Boredom: how you can use it and transcend it

Is boredom the source of ill?

i finds oldest son ”amazing’ except when he is bored.  i rarely gets bored – from an early age i was beaten into an able reader.  In younger days, i was ‘imprisoned’ inside the house whilst friends were playing outside – cloudy days, sunny days, rainy days.  Home life occurred as dull (neither parent was educated, literate or passionate about anything in particular).  i gained wings and escaped the prison by losing itself in the Greek myths at the age of 7 or so.  Later i moved on to Alistair MacLean novels and so forth…….  To this day, i rarely gets bored – there is a treasure house of amusement in the form of modern stories, classics, philosophy tomes, psychology classics, spiritual thrillers….. i also has access to the internet and through that all manner of interesting stuff like the ‘remarkable talks by remarkable people’ on TED.  When the opportunity arises then i loves to: go for a walk – especially in the mountains; sit by the stream, river or sea; walk on the beach; cycle around; play table tennis; play pool; watch a movie; talk with friends; write blogs and so on.  i simply does not get how it is that people get bored!

When ‘amazing’ son gets ‘bored’ he ‘acts up’: he makes all kinds of noises (which occur as irritating to i); he barges into other people’s rooms without knocking or asking for permission; he ‘picks on his younger brother and sister’; muscles into other people’s activities with no consideration for their needs; he eats junk; he leaves stuff lying around the house; he ‘asks for and insists on’ hugs……..  All of these activities really press the buttons that activate the worst aspects of i: irritation; contempt; withdrawal; shouting……. i has been struggling, really struggling, with situation at hand.  I have noticed that i expects ‘peace, harmony, reasonableness’ and when i does not get it then i does not like it at all and like a two year old child i throws temper tantrums.

Is boredom is the context within which most people in developed countries live / operate out of?

I noticed that i was firmly in control and out of control so I made the choice to take time out – to read some spiritually uplifting stuff.  And in the process I am able to be at peace with my son (just gave him a big hug now).  What was the access to being at peace with my son?  Getting that ‘boredom’ is the condition that drives the modern world.  Yes, most people in the developed countries (those living in towns and cities) are bored with their lives.  Yes, we are: most of us are bored with our lives most of the time.  We hide it by taking tranquilizers and painkillers.  I could go further and say the ‘welfare of the modern economies’ rests on boredom – creating it and alleviating it.

How many of us do the following out of boredom:

  • Flee to the shopping centres and buy stuff we really do not need?
  • Watch mindless stuff on television?
  • Watch DVDs, go to the movies?
  • Read newspapers and magazines?
  • Play around with consumer gadgets?
  • Surf the internet?
  • Read books?
  • Escape to theme parks?
  • Visit art galleries and museums?
  • Have affairs, divorce, find new partners?
  • Change jobs?
  • Go to the pubs, cafes, clubs?
  • Drink and eat unhealthy stuff to unhealthy levels?
  • Do drugs?

Dive into this and you might just find that the list is endless.  Just think of the impact

How to deal with boredom?

First, recognise how ‘boredom’ shows up in your world, in your living, in your experience.  What do I mean?  I mean that you can investigate boredom: when it does it occur, how often does it occur, what specific circumstances give rise to boredom showing up for you.

Second, get that ‘boredom’ like ‘stress’ and ‘fear’ is a phenomenon we can use rather than let it use us.

Third, get that you, I, we are here and we might as well make ourselves USEFUL.

Operating out of a context of being USEFUL is a great access to transcending boredom

You can be USEFUL to others.  What can you do to make a difference, to be of service, to be a source or contribution to others?  Your family, your neighbours, your community, your colleagues, your profession, animals, plants, environment?

You can be USEFUL to yourself. How about taking up a sport – one that you have wanted to play and never have or one that you used to play, enjoyed playing and stopped playing?  How about learning a new skill – something you know that would make a difference to the quality of your life? How about stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something that scares you so that you can be free of that fear?  Does that occur as too much doing for you, too much effort?  Then how about finding a quiet room in you home and just sitting and being with yourself – meditation?  Incidentally, the latter is the hardest!


Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

2 thoughts on “Boredom: how you can use it and transcend it”

  1. Hi Maz
    I agree with you post completely and I want to tell you that I realized few things too. I watch TV mindlessly as you mentioned and until reading your blog I never realized it was out of boredom. Mo watching TV now except at scheduled time.

    Like

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