The Importance Of Being Bored

The Importance Of Being Bored

Everything to know about why you should do nothing.

46
views

I've always thought of free time as a weakness. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I like to quantify my success with the number of things on my to-do list. So, naturally, I've trained myself into thinking boredom is the enemy of productivity. However, recent studies have shown that reality is quite the opposite.

In 2014, researchers Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman tested how boredom affected creativity. They tasked half the participants in their experiment with completing a boring task before attempting a creative one while the other half went straight to the creative task. The subjects primed with boredom were found to be more productive and imaginative when it came to the creative task.

Rather than seeing boredom as a sign of weakness, it should be seen as a time to recharge. Though productivity is important, it's pointless if your actions lack the creativity and clarity that only boredom provide. More than that, boredom is a means of revolution. Societal pressures teach us that constantly staying busy is the key to success. When we're busy all the time, we tire super quickly and have less time to think. We have less time to think about our goals, how we're being treated, and what we want to change about the world. By falling into the trap of equating business with success we maintain the status quo.

Don't believe me? Try Forbes Coaches Council - "an invitation-only organization for successful business and career coaches." Coach Sherry Swift of Swift Transitions, Inc. calls boredom a time to, "use your inner ear and hear from yourself." She advises young professionals to use boredom, "as a measure to do more, be more, and move forward." Likewise, Coach Cori Burchell, founder of Dear Miss Millionaire, tells her readers to use boredom to ask themselves, "Where in my life am I comfortable but unsatisfied?" Then ask, "What am I going to do about that?"

That being said, boredom is easier to talk about than it is to do. Especially in college, the pressure to always "be on" is prevalent every single day. Bowing out from the competition to take some unstimulated me time is a sign of weakness- or at least that's what I thought. I realized my self-condemnation for boredom was born of my deep insecurity about what people think of me. I thought that if I was perceived as lazy or taking time for myself by others, my reputation would diminish and people would no longer see me as the "successful student, leader, and friend" image that I tried so hard to maintain for myself. But the reality is that no one cares about you as much as you think they do. And even if they do care, their opinion is irrelevant. If I'm taking time for boredom to stimulate my creativity, that's my business and no one else's.

In college, I've found that it's important not only to prioritize your boredom but to put all of your needs first. These last two paragraphs probably sound a little cliche, but I don't think a reminder will hurt. It's imperative that college students spend these fleeting four years concerned with themselves and their futures. What you need to function as a happy, independent, and be a critically thinking person is of utmost importance. Boredom should be at the top of that list; so schedule time in your planner, take walks, disconnect, and have time to think. You'll be endlessly better for it.

Popular Right Now

Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
63440
views

“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Mourning The Loss

She had no direction and already felt like she had lost herself, anyway.

61
views

She wore her heart on her sleeve but covered her innermost feeling with laughs, smiles, and awkward jokes that only some thought were funny at all. She was happy on the outside and this got her to the place where she is now. Faking it till she made it made sense until she realized she didn't know what she was making it to.

Regardless, she was a bright light in the hallways of her grade school filled with small plastic chairs and brown square desks. She acted most days as a clown in the classroom in order for her to get some kind of attention. She worked on Accelerated Math and reading books extensively, and in her free time her studying habits were almost obsessive.


Brianna Gavin

When asked to do anything for anyone, she dropped all of what she was doing to help.

High school came around and after being separated from her best friend going to a different school, she knew this time she really had to reinvent herself. At first, she stayed in the bubble of grade school friends and found it hard to ever speak up about anything.


Brianna Gavin

She kept her mouth shut for the first year of high school and lived in the shadows of her siblings' bad decisions. That first year, teachers even called her "little Gavin".

As sophomore year of high school came around, she met a teacher that would forever change her life and brought her out of the shadow of her siblings past. She was the first teacher in that high school to see her as her own person, different from her family.

After meeting this teacher, she stepped into the role of being a leader. She went to summer leadership camps and became actively involved in the Social Committee of Student Council. She created a service club and became the president. She got over 100 hours of service done each year, went on mission trips, led and spoke her story at retreats, went to every football game dressed UP in the theme, and still had time to get a high GPA.


Brianna Gavin

She was KILLING it.

In the mornings before school started, she sat in her car for five minutes by herself to separate her home life from her school life. She listened to "One Man Can Change The World" by Big Sean and sang the words to herself as she began to put on a mask for the day.


Brianna Gavin

She was sometimes a clown. She'd walk around the hallways and go to class while eating boxes of cereal and constantly made jokes about ANYTHING going on. One thing you could always count on her for was authenticity and hope.


Brianna Gavin

Even at her job teaching kids how to swim, the second she came out in her brightly colored swimsuit, her kids were already there and ready to say hi to her. Kids would make her cards and families constantly asked her to babysit and told her stories of how much their kids loved her.


One day during school, she was awarded with a scholarship called "You Can Count On Me", given to her because of how reliable, dependable, and important she was to all those around her. She remembered the words that were said about her when she received the scholarship and those were the driving force for her to continue helping others and being there for herself.

But then came college. And with the goodbye to all of her friends, family, and popular school life also came the goodbye to herself.


Brianna Gavin

She now became something she didn't want to be anymore. She stayed in her room, struggled extensively with mental illness, and looked in the mirror without knowing what she was looking at. She didn't have many friends and she felt alone most of the time.

With change and loss, she lost herself. She, in a sense, died as soon as her relationships with those close friends and family died. And no matter how hard she tries, she will never be the happy, energetic, inspiring, motivational, giving, faithful, loving person she once was.

The truth she has to share...she is gone.

Related Content

Facebook Comments