a certain amount of time, let’s say I chose to do two months to see how it goes get used to waking up early, see the results for sports and see the results for meditation, see the results for journaling as well. And then reflect and if possible measure, I have a Fitbit watch, I have a smart skill. So I can measure my weight, my fat percentage, I can measure my sleep from there, reflect and optimize and come up with follow up experiments. So there is quite a bit slimmer similarity between the CRO process and optimization on a personal level.

Richard Joe 12:00
What would you say is like the going through that process? And obviously, it’s probably not as clean as, as a website experiment. Like what would you say are the sort of stumbling blocks or mistakes that you made along the way to achieve the goal of you know, waking up at five and then being able to do a meditation in sports and other sort of things? In business stuff,

Ruben de Boer 12:27
like I think it’s an article or read, I think 2007 already in it. Right? Or two times eight maybe. And that really was an eye opener for me it was really mind blowing. And was it was the start in the beginning introduction of the book, change or die, and was a study done by Dr. Emmons Willer. And the study was literally change, or die. He did research for patients with clogged arteries, which is a horrible, horrible condition to have. It results in a lot of pain, more and more pain. And eventually, you’ll die a painful early death, which is absolutely horrible. And I hope no one who listens or in family has this problem. But those patients, and they can all survive, almost all of them can survive. But they have to make a lifestyle change. They have to live healthier, they have to stop smoking, stop drinking, reduce stress, do more sports and eat healthier. And if those patients do that, they can almost all survive. So they stop the pain, the pain goes away, and they can survive. And they can stay with their wife, they can see their kids getting married. You cannot have more motivation than that’s to change. I mean, it’s a matter of life or death. And in such a situation, your motivation is Yeah, skyrocketing, of course. But when you check the numbers, only 10% was able to change only 10% was able to stop the pain and live a healthy long life than the other 90% were not able to change. And therefore, yeah, passed away in a way too early age. And that was mind blowing for me. Because that really shows that just motivation is insufficient for lasting behavioral change. So that’s also the big obstacle. When optimizing on a personal level. It can be motivated. Yeah, but it can also not be enough to actually change.

Richard Joe 14:43
Do you think insane that? Do you think that the BJ Fogg? What’s the cool BJ Fogg? behavior model which is, I think, to have motivation Do you think that’s flawed in the sense like, from invite of This book’s, you know, results that only 10% achieve. Now, motivation like is, like as BJ BJ Fogg model is available, is it just a really rough heuristic for explaining motivation? You think?

Ruben de Boer 15:17
Now, he actually wrote a book using his model about personal growth, which was quite nice. I’m not entirely sure what the title is anymore. I did read it. And it was more focusing on those small steps. Which makes sense, right? Because our, our system one, our old primal brain doesn’t like big changes, and everyone to make the change as small as possible. And using his model, he explained how you can make the change as small as possible. So make that which means increase ability a lot?

Richard Joe 15:51
Would you would you sort of increments it? Like, would you be like, we’d have an iterative approach. So you do a small change at first, and then that habit starts being embedded in your daily habits, and then you sort of build on top of it, like do you layer it, so to speak

Ruben de Boer 16:09
now true true is book looked very much like the things we call the spirit of Kaizen, which is from within Japan, but making small steps and new habits shouldn’t cost you more than two minutes to do. So if your habit is your new habit, your new goal is to go running for instance, the habit is putting on your your sport clothes and your running shoes. It could even be placing your sports clothes and running shoes next to your bed before going to bed. So the next morning, it’s really easy to put them on. And then you go

Richard Joe 16:43
I think that’s what I recollection. I think that’s what James clear said in his book. The power of habits, no. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry, atomic habits. I’m getting to two main books on habits, atomic habits, and the Power of Habit by James do. But I believe, I believe there was more sort of positive resonance with people with James Claire’s book, I think, because I think it’s, the research is more robust. I might be wrong there. But that’s the sort of impression No, I

Ruben de Boer 17:17
agree. I agree. I think atomic habits is an amazing book, very important to read when you work on your personal optimization to know how to build out his bowel habits, also very good book. But it’s all like habits is really one of my favorites. Really excellent book of being extremely good. Yeah. So go. Another very good book for this is switch from the Heath brothers actually also use it for motivating colleagues to get more towards an experimentation culture. But also in switch, it really shows how difficult personal growth is and behavior change. And knowing how to change and being motivated to change is not sufficient. That’s why eating healthier, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, save more money, that’s really difficult behavior, even though it can be motivated.

