Get bored. It’s worth it!
Recently I’ve had some major millennial-snowflake issues in my life. I did not find work interesting, could not focus and kept forgetting all the things my girlfriend told me to do. Moreover, I even felt I was losing the ability to express empathy... After a while I realised what was the problem. I was not getting enough boredom in my life.
Look around. How many people have you met which were completely lost in their phones on a street, in a bus or a train?
How I grew up to be an information junky
I am the average guy at the bus station. I do not read the printed time table. Instead I search for the connection online. And then the tick comes. The phone is already in my hand therefore why not to open Hacker News to find out what’s changed since yesterday. Oh, bummer… nothing interesting. Yet there is definitely the yesterdays Late Night videos already uploaded to YouTube. Wow, cool, that’s some crazy shit happening in the US lately. Tired of it. Let’s quickly check out some recommended article on Medium…
Well, that escalated quickly 🤔. And I am not alone. Just stop looking at your phone. Right now. Look around. How many people have you met which were completely lost in their phones on a street, on a bus or train?
I become an information junky. Check out the urban dictionary definition
Someone who so frequently occupies themselves with receiving or sending information or communication that it resembles an addiction. Usually a computer, and often the internet are used.
Surprisingly I was completely unaware of the problem.
Do not get confused though. This is not necessarily a pure chronic procrastination. I was getting things done and performed fairly well at work. The problem was wasting the tiny little moments I have when I hit the bus, my own free time, or the time when I stayed sick at home.
“That reminds me myself. What’s wrong with that?”
So how did it affect my life? I got my mind so occupied with unnecessary information that I completely lost my creativity. At work, I felt like everything was annoying and I got lost quickly. Instead of looking forward to future amazing adventures I mindlessly watch videos on YouTube and read articles and blogposts without actually thinking about the content in any was what so ever.
Above all that it also affected my personal life. I just was not thinking about it at all. You can imagine how frustrating would it have to be for my girlfriend to not to expect anything like “I did X and got Y on the way because I thought it would make you happy”.
Surprisingly I was completely unaware of the problem. I just thought that I was filling up some time or getting some interesting information about the world far beyond me. Well, I was wrong.
You’d feel boredom and you’d feel great.
Fortunately, there was a moment in my life a few weeks ago when I realised that I do not remember anything from the past few news articles I had just consumed. Which made me remember some passages from the best seller How To Read a Book which is all about paying attention to information and techniques to get the most out of information sources — applied to books.
By getting all the information I broke most of the advices from the book. I did not asses the quality of the information, I did not confront it with my current beliefs and most importantly I did not try to draw conclusions from it.
After thinking about the way how I spend my time and my life I realised that I can not get out of this mess simply by stopping reading or watching stuff online. The thing which I need is meditation. Well if you’ve just tried to imagine a guy like me in yoga pants — shame on you. You do not need dim light, candles and stretching to meditate.
You can open a pandora box of your very personal thoughts and feelings simply by sitting down, throwing away all distracting technology and listening to noises outside of your apartment window. Soon after you begin you’ll slowly calm down and your brain will start making sense of recent events and information — slowly getting deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. You’d feel boredom and you’d feel great.
When I tried it for the first time I had some sudden terrific revelations. I had not even thought about what I am going to do on my vacation and I was not even looking forward to it. That very evening I set down and started reading the Lonely Planet guide which we bought. This inspired me and I started planning all the little things which should be part of every holiday worth remembering.
I also got the time to think about my girlfriend and her upcoming name day. Of course that I want it to be special and now I had the time to realise how happy is she going to be when I surprise her.
If you read this I urge you to try to meditate. Call it a chilling-out if you find meditation sissy.
Easily accessible information nowadays is the very same problem as the cheap ever-present sugar. We are programmed to avoid boredom as much as we are to eat sweet stuff to get energy from. Unfortunately both are easily getting out of hand and we need to address the problems in our lives before it is too late.
Eating healthy and being informed about nutrition values of the stuff we eat is becoming trendy. Not wasting our time on phones not so much yet. If you read this I urge you to try to meditate. Call it a chill-out if you find meditation sissy. 🙄
I have yet a long way in-front of me. I am far from cured, yet I think that this is the way to go. As an intermediate step, I am thinking about working only 4 days a week for some time. Investing Wednesdays to sport, wellness and meditation. I feel like this might change my attitude towards life and work.