Ever thought of the value of boredom?
My older daughter is on a technology challenge for her leadership class. This means for the next 3 days she is going iPhone/iPad free. It is the nearly the end of day 1. She did this once before a couple of years ago, and it didn’t seem too hard. This time, though, she said it has been much more difficult. Maybe the result of us all being on screens way more over the last year or so.
All evening she has been moping around, despairing that she has nothing to do; that she is so bored. As I sat here trying to determine what I would write about, she attempted to sit beside me – clearly wishing that I would entertain her.
I somewhat rudely told her to go use her bored brain to find something to do that didn’t involve me. She wandered downstairs to her room and I didn’t expect to see her again for the evening.
I was wrong. Within 10 minutes she had arrived back upstairs with a new puzzle she received for Christmas. She is now sitting across from me sorting puzzle pieces – and energized! Until I started writing she was throwing me idea after idea of what I should write about because I was experiencing writers block!
This was a profound reminder that sometimes you have to be bored to allow your creative brain to show up. When we constantly allow screens to distract us (which lots of research is showing might be out of our conscious control), there isn’t much space for creativity.
If you set some intentions for this year, but you’ve fallen back into practiced habits – like watching Netflix all evening, playing Candy Crush (or the newest popular game), scrolling through your social media feed, or watching YouTube video after YouTube video – maybe it is time to stop and give your brain a chance to actually get bored.
This quote by Robert M. Pirsig is motivation for me:
“Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.”
Are you willing to take on my 4-part challenge?
My challenge to you today has 4 parts:
1) Consider a 3-day technology challenge. Maybe you can’t give up your phone, but could you delete Instagram or Facebook off your phone or quit Netflix, for just 3 days?
2) Notice what you feel when you consider that challenge. The more uncomfortable you feel about the idea, the more important it might be for you to try it.
3) Think about what kind of challenge would actually get you to that bored place. Maybe for you it is a 1-day ban, or maybe it is about giving up TV for a week or a month.
4) I Find yourself an accountability partner who will ask you how things are going with your challenge – or maybe even challenge someone else to join you on the ban.
All the best to you as you seek to find your Creative Brain from a Bored place!
Be sure to comment below to let me know if you are willing to take me up on my challenge and then let me know how it goes!