Richard Joe 18:11
So there are there are limits to motivation. I mean, motivation is not totally invalid. Right. Like, it’s would you say that motivation is still a an important factor is at least the initial beginnings of a habit. Like, yeah, I guess you’ve got to have some sort of motivation to be like, Okay, fine, I’m really overweight or unhealthy, I guess, would they have to be some sort of internal motivation to begin with, but you’d need more than that to sustain yourself?

Ruben de Boer 18:45
Yes, very true. Yeah, you need, of course, certain types of motivation to get started, otherwise, you will not get started at all. Of course, there’s also called willpower, but local power can quickly fade. And that’s when becomes more and more difficult. So that’s why you need to know how to build habits. You can also tweak your physical and social environments. For instance, for me, for waking up, I have a I tell my girlfriend when my alarm clock rings just kick me out of bed if I don’t do it. But I also have a buddy fluorine, who is also a colleague and friend at online dialogue. Every morning, we text each other a good morning, let’s go. And of course when I don’t do so, she will tell me like hey, we’re worried this morning.

Richard Joe 19:30
Ah, social reinforcements a good thing. And having a girlfriend to physically kick you out a bit.

Ruben de Boer 19:39
Luckily, she never had to do it. But if I snooze too long then then she is most certainly will.

Richard Joe 19:44
I guess it’s better than having a bucket of water for interview, which, ya know. I’m just just going back to the 5am goal that you’ve achieved now. How long have you been sustained in there for now?

Ruben de Boer 19:59
At In one half years now,

Richard Joe 20:01
so one and a half years, and I think just in your article, I believe you talked about the steps involved in doing that was cue craving response reward? Yeah. Could you could you tell our audiences how you went for those steps? Because I think that’s really the heart of James James clear sort of habits methodology. Is those four steps.

Ruben de Boer 20:24
Yeah, no, exactly. So indeed, to build new habits, you have a cue, craving, response and reward and, and to build new habits, the cue should be obvious. The craving make it attractive. Response make it easy. That’s again, the ability also from a BJ Fogg and reward is make it make it satisfying. So for instance, the queue if you want to eat more healthy or have fruit on your kitchen counter, or what if on my Fitbit, watch, it rings an alarm randomly several times a day, and reminds me to be mindful and watch my my breathing. But also, as you can see behind me, for those watching video, there are my weights. So they’re always in view. So I remember to do sports and fitness in the morning. So that’s the cue. Craving make it attractive is basically pairing something we want with something we have to do. And the anticipation for the reward is even a bigger motivation and the reward itself. Anticipation makes this makes you body motivated. A good endorphins things called

Richard Joe 21:41
me from from what dopamine Yeah, sorry, I’m listening to Angel humans podcast, which is really good.

Ruben de Boer 21:47
That’s excellent podcast. Oh, long.

Richard Joe 21:51
Very long, like three to three hours. You’ve got to be you can’t just sort of have it as background music. You’ve really got to listen to it. Yeah. Because yeah, he’s gone through his research. Anyway. sidetracking. But yeah, yeah, really good podcast listened to for for personal development? Five in waking up. Okay. The queue is obviously your alarm ting on the craving? How do you make that attractive to wake up?

Ruben de Boer 22:13
Yeah, like I said, it’s both the social tweak that kicks me out of bed. And what also, it just made me feel good. When I have more time for meditation, and to work on my own company, and I saw results. That was for me, like an intrinsic motivation to truly do get out of that.

