Be bored

When was the last time you were bored? Bored as when you were a kid on a summer break and had nothing to do. Full-on boredom.

Back when I was younger, it was sometimes not so easy to avoid it. There were no smartphones, iPads, or computers laying around. There were times when even my neighborhood friends were out of town, so there was nobody to play with either.

What would a normal kid do in such a situation?

He would get creative. There would be a lot of thinking and wondering until there's suddenly a spark - an idea - what to do. Suddenly the kid is not bored anymore, he's fully focused on some task. Completely engaged in the activity so that the rest of the world disappears.

But nowadays, it's really difficult to become bored. Our phones, the vast internet, social media, endless scrolling, and all that can provide content to stimulate you non-stop to the day. It's infinite. You'd never run out of content.

And it's not only that it's difficult to be bored, people are scared to be bored. They do anything to avoid it. As soon as they get home and it's silent, it's a bit too quiet, they turn on some sort of stimulation - TV, radio, music whatever, just to not have silence. Not even for 2 seconds!

But it's this quietness and absence of any stimulus, where boredom can arise. It'll be just you and your thoughts.

If that sounds scary to you, then there's a problem. Why would you feel uneasy about being just by yourself? Won't that tell you something?

But that's another topic.

Let me come to the 'why' of boredom. Why would anyone want to be bored?

Because of ideas. Cool and interesting ideas can only arise when you are either bored or by yourself with your thoughts - like on a walk along the beach at 5 am when the sun is just coming up.

People who are constantly passively engaged with some activity, never allowing themselves to feel a bit of boredom, will not come up with interesting thoughts or ideas very often. Because their mind is constantly engaged with some bullshit. Their mind can't begin to wander. But it's exactly this wandering where the mind makes connections and comes up with cool stuff.

So next time you wait for something, instead of immediately pulling out your phone to 'kill time', be bored instead. Can you wait for a bus for 15 minutes by 'doing nothing'? Try it. Pay attention to the thoughts that float up - what is your mind producing when let free?