Boredom and creativity
The wife in Chekhov's play Uncle Vanya (1897) complains: "I'm dying of Boredom. I don't know what to do." Of course, if Yelena lived today, she'd probably just get out her phone and scroll on Facebook, check her emails or look through Instagram or Pintrest etc to alleviate her boredom . If you have a world of distractions in your phone it's easy to fill your time and stave of boredom, but what if boredom is good for us? What if boredom is a meaningful experience that has the ability to lead us into deeper states of thoughtfulness or creativity? Tedium might spark creativity because a restless mind hungers for stimulation; boredom becomes a’ seeking state’.
"What you're doing now is not satisfying. So you're seeking, you're engaged."
Heather Lench (psychologist)
When you get bored your mind goes into default mode and then your mind starts to wander; this is when we make connections, become creative, solve problems and create new personal narratives and goals creating a cognitive forward motion.
Any parent will tell you that children with 'nothing to do' will eventually invent some game to play. Maybe we, as adults, need to embrace the boredom we feel and not struggle with it but instead learn to give ourselves the time to be bored, relax and develop patience by not immediately seeking to avoid boredom by filling up our time with valueless things that will cause us to ‘tread water’ or start to sink rather than move forward. If we allow our brains time to rest and assimilate who knows what inspiration and creative processes will have the chance to come to the fore?!
We only have one life, time is one thing we cannot buy; let’s use it wisely.
What creative thing can you start today?
What have you been putting off, always meaning to do but saying you never had the time?