Richard Joe 22:32
So I guess he sort of saw the benefits. And he had. So therefore, by seeing the benefits of waking up early and doing doing all these things, and had been more productive. It got you into this feedback loop of, okay, I’m feeling I feel I feel the benefits and like intrinsically, so that’s probably the craving part of it.

Ruben de Boer 22:49
Yeah. What about the response response to build a new habit, you want to make it easy. So make the habit small start with repetition, and not perfection. Like I said, a new habit should only last two minutes. So for me, it was first getting out of bed, that was the easy one, and then starting my app for for sports. And that’s when it starts counting and starts telling you what to do. And it cannot be ignored, at least for me. So that’s when you get started. So for me, it was just waking up and starting that app for sports. And that’s when I started.

Richard Joe 23:25
Cool. And it’s how you make it small, make it small, and make it obvious. What about the reward aspects? How did you reward yourself again,

Ruben de Boer 23:36
like I said, I did get the motivation because it’s all results in both my company in my mindfulness, and my body composition change. But also, of course, when COVID hit and the gyms closed, yeah, I was I was do kickboxing, I needed to find a motivation to workout at home, which is more difficult because it’s a group and with a friend going to gym is easier. So I kind of made a really, really like I liked the taste of a fruit protein smoothie. And I was only allowed to take it after my workout. So there was also like a craving actually really liked the taste and really made it like, delicious. So also when I before I even started to work out, I kind of got a taste in my mouth, for the craving. And of course straightaway after I was allowed to drink it, which was very satisfying.

Richard Joe 24:29
Oh, that that’s awesome. I think I’m just setting those hard rules that, you know, I’m only allowed to have this once I do the hard work once I put in the effort. I think you also said like, the key to success. We said earlier is that try not to do too many changes at once, which I guess is different to like a CRO where it’s sort of encouraged to try to increase your test velocity and as much as you you know, to a certain extent to To increase your chances of winning, whereas since you’re doing on yourself, trying to do too many things at once is probably too cognitively draining for system. What’s more, probably more system to base than you want to sort of focus more on system one. What What’s your sort of comments on that to elaborate on?

Ruben de Boer 25:19
Like you said, I think system one, system two is very important to understand, you know, system to a rational brain, of course, it knows that we have to eat healthy, of course, it knows, we shouldn’t smoke, of course, it knows we have to save money. But it’s all because it benefits us in the future. Whereas system one, our primal brain doesn’t think in the past, present or future, it cannot reason it only things in here and now. And it makes it so incredibly difficult to change. Because now you get home after a long day of work. And system two is depleted from work. And you’re hungry. And on the kitchen counter, you find fruit and your favorite sugar containing snack. Yep, yeah. And then obviously, a lot of people will go for it, the nice she were containing snack. ISM, more fulfilling sugars kind of addictive. So understanding understanding system one and system two is very important. And of course, the opposite of what we just talked about cue craving response reward. Also works when you want to stop with a certain habit meets very simple. I’m now experimenting with food, what works best with my workout schedule. So if I make sure I have no sugar containing snacks at home, I keep to my food schedule. So the cue is make it invincible

Richard Joe 26:44
me like I can just eat snacks without thinking about it. And although I’m eating healthy snacks, like nuts and seeds and things like that, instead of like, yeah, that’s good. But you’re not supposed to have like, you know, half a half a container of them in one sitting. You know, you’re supposed to just have a small handful of nuts instead of like eating, you know, eating half a container. So I think for me, I’ve just been like, every time I eat it now I’ve been I’ll take it out, I’ll have a handful, then I’ll put it back in the cupboard. Because it’s like it’s out of my frame of mind. Like that’s intuitive thing that I’m doing right now.

