When was the last time you embarked on a personal project you were super excited about? When was the last time you saw a personal project someone else was pursuing and thought, “Dang, I wish I had thought of that?” Do you want to find out what your next project will be? Well, let me ask you another question.
When was the last time you were bored? Not just bored, but bored. Like really bored. Not the “let me pull out my phone” kind of bored, but the “I wonder what the back of my eyelids look like” kind of bored. Not the “I wonder what so-and-so is up to” kind of bored, but the “I wonder what the molecular make-up of glass is” kind of bored. Not the “what’s on the discover page of Instagram” kind of bored, but the “I wonder how a crystallized rock formed by high pressure differs from that of one formed by extreme heat” kind of bored. Not the “let me turn on some music to fill the silence” kind of bored, but the “I wonder if I can learn how to draw with my left hand” kind of bored.
You see, when we are bored—when we are truly bored—we think. But it’s not just that we think, it’s that we think differently. We invoke our inner curiosity that forces us to ask more interesting and challenging questions. The problem, however, is that we don’t allow ourselves to become bored. We’ve been told it’s a bad thing. We’re told we should always be busy.
So we’ve tainted the term boredom and have attached a negative connotation to it. It carries with it the implication that there’s something better we could be doing. It implies a void. However, I see it as the very opposite. I see it as clarity. Boredom isn’t the lack of having something to do, it’s an opportunity to think and gain clarity.
Busyness, a complete occupation of the mind and body, is dangerous. We’re encouraged to be busy. We’re taught busyness is the goal. We’re told being busy is a sign of success. But here’s the catch, busyness forces you to lose your innate sense of curiosity and inhibits creative thought.
Your next project won’t come from being busy all of the time, it’ll spur from boredom. Get out there, and be bored. Not just bored, like really bored.