Being Bored. How can boredom be good for you? Why does boredom lead some to distraction, while others get their most creative ideas when bored?
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I find the concept of boredom incomprehensible. Life is too beautiful, horrifying, and bizarre to ever merit being bored. Yet, I sometimes find myself experiencing this strange emotional state.
In today's digital world of entertainment-on-demand, the concept of boredom is a novelty. Feelings of boredom are easily replaced with new experiences. In fact, we're conditioned to prevent boredom like a disease.
Most people are exposed to hundreds or even thousands of ads a day. You never see an ad encouraging you to be happy with boredom. You'll never see an ad telling you to feel satisfied with the state of your own mind.
Every ad is designed to make you feel like something is wrong with your current situation - be it how you look, your social status, your job or education, or how entertained you currently feel.
If you feel bored, the solution is to consume entertainment. The problem with consuming is that it doesn't satisfy the deeper parts of our lives, the part of our humanity that craves a sense of purpose and meaning.
I don't think entertainment is bad or a waste of time. Entertainment isn't just fun, but it can also be educational for creatives who aspire to produce their own forms of entertainment. The question is, how much should we be consuming?
We need moments of silence to explore the contents of our own minds in order to develop our inner worlds. It's hard to escape to our inner world when we're always synched up to electronic worlds.
Being bored isn't really so much about what we're doing, but how engaged we are with what we're doing. Nothing is intrinsically boring. Boredom is a state of mind.
What many consider boring could in fact be the soil needed to plant the seeds of creative ideas. A repetitive task like cleaning dishes could be the quite time away from electronics to make creative connections. Boredom often turns into daydreaming, and daydreaming often leads to creative breakthroughs.
The idea that boredom is a negative emotion doesn't help us deal with it in a healthy way.
No course in life is without boredom or struggle. If you feel bored sometimes, even though you're following your passion, that doesn't mean that you should give up and switch to a profession you think will be less boring.
To follow your passion requires putting up with the boring aspects of it. Every profession looks more glamorous than it actually is to outsiders. To do anything well, you have to put up with long hours of study, practice, and repetition.
It's been estimated that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert at anything. That's a lot of hours doing the same thing over and over. During those 10,000 hours, there are going to be times when you feel bored with what you're doing.
There are going to be times where you doubt yourself and your purpose. Being able to face the boring hours will determine who makes the cut and who doesn't.
Instead of being disturbed by this emotion of boredom, the best thing to do is learn from it. It's ok to feel bored from time to time.
Embracing boredom leads to introspection and creativity. It's kind like how push ups aren't comfortable to do, but the longer you're able to withstand the struggle, the stronger you'll get.
Next time you feel bored, see if you can sit with it for a few minutes before moving on to distract your mind with something else. Ask yourself what the boredom is telling you. View boredom with a non-judgmental attitude. Boredom provides the mental space we need to detach from sensory overload.
It's ok to get lost in your imagination. Who knows, you might just have some fun.