We’ve cured boredom, and that’s a significant problem. Because who’s going to fix the problems that we have if you’re not bored, because that’s when you get up off your butt and do something.
I have a bit of a nasty habit… I tend to pick semantic arguments with things I fundamentally agree with. I found myself nodding along with much of what Dave and Patrick Rhone were saying in this episode and I really recommend you listen to it1, but their focus on boredom seems wrong.
You don’t get up off your butt because you’re bored, you get off your butt because you decide to do something. Playing angry birds, watching bad TV and drowning yourself in what others are saying on the web aren’t the enemy of boredom, they are the results of making really crappy choices.
In the episode, David and Patrick talked about taking time to process what you’ve seen and creating opportunities for deep thought. While these are both important, neither are acts of boredom. In fact, they are the exact opposite. They are examples of actively making the most of your time rather than squandering it on something useless. This isn’t a matter of disconnecting; it’s a matter of intent. It’s deciding that you’d rather invest your time in something meaningful rather than spending it on something distracting.
Sure, great ideas often come while doing nothing. Sure, we all have some of our best thoughts in the shower. But more often than not, ideas come from the seeking out and reacting to smart things other people are saying. More than anything, they come from deciding to be more mindful. It’s not about choosing to do nothing, it’s about carefully choosing what you choose to read, what you choose to see, what you choose to interact with and, most of all, what you choose to make.
Don’t choose to be bored; choose to do something. Choose to make a better use of your time. Choose to make a better use of your life. You’ll likely find that you accomplish a lot more than boredom if you do.
Especially if you have even the slightest concern about how our persistent connectivity is affecting our ability to actually use our brain. ↩