Ruben de Boer 27:16
Know Exactly. And can also you can also measure it. I also noted experiment with food. I also measured it just like an experiment, measure and reflect. So in my in my Fitbit app, it keeps track of the calories I burn. I put in the food I eat. And I can exactly see. Or, of course it’s not exactly kind of see if I have more calories in or out just for our listeners, what’s the vision of the DF after Fitbit sense, but the app is basically I think the same for for everyone.

Richard Joe 27:47
Because this is a Fitbit that’s more of these, like it’s got a colored screen and you pay a little bit more like but it’s got all the bells and whistles, whereas the I think they’re very downgraded. Fitbit doesn’t have all the light. There’s also like sleep

Ruben de Boer 28:01
premium account and a free account or there are some difference there. But do what works for you. Obviously, a lot of people were at an O ring. It’s kind of the same thing, but it’s more of a ring. Ring use it. Yeah. There you have it. Yeah, nice, nice. But yeah, then then only use it if it’s applicable for your goals. But it’s again, using that optimization mindset which you do in our jobs or in your personal life, to optimize, measure, reflect and come up with follow up experiments.

Richard Joe 28:35
Do you kind of record these things as well because I, I do have your right raved about do your journaling every night time or morning or whatever. You know, I’ve I keep telling myself I should journal I do have a journal. I got goals journal and stuff like that. Yeah, dude go through the grief the process of journaling every day and saying look, oh, you know, there’s my sleep or there’s, it’s improved or

Ruben de Boer 28:58
also always on my desk, my journal, and remind me of journaling and make it obvious the cue as we discussed, but I think journaling is a perfect example of in positive psychology. Journaling is one of the biggest influences from based on positive psychology research on your happiness. And of course, ultimately, we try to optimize happiness. So it also means I’m not eating healthy every single day. It also means I enjoy beer every now and then. Yeah, but journaling is one of the biggest long term influences on happiness. And of course when you journal for a couple of days, you’re not going to feel any different so that’s a really tough habit to to build simply cuz there’s no short term gains. It’s

Richard Joe 29:54
there’s no immediate Oh, I get a buzz from Yeah, I just I just did my five minutes and I get it like I don’t get it doesn’t mean head. I don’t know. Do you think it’s a long slow grind?

Ruben de Boer 30:03
No, very true. It’s exactly as you say, I think in positive psychology, it’s mainly keeping a journal of gratitude. So what you’re grateful for, yeah, that works most strongly on your long term happiness. And I think that study was done over, could even be a few months. And there’s also research on on journaling, your success, and it’s good for your confidence, but it’s also long term. And of course, I also journal what I could improve, to reflect on on what I’m working on. Optimization wise,

Richard Joe 30:41
we’ve gone through the cue craving response reward. Are there any further iterations that you you’ve done on this 5am sort of schedule?

Ruben de Boer 30:50
I think, as we start off a little bit, it’s really tough work. When the experiment, so say, is life. And so the first thing you really have to do is to find what you love. God, the element, what gets you in flow element is a combination of talent and passion. For instance, I played football or from soccer for many years. And one point I was done with it. And I want to do do a new sport. So I tried, I think 10 different sports. Then I found out that kickboxing gives me the most positive feelings about kickboxing I can keep up, then I tried six different kickboxing gyms. And now I have a kickboxing gym. It’s a bit further away from my house. But it’s a really nice gym, everyone’s really friendly, and really gets me motivated gets me in flow, the second I walk into the gym, so that makes it really easy to keep up. So do find what you love to do, do find your element. To keep up with those new habits and new new behavior.

Richard Joe 32:00
This is backtrack. So the overarching goal was was a kidding fit. In the sense. Yep, yep. Okay, so for you, I mean, everyone’s wired differently. So for you, I guess, to for you to enter that flow state, would you say that you are personally to be socially around people, maybe in group class situations, doing movements that are kind of, you know, maybe you see it is practical or intuitive?

