Be Brave. Be Bored.
Once upon a time, people got bored. They whined. They moped. They doodled. They flopped. They stared at the wall, or the clouds, or the trees, or the ceiling. They sighed the sighs of the painfully, incurably bored.
Then came ‘progress!’ It came in the form of handheld devices, free wifi, and mobile hotspots. And, TA-DA!! The people never got bored again. They lived happily ever, even as they watched anime in hot tubs.*
Well, yes and no. Yes, we certainly can watch videos in hot tubs, but, no, not so much, in the happily ever after department.
Turns out we, humans, are missing something when we skip boredom. In a study published in May 2014 issue of Creativity Research Journal, Mann and Cadman’s results “suggested that boring activities resulted in increased creativity.” Daydreaming, they say, is a key mediator. You can read the whole article or you can go buy Real Simple and read Jennifer Lindley‘s Feb. article about it but the main takeaway is this: Boredom is creativity’s springboard so if you want to be more creative, make time to be bored.
It’s super hard, however. We a zillion things to do. We have access to internet all the time. Our kids whine when they are bored (and that is a bad, bad, bad sound). Believe you me, I get that. This is a challenge to me as much as to anyone else. So you do you do it? Pray tell – How do you do less? Schedule less? For you? For your kids? For your writing? How are you brave? How are you bored?
*Inspiration credit goes to the un named 20-something I saw in the hot tub at the pool today who was eating a snack and watching an anime show on his phone… in the hot tub.
Did you hear this story on NPR this week? http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2015/01/12/376717870/bored-and-brilliant-a-challenge-to-disconnect-from-your-phone
I want to start meditating for myself and also am working hard when my son is just playing on his own and seeming content, to not jump in and ask what he’s doing and engage too much in it so he can just explore his own creativity.
Hi Melissa! Thanks for this.
I didn’t hear this on NPS but I am going to listen to it ASAP.
I too secretly strive towards meditation but, if I’m really honest, it sounds so hard – all that stillness and my-thought-ness and the stillness!
Your restraint with your son is well placed. Kids do well when they muddle around on their own. Maybe that’s when you’ll meditate! (ha!). Let me know if you make progress with that. I’d love to hear an update.
Cheers to a whole lot of daydreaming…i do enjoy it more now that I’m older and wiser!
Thanks for this affirming note!
I write about it and believe it and am still learning it myself!! Can’t wait to get wiser and wiser. 😉