Is Boredom a Good Thing?

I’ve been noticing myself having an increasing feeling of boredom lately, the type of boredom where you’ve done everything you feel like doing and there’s still time left before you go to bed. It’s also the type of boredom when there are things I can do, but I just can’t be bothered. I’ve started wondering if boredom is a good thing or not.

I’ll do it next month

You know when you have something that you need to do but you don’t really feel like doing it? You say you’ll do it tomorrow, but when that same time comes around tomorrow you might think “well it’s the end of the day and now I want to relax”, so you put it off again, and again, and again. You repeat this cycle until either someone or something forces you do to it, you make yourself do it in the full knowledge that you probably won’t enjoy it but you just want to get it done, or you get so sick of whatever it is you need to do hanging over your head that you just do it.

The first one is happening to me, but instead of saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ I say ‘I’ll do it next month’. But what is it exactly? Well for me it’s travelling, exploring and getting out there and doing stuff. I’m comfortable with my decision not to do it now because I know that when my contract is over I’ll be travelling every day, and I’ll be seeing new things every day, so right now I’m happy where I am. The trouble with this is boredom has started to set in.

Making the choice to be bored

In my post English teacher ending, what’s starting? I talk a little about my plans for what I’d like to do when I finish, and in that post I talk about the fact that my teaching life has become boring. That’s still true, it’s almost gotten to the point where if my older kids are misbehaving I sometimes feel I can’t be bothered to quieten them down. I do quieten them down obviously, despite the desire to be out of here I’m still professional, but sometimes I think “look, if you guys wanna talk and muck around I really couldn’t care less. I’m getting paid either way and I’m out of here soon anyway”. Can I be bothered to expend the effort to get discipline back? The answer to this question is yes, but I’m at that stage where if the class was cancelled I’d lose zero sleep, or if their Vietnamese teacher wanted to talk to them for a bit I’d say to her “sure friggin’ take all the time you need”.

Choosing to be bored can be a great experiment on yourself.

My decision to “put everything on hold” until I leave has essentially given me a lot of free time, and it’s taken the pressure off to do stuff. I still do this blog because that’s something I really enjoy, I still teach and lesson plan, I still live but all with less pressure on myself. Now with this new found feeling of boredom I feel I have a great opportunity to explore boredom and discover if it is good or not.

Experience from others suggests it can help

My best friend in Australia did do this experiment on himself, he made himself purposely bored to see how he would feel and see what happened. The results? Well he said it was great, eye opening and it let him achieve a shit ton of stuff. He said he experienced a sense of having to find things to do to make himself un-bored, thereby becoming a lot more productive. And now that he has purposely experienced boredom, he’s gone through it, the next time it naturally happens he’ll know how to deal with it.

Experiencing things yourself is the best way to learn

You can read all you want about something, but until you experience it first hand you won’t truely know what it’s like. It’s like touching a hot plate when you’re a kid – you hear time and time again from your parents not to touch it, but curiosity gets the better of you and you move your finger and hand at lightning speed to touch the plate to see what it feels like. And yes, you get a burn, and you say “ow!” and maybe you even cry and your parents say “I told you not to touch it.” After that initial experience of learning you pretty much never do it again for the rest of your life.

Everything in life is like this, sometimes you know from the experiences of others not to do something, or like most we learn through our own experiences.

Boredom is just another experience and the more you experience something the better you know how to handle it.

If you experience boredom and learn how not to be bored, then your life can get a whole lot more productive. At least this is all what I’m hoping. I’ve only started this journey of boredom, and I’ll let you know how it goes, but I think from the experiences of others it will be a great thing. We’ll see. Boredom for me is allowing my mind to focus on the future, like planning my trip to see what I will see, and that’s exciting! I’m already experiencing a positive of boredom!

Have you ever tried anything like this yourself? If so I’d love to hear how you achieved boredom and what you got out of it, maybe it’ll help others too.

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