Ruben de Boer 32:26
Yeah. And it really works for me, of course, also works when you try to get new habits to do it with a friend or in a group. And after I did a lot of kickboxing, you see results, you get fitter,

Richard Joe 32:42
you can see absolutely,

Ruben de Boer 32:44
yeah, exactly, exactly. And that’s why when COVID hit are going to gyms closed temporarily due to lock down, it was easy for me to make the transition to working out at home because I already had the motivation I was more fit. And then with combination with the protein smoothie, cup me quite easily in the habit of working out at home. And of course now also have a buddy for waking up early. So that gives me waking up early. So you can think of all these tweaks in your physical and social environment. To not only have motivation, but also Yeah, make sure you keep going. Even when motivation is low. Like I said you have to be in your element you have to find out what works for you. And also me I kept experimenting I failed a couple of times with doing more sports meditation, journaling work, Oman company and learning. Eventually it was waking up early but after I experiment with go what time to go to bed. I experiment with what time to get up. 5am 6am 530 turns out to be 530 What’s best for me. I tried to change the schedule in the morning. More sports, less sports, and no learning with learning. Meditation, how long should I meditate just to tweak it so I keep getting at sufficient energy throughout the day and and achieve my goals. Goal shower also worked very well. What to do after a bad night of sleep, so I tried to tweak and optimize continuously from there.

Richard Joe 34:20
I do find Yeah, like I’ve been doing cold showers on and off for 18 years. I did listen to what’s his name? Wim Hof. I guess it wasn’t this book and I was like, Okay, I did the cold the ice cold bath once three rounds of one minute each. So I’d gone for one minute like super freezing, right like I got like three bags of big bags of ice from like the superstation and put it in my bath and I was like okay, every minute felt like oh my gosh, like it’s, you know, gives you this super, super cold shock factor.

Ruben de Boer 34:54
You have to really watch your breathing.

Richard Joe 34:57
Yeah, you just in trying to just try to stay calm and also to start Yeah,

Ruben de Boer 35:02
start shaking because that’s, that’s really tough. Yeah, no, it’s really what you’re breathing in out and stay mindful.

Richard Joe 35:09
Yep. Speaking of the elements was that you said was it based on the writings of and I can’t pronounce this guy’s name McHale they’re long.

Ruben de Boer 35:20
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s, that’s the book called flow. Yeah impossible name to pronounce. Come off most difficult name of authors out there now and you have Ken Robinson who wrote wrote the element.

Richard Joe 35:37
Okay, what do you say like and I can understand the flow state Yeah, like you do lose the sense of time, right? Like you, you find unbearable you’re looking at a time where it’s you know, every five minutes feels like an hour is we’re in a flow state, you’re like, look at your clock. And you be like, Oh my gosh, but at the hour go. Whereas if you’re not in the flow state, you like every minute feels like half an hour? Like, would you would you say that that’s a litmus test for knowing if you’re in the flow state or not? Yeah,

Ruben de Boer 36:03
there’s definitely you know, your flow state of time, like if you don’t even watch time, and indeed, the hours gone without you noticing it, which is also annoying, because I’m getting old freaking fast. And

Richard Joe 36:17
like, was over over all my agent? Yes, sometimes achieving a flow state does require energy.

Ruben de Boer 36:23
Yeah. No, no, no, it gives me a lot of energy actually being in a flow state and at time really fly. So that’s why mindfulness is important to enjoy it as well.

Richard Joe 36:33
Speaking mindfulness, I do something gym is a form of mindfulness for me, in a sense, and for me.

Ruben de Boer 36:40
Now, virtually, I fully agree with that same. Same for me. My mind is always busy. It’s really difficult to keep quiet, even though I meditate for 10 minutes every morning. It’s still very busy. But once I get to the gym and do kickboxing, I’m an hour of no thoughts at all. Um,

Richard Joe 37:02
we talked about the gym, what about like, eating healthy? What if they just? What if they just find it really boring to eat like vegetable lessons, you know, to mop the hip, deep fried food? And you know, they’ve they’ve failed their diet many times, and they’re trying to lose a bit of weight and so forth. Yeah, like, how do we achieve the flow state? For things that people genuinely don’t like?

