Why being bored is the key to creativity
No one likes being bored. Watching the clock tick down your last minutes at work, feeling at a loss of what to do if plans suddenly change, or simply feeling bored with your exercise routine, your wardrobe, or in extreme cases your entire life, we don't usually harbour fond feelings towards boredom. In a life where capturing every moment on social media can seem crucial to proving we have an exciting life, boredom is definitely not rated.
However, I'm here to suggest something different. That sometimes boredom can be, well, good.
Being bored often triggers us to do something. We might whinge about being bored for a while. We might feel irritated, or even a bit depressed that we're in this situation of being bored. But sooner or later the boredom can become so great that it forces us to do something. It forces us to take action. It forces us to change.
Boredom is critical to creativity. Without being bored, the mind doesn't have the opportunity to be to search and explore all this things that you could be doing (if only you weren't stuck in this office/treadmill/relationship). Given the chance, your mind might start to consider doing something new, something completely different. You might walk a different way home from work, you might do something spontaneous like book onto a course of something you've never done before, or dig out the crayons and paper and go wild. Without being bored we can become busy in our 'busy-ness', often perpetuating our own sense of importance, that we begin to ignore our unhappiness.
This might work for a while. But the more you ignore your soul's cry for change (which is what boredom is, by the way, in my eyes are least), the most you begin to disconnect from what can make you really happy - your hearts desire.
Sometimes being bored means being alone. I mean properly alone, not with your smart phone or laptop, alone. And for many of us, being alone can feel terrifying. Being alone with nothing to do makes us think. It gives us the opportunity to find time and space to actually connect in with ourselves, and reflect on how things are going. Are we happy with our life? Are we surrounded by people who nurture and nourish us? Do we understand how to nurture and nourish ourselves? Sometimes these questions can feel so big that we want to push them away, but allowing ourselves to be still, explore having nothing to do, perhaps even be bored, we might learn something.
This doesn't mean you have to go and sit in a cabin on your own for 6 months whilst you figure out just want you need more of in your life - if you're super busy, or maybe you have young children or care for others in someway, just 5 minutes of sitting can be enough. You might not have time to get bored, but hey, you probably don't need to. If you're so busy sitting still for 5 minutes seems like a big ask, this is a good place to start. Creativity needs space. You are in control of your diary - make space for new ideas to pop up, and when they do, take action.
You have to be ready and willing for ideas to go in, and even if you don't really know what you want or need right now, it doesn't really matter - just do something different. Be that breaking the boredom by trying a new activity or looking for volunteering or freelance opportunities outside your day job, the sooner you get started, the sooner creativity will find you.
I'd love to hear how you get on, and if you'd like to explore this subject more, join my Connect to Your HeartFelt Desire workshop on Sunday 27th November at Bristol City Yoga.