As I got older, I began to view boredom as a negative thing. It was something to be avoided at all costs. There are so many things to do after all, so I couldn’t possibly allow myself to be bored. Boredom is even more fleeting with unlimited access to technology. With even the slightest tinge of boredom, we can grab our phones and dive into Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, and all the other distractors.
A Different View of Boredom
As a kid, I remember telling my dad I was bored, and he would quickly reply, “Oh really? Are you sure you’re bored? I have a ton of ideas if you’re really bored.”
This usually meant he had a ton of chores I could do if I continued to complain. That was also his queue to go out and explore! I also wanted to avoid extra chores at all costs.
That’s when my sister and I headed out into the woods behind our house to explore the wilderness. Or we would walk to the small creek down the road and construct a bridge. We also loved trying to build the “fancy toys” our family couldn’t afford with the materials we had.
We built a pretty awesome go-kart, which was actually our wooden wagon. Just turn the thing around and use the handle as the steering wheel. Voila! We crashed a lot. Our slip and slide was the best! This was really just garbage bags under the sprinkler. We didn’t care! After all the brainstorming, planning, teamwork, and construction we were always so proud of what we came up with. My mom wasn’t stoked about the slip and slide and damage to the grass. You can't win 'em all!
Benefits of Boredom
These few childhood memories are a perfect example of why boredom is so important. Boredom allows for space to create and play.
What would happen to Plato, Socrates, and Nitschke if they constantly tried to swipe boredom away using their cell phones? Would Monet paint without daydreaming? Would Mozart create masterpieces if Youtube was available to remove any trace of restlessness?
Let’s stop viewing boredom as a bad thing, but rather a vehicle for reflection and change.
Reading about this idea is one thing. Doing something about it is another. I challenge you to take 5-10 minutes every day to sit and do nothing. Yup, nothing. Don’t even bring a book with you! I’m personally committed to 10 minutes right now. My goal is to move up from there, but I know if my goal is too lofty I’ll never do it.
Share this post with a friend! You can even drag them along as your accountability buddy. If I don’t have someone to hold me accountable, I’m usually a lost cause.
In a time with so much stimulation and technology, let’s take back some of our attention! Baby steps, but true change only happens with action!