boredom

  

Happy Boring Day! Mind you with coronavirus lock down, people might have had their fill of “Boring Days” by now. But such daily doldrums might just be another silver lining to the pandemic.

This year’s advice comes from former Microsoft colleague Steve Clayton. His current job as “Chief Storyteller” at Microsoft is anything but boring. We used to work together and both discovered blogging about the same time (before it was “a thing”). He shared it in his “old school” digital format of a boring email message. One which he sends out religiously each Friday and calls it, also somewhat boringly, “The Friday Thing””

  • · “The Friday Thing #616 ¬is boring. Well, more accurately, it’s about being bored. In fact it’s about cultivating boredom. I was reminded this week why it is I like to find new (and quiet) places to work. Why I sometimes cherish the 9hr flight from Seattle to London. Why I sometimes like being stuck in traffic – without any music or podcasts. Why I have been told, more than once, that I am boring. Because boring is good. Or, to put it another way, in the words of Austin Kleon, ‘when I get busy, I get stupid’. He wrote that in his book Steal Like and Artist. He also mentions that creative people (of which I am one, apparently) need time to just sit around and do nothing. It’s why ideas happen in the shower and why I have many of my most creative (not always best) ideas on a plane without Wi-Fi – because I have few distractions and lots of headspace. Letting you brain get in to free flow is an illuminating process. But in the busy world we live in today, you have to force yourself to be bored. I love this line by Peter Bregman: ‘Being bored is a precious thing, a state of mind we should pursue. Once boredom sets in, our minds begin to wander, looking for something exciting, something interesting to land on. And that’s where creativity arises.’ Or perhaps Albert Einstein said it best when he said ‘Creativity is the residue of time wasted.’ So this week, in a first ever for the Friday Thing I am giving you nothing to click on, read or watch. Just celebrate some boredom for a while.”

A blogging hero to both Steve and I , Seth Godin, echoed these sentiments in his own post Thoughts on “I’m bored”:

  • · “It’s good that you’re feeling bored. Bored is an actual feeling. Bored can prompt forward motion. Bored is the thing that happens before you choose to entertain yourself. Bored is what empty space feels like, and you can use that empty space to go do something important. Bored means that you’re paying attention (no one is bored when they’re asleep.).”