Ruben de Boer 37:32
And then it’s really difficult, and it’s okay, right? You have to do all these, all these things, I think it’s, it’s a matter of optimizing your happiness. And if eating unhealthy makes you happy, then please do so do bear in mind that on the long term, it might not make you happy. And you have to find a way to eat healthy and do sports. But it’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to do everything as long as you ensure you enjoy life on the short term, but also on the long term. And for the long term do know that. Of course, it might be difficult due to this system one and system two again,

Richard Joe 38:16
what would you say that sometimes, like you can reward yourself with the things that you shouldn’t be doing. So say you’ve I remember Tim Ferriss talking about it, maybe in the Four Hour Body, if you read his book, he had a slow carb diet, which is basically eating like beans. And yeah, I don’t know, high protein stuff for like, you know, most of the week, and then he had on a Saturday was his cheat day. And he caught it fair today, which is basically what he wants, you know, just to satisfy your cravings, and you see that how it resets your hormones or whatever. So, and also, he said that, from a behavioral perspective, this sort of gave you some sort of reward for grinding for the week. Do you think that that’s maybe a sort of a, in some ways, rewarding yourself, in that sense can be like a nice balance will have come more along chance of keeping habits

Ruben de Boer 39:10
afloat? Exactly. I do the same thing. It’s all about balancing. But I think the most important thing to to acknowledge to remember here is that what we hear in this podcast and what we are telling right now and what we read in books are also let’s go back to Expert and these are best practices. These were some persons like an hour’s that for some websites, but not all of us. I mean, you can have if you if you want to become fit, you can have the scientifically best workout schedule and food scheduler is in the world. Yet the best schedule for you is to schedule where you will keep up. I mean, if it’s the best scientific school schedule and you’re only able to maintain this for a week, it’s not your best schedule. Like for Me, I love my cheat days, I don’t have a particular day where I cheat I just enjoy a night out every now and then or good burger in a restaurant. And that works for me. But you have to find ways that work for you. And of course, you can start with best practices, like atomic habits, and like tiny habits, whatever book you read, or whatever podcast or scientific thing you read or listen, but experiment and tweak from there to make it work for you. And this is not just for the for the big things, because we’re only talking about the big things now with with healthy foods sports II. But also as an optimizer in your own company. When your organization becomes more mature and experimentation, your role also changes. First, you maybe are a CRO specialist doing all A B testing yourself. And eventually you have to help others run experiments and a B test. And that changes your role completely. From probably sitting in the corner of the office with your computer sending a beat test, you now have to start presenting, learning teaching others how to experiment, have conversations with stakeholders cope with resistance, that is also personal growth. If you don’t know how to cope with resistance, if you don’t know how to have a difficult conversation, you have to teach yourself. Because if the company increases experimentation, children and experimentation culture I or maturity, your role changes. And you need different skill set.

Richard Joe 41:36
And a real basic level, do you think being a CRO specialists you can kind of just sort of stay in your corner and just run a B tests and maybe not think too much about the soft skills of how to approach you know, management or whatever with doing website experiments on certain pages that they may have ownership of or stakeholders? You know, stakeholder ownership? Do you think that you’re sort of making an I’m just being blunt, very rough, you’re more than saying but you kind of going from being a technical specialist to being more of a change manager as you go up the chain from a you know, from a specialist to a CRO manager? That sort of thing?

Ruben de Boer 42:21
No, very true. But I think that’s exactly, exactly it. I really think that zero specialists should really understand that their job is not just to run a B tests, a large proportion of the jobs should be dedicated to to change management. At first, you might want to have some A B tests to at least be able to show that it works for your organization have to process going but very fast. You want to talk to stakeholders, motivate people, your organization. And again, you can use the same models because the also the system one and system two, and you want them to change their behavior, as we’ve been discussing throughout this podcast. So again, you want to use optimization and experimentation mindset there as well. But yeah, that a large proportion of our work should be dedicated to change management. And it requires completely different skills than setting up a B tests. And if you don’t have those skills, or Alexa skills, you need to focus on your personal growth.

