Why You Should Have Moments of Boredom
Boredom is often a kid’s worst nightmare.
My mom would tell me to go outside and play and not come home until the streetlights went on.
My brother JJ was too young to be running around the neighborhood, and the kids that lived a couple houses down from me were often mean, so I was left to my own devices.
I knew when boredom was coming, the feeling of time slowing down, the sun shining high not having moved an inch since you last checked its position.
I had nothing to do, nowhere to go. I didn’t have any clue what imaginary world I wanted to be in or professional athlete I wanted to mimic.
But I enjoyed the boredom because it was in those periods as a child I understood what possibility was.
I didn’t have boundaries because I was so bored to think of where the lines were. I just created, thinking of names of characters I would interact with in imaginary worlds, losing myself in them for hours on end until my mom called my name to eat dinner.
I must have replayed the game-winning catch of the Super Bowl over a million times, and of course, when I didn’t catch the ball, there was always a penalty so I could redo it again.
I simulated the game-winning shot of the NBA finals, and of course, when I missed, I called a foul so I could hit the championship-clinching free throws.
So why boredom?
The great creatives often created periods of boredom. It was in these times they sat with themselves with nothing to do, nowhere to be, and their best ideas came to them.
During the painting of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo was not painting as one would think given the beauty and the detail of the famous ceiling. When he was not sketching or researching, he would go for walks and let his mind wander.
It was in these times that images of God and Angels appeared before him and the Chapel was created.
The world is flooded with decisions we have to make. We’re always on the go, telling friends and family we have errands to run, things to do so we can move onto the other task we have to do to do so we can accomplish another task.
We’re too busy to be bored. And that is not good for us.
Boredom gives us the space to let our mind wander and create without borders or expectations. It allows us to sit with possibilities and often, images, ideas and solutions come to us.
Think of the last time you allowed yourself to not have a to-do list or run an errand. Remember what happened then and what came out of a period of nothing.
If you don’t remember, maybe you’re due for a time of boredom.
It doesn’t take much but to do nothing.