Picture this -
A 12'x8' cell, I mean, office with white cinderblock walls, surrounded by similar sized coffins - I mean workspaces - filled with miserable people wearing the brightest smiles pasted on their lukewarm faces.
There's a girl sitting at a tiny desk with another desk cramped right beside her. She's clawing at her mind's eye, wracking her brain trying to figure out: How the hell do I get out of here??
She was BORED - so bored that it hurt.
Day after day, she struggled to bring herself to do the same monotonous thing, fighting the urge to just walk out and call it a day. It was in those painfully boring moments that an idea was birthed - an idea that would change the trajectory of how she lived her life from here on out.
For too long, she had ran on the hamster reel of her day-to-day. The inspiration was lacking, but she was comfortable. Complacency wasn't enough to get the needle moving. So what was it that got her gears grinding on that cold October day?
Boredom was the blessing in disguise. It got the gears going and spurred the idea to create an escape.
What exactly is boredom?
Our good friend Merriam-Webster defines boredom as the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest. In other words, boredom arises from the unfulfilled desire to engage in satisfying activities. It's the catalyst to get the gears moving when complacent behavior isn't cutting it. Think about it. There's something unsettling about being bored. It's like the stick in your craw. It can be both mentally and physically uncomfortable. It's bothersome enough to move you to action.
Benefits of Being Bored
Although boredom often has negative connotations, it can actually aid in the creative process if done right. Let's explore three benefits of allowing ourselves to experience boredom.
Boredom is an opportunity to increase creativity. A wandering mind makes room for creative thoughts emerge. According to a study done by Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman, boredom has a creativity-boosting power. Daydreaming is the bridge between boredom and creativity. The more passive the boredom, the more likely daydreaming will take place, allowing for more creative thoughts to form. If we can't find something to stimulate us in our boredom, our minds will create something.
Being bored can improve mental health. We exist in a time and space where everything is at our fingertips. From Netflix binges to endless social media scrolling, our brains are constantly stimulated. Boredom is a way for our brains to decompress from the business of existing. Psychology Today tells us that "taking a break can be a valuable opportunity to help our overloaded brains relax and alleviate stress." Take a moment to turn off the phone, hit pause on that latest show, and let your mind relax.
Boredom can act as a motivator. When boredom sets in, the mind might be motivated to seek novelty. A novelty seeker is dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to question prevailing ideas and practices. According to a study done by Shane W. Bench and Heather C. Lench, experiencing boredom motivates pursuit of new goals when the previous goal is no longer beneficial. It encourages us to shift our goals and focus on that which is more fulfilling than our current experience.
Best Ways to be Bored
Ok, so we've talked about what boredom is and what's so great about it, but how do we harness the power of boredom to improve our creative lives? Here are some tips:
Participate in an activity that requires little to no concentration (ie - sitting with your eyes closed, walking down a familiar route, daydreaming)
Unplug! Make sure you create moments where you step away from the tech so your brain can breathe.
Skip the scrolling. Take time to disconnect from social media and the escape it gives you when doing things like standing on a long line or sitting through a tedious activity
Boredom is what gave birth to the idea now made manifest in CreatEscape. Give it a shot and see what embracing boredom can do for you!