One of the pieces of advice I gave my children early on that I wish I could take back is: “when you grow up (and get a job) you are going to have to learn how to deal with boredom.” My thinking (and experience) at the time was there are times when I am bored and being able to deal with it is an important life skill. 100% wrong.
Boredom is an unintended side-effect of the hyper modernized goal-oriented world. To be bored means to be so inundated with distractions that we don’t realize that what we’re trying to distract ourselves from is inherently interesting. Boredom arises out of delusion. When we experience boredom we are essentially taking life for granted. We’re committing an act that has relations with death, in a sense.
To be bored is to deny oneself a self-imposed purpose of living, an interest in activity or, in the very least, in contemplation. To a mind that is curious or stimulated boredom simply doesn’t exist. Let’s examine this through an example.
Via: The Daily Zen
What I realize now is that boredom is like a pain in your side. Sure you can learn to live with it, but a better approach is to see it as a symptom or a signal that somethings out of balance. Strike at the root, not the branches as my good friend HDT would say.
When you are bored its a signal that you are taking the easy way out. It means that rather than tackling the hard, interesting, challenging problems you are seeking shelter in the easy, the mundane, the pedestrian. It is an act of bravery to commit to never being bored. First you have to be brave to look inside and decide what really matters to you. Then you have to be brave to say no to all the things that don’t line up with that. Then you have to be brave to actually act on the things that have made it on your “matters to me” list despite what anyone else says or thinks. Living an exciting (i.e. happy) life is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for those that just want to think and not do.
To be clear, this is not a call to live your life like you are an multi-sport X-games competitor 24/7. Depending on your energy, mood and goals, reading a book for 8 hours in a hammock could be the most non-boring thing you could do that day. Of course some days it might be jumping off a mountain in a wingsuit. To each his own – but know what is “your own” and make sure everything that makes it on your list is exciting.
So, sorry kids. Forget I ever said it. Replace the stupid advice of “learn to deal with boredom” with “Never be bored.”