Creativity and the Paradox of BoredomPosted: March 23, 2010
Paradoxes are aplenty.
Everything is amazing and no one is happy” is one paradox to ponder. “Creative as a child, not as an adult” is a second.
Another that arrests my thinking is the paradox of boredom.
In this modern day of amazing technologies and inventions, with knowledge of the world at our fingertips, more variety than previously experienced, more choices than ever imagined, and the democratized sharing of individual creativity, then:
Why are humans so often bored?
If boredom is influenced by your state of mind, then why not change your mind?
If boredom is influenced by your environment, then why not change your environment?
If boredom is influenced by your habits, then why not change your habits?
Of course, answers to these questions are complicated and assume that individuals do have a choice. And, perhaps this is not always the case.
Nonetheless, my own curiosity on the subject directed my thinking to view these questions from another’s perspective. Thus, I write this blog post to assist those whom have chosen the path of boredom and perhaps desire some directions.
Indeed, boredom seems a state of mind requiring nurture.
Why choose boredom? Here are my best thoughts for doing so:
1. If your life is non-interesting, then no one will bother you.
2. Boredom requires less energy. Thus, you will need less energy.
3. It saves time. It takes little time and effort to manage a life of boredom and to do nothing in particular.
4. Boredom is simple. It is an easy to achieve status of quo. Nothing ventured; nothing gained; less risked. There is far less disappointment in life that way.
5. It saves money, too. With little or no investment, anyone can find boredom. Special tools, skills, education, or experiences are not required.
Truly, membership in the boredom club may have its privileges.
How do you find boredom? Follow these 20 easy directives:
1. Be a workaholic.
Just: work all the time. All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull and boring boy (or girl). Overwork provides a slow, yet effective, means of cultivating humdrum.
Side effects: creative thinking and ideas will become stale, health may decline, friends and family may disappear, and work performance will eventually suffer. An unbalanced life is a boring life.
2. Make a list.
Check it thrice. Never do anything naughty or nice. Or, off list.
3. Live life in neutral.
Do not: travel, meet new people, or try new things/experiences. To do so will surely lead to occasional disappointment or lowered expectations. No one needs this stress. Live life as it can be: boring.
4. Act curmudgeonly.
A curmudgeon is someone whom is never satisfied. So, make an effort to complain, whine, mumble negatively, and disagree as often as possible. This will surely rid yourself of those toxically happy friends, coworkers, or schoolmates that are always trying to buzz kill your boredom.
5. Just (don’t) do it.
Forget about exercise, diet, or anything resembling healthy. Such actions will surely release those pesky happy endorphins that may trigger euphoria and end any desired feelings of boredom.
6. Silence the music.
There is really no reason to sing, hum, tap your feet, finger dance, head bang, body drum, air guitar, or dance as if no one is looking. That is just blatantly unboring.
7. Unfollow your bliss.
Ignore any pangs of passion, hobby, or special interests. Such effort can only lead to wasteful hours of delightful interest, actions, and creativity. No one needs this bother when boredom is the priority.
8. Bored is as bored doesn’t.
9. Talk about yourself.
The first rule of boredom club is to talk about boredom club. This will spread the uncheeriness of your boring life to others, prompt confirmation of your boring status, and spread the word of your boring persona. There is no need to face boredom alone. Pity parties are all the outrage.
10. Focus on one thing at a time until you tire of it.
Never divert your attention to otherwise. Listen to a favorite music artist until you cannot. Watch a favorite movie over and over and over and over. Always eat the same foods for lunch. Follow the same schedule. Take the same route to work. In other words, do what you love (or favor) until you no longer do.
11. Avoid daydreaming.
Daydreams may inadvertently motivate you to get off the sofa or out of your office to find something interesting. A short afternoon nap is also out of the question. Unfortunately, such activities divert energy to all parts of your body, and you should just not let this happen.
Bonus tip: as to slumber, make sure you arise only after a minimum of three hits on the snooze alarm. This easy and non-energizing habit ensures that night dreams are not remembered and excitement for the day is not generated.
12. Stop learning.
You probably know all you need to know already. If friends, family, or others have ever described you as a “know it all,” then you are there. Bored dumb becomes you.
13. Never embrace randomness.
Be predictable. Organize your life into an inflexible schedule. This way you can plan for and mark it on your calendar.
14. Think inside the left-brain.
Ignore your right brain. Creativity is the bane of boredom. So do not partake. Make no refrigerator art. Do not play with children. Do not color outside the lines or think outside the box. Do not pass Go. Avoid interesting or artistic people. Accept bad brainstorming. Ignore your ideas and those of others. Let your left-brain do the talking.
Side note: please remember that almost any act of creativity is likely to take your boredom, wad it into a ball, and toss it from a 10-story window just to watch it bounce.
15. Unsubscribe to Google Reader.
There are just too many things of interest worthy of reading. Besides, searching for new RSS feeds, defining and organizing folders, and keeping current with topics of interest is far too bothersome.
Bonus tip: you should especially refrain from using Google Reader on your iPhone or less smarter phones. Such uncalled for effort will only lead to less boredom while waiting on others, standing in line, or sitting in silence.
16. Abandon Twitter.
The serendipity of discovering the unexpected will only rid the boredom from your mind and cause uncontrolled right brained creative combustion. Ouch, it hurts boredom when that happens.
17. Silence the Youtube.
There it is all too easy to stumble into something interesting, unusual, humorous, educational, or unanticipated. This would surely ruin your state of boredom for a minimum of 10 minutes per visit. Google makes enough money anyway; why contribute?
18. Unfriend Facebook.
Otherwise, you may regularly have tempting invitations to: do something, go somewhere, read this, play that. Rush (don’t dawdle) to Facebook and start unfriending now.
19. Ban the blog.
Blogging requires creative thinking, voracious reading, interesting thoughts, unfettered brainstorming, ubiquitous recording and organizing of ideas, creative wordsmithing, and social networking. This could surely end your desire for anonymity and boredom extraordinaire.
20. In fact, call your Internet provider and disconnect now.
There are far too many distractions, diversions, and boredom killers on the World Wide Web to disrupt your state of Mind Numbing Boredom. The lowest levels of über boredom are outside your reach in the company of broadband.
Boredom is a state of mind and a way of life. Along with boredom comes apathy, tiredness, banality, procrastination, negative attitudes, laziness, narcissism, lack of creativity, and unfun.
You can be as bored as you want to be. The choice and actions are yours.
Post script: if you sincerely feel that boredom is the problem rather than the pursuit, then you should studiously reread the above directives.
Then think and do opposite.
More aha lessons.Yawn…Don’t Let Boring Work Get You Down by Dawn Foster, @geekygirldawn
Enjoy a Creative Bounce with Simple Fun by Denny McCorkle, @TweetRightBrain
“Someone’s boring me. I think it’s me.” Dylan Thomas
“When people are bored it is primarily with themselves.” Eric Hoffer
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Ralph Waldo Emerson