December is barely at the half way point and I am looking forward to time for being in a state of boredom. This is an odd thing to write, but boredom would be a wonderful gift! After three weekend art shows and sales and weeks of preparation for each one – I am ready!
Maggie Koerth-Baker, science journalist writes, “There is no universally accepted definition of boredom. But whatever it is, researchers argue, it is not simply another name for depression or apathy. It seems to be a specific mental state that people find unpleasant—a lack of stimulation that leaves them craving relief, with a host of behavioral, medical and social consequences” (Koerth-Baker, 2016).
We are naturally inclined to hate being bored. Standing in a long line, listening to a droning speech, attending an event with with others you have nothing in common, or a very long airline flight are often places we avoid if possible. We grab our phones to entertain ourselves looking at facebook or playing Candy Crush. We all have strategies to keep us from being bored.
However, letting boredom become a part of the creative process can lead to the eventual forming of a good idea, improving cognition, or gaining insight on a problem.
Author Neil Gaiman begins his writing process by setting aside all distractions and deliberately making himself bored. he describes the process:
I think it’s about where ideas come from, they come from daydreaming, from drifting, that moment when you’re just sitting there … The trouble with these days is that it’s really hard to get bored. I have 2.4 million people on Twitter who will entertain me at any moment … it’s really hard to get bored. I’m much better at putting my phone away, going for boring walks, actually trying to find the space to get bored in. That’s what I’ve started saying to people who say ‘I want to be a writer.’ I say “great, get bored.” (Newport, 2016)
So today I leave you with this question, “When was the last time you had a stroke of inspiration? Was it during or right after a moment of boredom?”
Thanks for reading today.