Richard Joe 43:15
What if what a few. And just to add to that, what if you are the sort of technical person that feels uncomfortable and you just go through and you try to bash through? You know, you don’t have the nice, nice, soft skills you don’t? You’re not good at evangelizing you say you’re not really good at speaking to audiences or doing webinars or workshops. Say you don’t do these things to improve your people skills and your influence. What like, what would eventually happen? Like I mean, in terms of, say, you’re in the management position, but you don’t have the skill set to to do change management? Like, would you burn bridges? Do you thing? Would you have any sort of any sort of success? Or do you think it’d be quite minimal?

Ruben de Boer 44:04
I think you need to find people who can help you do some maybe people who will get on stage and have those difficult conversations about experimentation? Yeah, but that’d be fine, too. High level director, a high level manager sponsor that can help you out with that, or he can do it for you. Yeah, find ways to to accomplish that.

Richard Joe 44:27
So it’s probably the most practical thing to do a few you find it difficult to make that bit leap. Because for some people, they might there may be hugely, you know, not everyone can go and you know, be able to use the sort of level you have a good conversation with a certain a high degree of positive persuasion on others, or maybe they feel uncomfortable being evangelists, but finding maybe other influential stakeholders or cheerleaders own the organization who can you can kind of who you can kind of connect well with, and they see the value in what you’re doing, finding those people and then trying to Yeah, kind of stay freedom and a sense

Ruben de Boer 45:11
of a clear goal for yourself, and see how you can accomplishment or you can accomplish it. Maybe for me, and maybe for you, it will be to, to teach ourselves how to have difficult conversations, read a couple of books on how to cope with resistance, practice with people how to cope, how to put that into practice. And for others it might be, get a sponsor, hire manager to do it for you. Again, it starts with set a clear goal and see what works for you, and put that into practice.

Richard Joe 45:44
Cool. As we come to the end of our chair, it’s been very good. It’s been. Yeah, it’s a bit of a different one. This time, I thought that our audiences, you know, enjoy something bit different bit out of the park, but highly relevant to everyone’s lives. Because we brought lives outside of our work. Are there any sort of final thoughts that you’d like to conclude with that you think our audience would need to they should be hearing?

Ruben de Boer 46:17
Yeah, I think we covered covered most of it. How your optimization mindset can not only apply at work, but also in your personal life, and also how to motivate and encourage colleagues do to experiment more and get enthusiastic about experimentation. Start with a proper goal, find out what works for you. And of course, remember system one and system two, we’ve all learned how to make smart goals. Specific, Measurable, acceptable, realistic, time bound, that is all system two. So started reading atomic habits, and power of habits, to know how to get system one on board as well to really, so make it small. tweak your social and fiscal environment of reward to really accomplish change. And we started with the research of the patient with the clog arteries. 10%, was able to change at 10% was able to live long and healthy. And they applied similar stuff like this. They got system one onboard, work to get our system to tweak the fiscal environment, the social environment, and through debt accomplish behavioral change.

Richard Joe 47:31
There you go, guys. He’s pretty much summarize this whole podcast for me. Thanks for being on the show. Ruben. How can people find you?

Ruben de Boer 47:40
I’m very active on active on LinkedIn. So feel free to connect there share a lot of information about experimentation, experimentation, culture. And also of course, my own website conversion You can connect there.

Richard Joe 47:54
Yeah, and maybe, hopefully people can sign up to your courses. They’re very good. I’ve basically vouch for them. And then it’s got 10,000 people sign up. Maybe you can be the 10,001st person. sign off on the course. Paul, thanks for being on the show. I Reuben, have a good day.

Ruben de Boer 48:10
Thank you. Thank you. It was a pleasure.

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