How To Be Creative 08: Embrace Boredom

You’re in line for groceries and wouldn’t you know it, you needed some food at the precise moment as everyone else. You reach impulsively for your phone because it’s pure Pavlov. With social media, notifications, and apps galore, your phone is the big ticket to instant gratification. There’s no reason to be bored nowadays…or is there?

It may take some willpower, and while we know that’s a finite resource, you’re willing to trade up to something better, like an incredible new idea or a solution to something that’s been bothering you. In this age of distraction, opt-in to boredom — at least now and then.

Our minds are amazing things. While the number of things we can feed them to process is impressive, what’s really cool is what happens when we let them be. Give your mind a break from consumption and it doesn’t sit idly; it gets wildly creative. It’s no secret, but giving yourself a breather is essential for finding your creative genius. Think of it this way. If you were locked in a room with art supplies and nothing else to do, what would happen? You’d draw, paint, write or come up with something totally unique. It might not be the best thing ever, but you’d be creating nonetheless. It’s why so many people report their best ideas coming to them in the shower, on airplanes, or long car rides. But you don’t need to limit yourself to these infrequent moments. I know you don’t shower nearly enough anyways.

The next time you find yourself not knowing what to do, consider it an opportunity. Take in your surroundings. Think your thoughts instead of reading someone else’s. I think you’ll find it wasn’t so much ennui, but an opportunity. Give your brain quality time to process all the input you’ve given it. It will reward you by showing that it’s a lot cooler than you ever gave it credit for.