The Power of Boredom

How to use boredom as the ultimate lifehack.

The Power of Boredom | Paper Clips by Maggie de Barra

I listened to such an interesting podcast this week: Am I Boring You? from the Freakonomics Radio podcast. This is a really great show and I highly recommend it. They aways have interesting content, and they are great storytellers.

Boredom has been a huge interest of mine for a while. Earlier this year I asked: Would you rather be busy or bored? I think it’s a fair question. Would you rather have too much on your plate, or nothing at all? This podcast asks a series of very good questions: What is boredom? Why do we get bored? Does everyone get bored? And, what does it mean?

My takeaway from the show is as follows:

Boredom is an emotion that has developed over time, similar to other instinctual emotions (fear, love, hate, etc.). These emotions are mental triggers that lead us to act. For example, when we are afraid we summon the power to either fight or take flight. Boredom is an emotion that is caused when our brain recognizes that what we are doing has no purpose.

You have mental resources, they’re scarce and they’re really important and valuable, and boredom develops as this signal that mental resources are not being used wisely, they’re not being used on valuable pursuits. -Amanda Markey

You will feel bored when you are in a situation that does not stimulate you, either mentally, physically, spiritually – whatever you wish. When your brain recognizes that you are wasting your time, you will feel bored!

Evolution gave us emotions for survival. So, fear is useful. Anxiety is useful. And even boredom is useful, because you don’t want an organism who just does the same thing over and over again without learning anything. It would be good to equip that organism with an emotion, an urge to move on when they don’t think that they’re learning anything new. -Angela Duckworth

It makes perfect sense. You may be sitting there, wasting your time away, feeling restless and bored and you just don’t know why. It’s because you are not learning anything new! Because you are not challenging yourself! Because you have become stagnant! Your brain recognizes this and it’s trying to tell you something!

The key is to recognize the symptoms of boredom and use it to change your life. The next time you feel bored, you need to stop what you are doing and get out of that situation! Think about what you are doing at that very moment and why you are not learning anything new. And then make a change. Never put yourself in that situation again. Change your attitude. Course correct. Do something that enriches your life, that makes you happy, that makes you feel like you have a purpose.

Do something. Do anything.

Listen to Am I Boring You?  and let me know what you think!

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A Brief Selection of Weird Search Terms

I think I’m really reaching my target audience.

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I’ve been meaning to write this list for a while because I get such a kick out of it. Something changed in the terms of service for WordPress or Google over the past few years so I’m getting fewer search terms coming down the pipeline, but man, they sure are wacky.

There are a bunch that make sense. Lots of searches for my name, Carleton, Seneca… A few people I have written about. A weird surge for Lauren Conrad Braids, Realistic Horse Costumes, and Guac. And then the crazy:

Misc.
kanye west’s outrageous high heels
why my ” and @ button are swapped (I still don’t know)
swords of famous people
there is no modern romance (re: swap boxes)
jaguar cichlid breeding (ew why?)
where can i buy a wallet in fairview mall
can i use paper clips to start an avocado
people freaking studying
why the changing of the guards at buckingham palace is so exciting (because it is!)

Nihilism
i am not boring
people who gets bored there the one who are boring
do not waste your feeling status
im learning to be alone
feeling bored and lonely photo

The moral of this story is that Big Brother is watching you! I think we are all in agreement that anything you type, click, view, or send is in the public domain. So keep that in mind while you’re browsing. Nothing is a secret and there is no such thing as privacy on the internet.