The concept of the fun scale with its 3 types of "fun" has its origins in the world of mountaineering and according to the The Climbing Dictionary it provides a simple mechanism for rating climbs to quantify the fun-to-suffer ratio.
In a passing comment one of the Wild Cycles team, Nick @mrporter89 introduced us to the "fun scale". Intrigued - we thought we'd dig a bit deeper...
Type 1 fun
Type 1 fun is enjoyable and pleasurable in the moment - while it's happening. It's a beautiful sunny day in a stunning setting. Everything is just perfect and as planned. Mega fomo.
Type 2 fun
Type 2 fun is generally not so at the time. - but is in retrospect. There is the realisation that it WAS fun when looking back on the experience. Some say this is the best kind as our brains tend to wipe the painful, stressful memories and help us to remember just the best bits. There is a greater sense of achievement and satisfaction - which is amplified after a particularly challenging experience and when we venture out of our comfort zone. Whilst not the funnerest at the time - mega benefits of type 2 fun include:
Memories/unforgettable moments. As you push yourself to the limit and challenge yourself memories are formed around a sense of pride in achievement and completing a tough challenge. If the experience is shared with others - this can also result in tight bonds being formed.
At Wild Cycles we have had the pleasure of meeting adventurers after a long, hard day in the saddle and to hear them gushing "...that was the hardest thing I've ever done - but it was amaaaazing..."
Stepping out of the comfort zone can lead to new discoveries about abilities and what is possible. Discovery about what can be achieved in spite of certain pre-conceived limitations can also lead to a broadening of perspective. Exploration of new-found strengths including perseverance and resilience begs the question: "...what else is possible...?"
In a 2022 Washington Times article the topic is picked up by Travis Tae Oh - assistant professor of marketing at Yeshiva University.
"Oh’s research defines fun based on two psychological components: hedonic engagement (immersing yourself in an activity for pure enjoyment); and a sense of liberation (temporarily freeing yourself of concerns like work stress) ..."
I don't think I am alone in having that thought process out on an tough ride and questioning "....why am I doing this and subjecting myself to such hardship...I don't have to do this, do I ?"
Digging deeper into the type 2 topic - there are obvious links with What Happens To Our Brains When We Exercise And How It Makes Us Happier.
This fascinating Fast Company article continues...
"If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising and eventually happy."
At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, is released in your brain. Your endorphins main purpose is this writes researcher McGovern: These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria." Fast Company (highly recommended reading)
Type 3 fun
Type 3 fun isn’t fun at all neither during or afterwards. The only redeeming feature is that over time and as memories fade (remember only the best bits) - our perspective may evolve over time. So Type 3 experiences become type 2 and those in turn may evolve into type 1 fun!
All said and done - just remember that whatever the activity - there are massive benefits to be gained from being outdoors. For further reading on that topic please check out another one our articles Nature's call to the wild.
And do check out more Wild Cycles Adventures
See you out there!
The Fun Scale Prof Rainer Newburry, University Alaska
The Climbing Dictionary Mountaineering Slang, Terms, Neologisms & Lingo
Author Matt Samet - Publisher Mountaineers Books
Washington Times What is ‘Type II fun,’ and why do some people want to have it?
by Erin Strout
- Team Wild Cycles -