“In order to live free and happily you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.” ~Richard Bach
Boredom is a pernicious thief that steals joy from the moments a life is made of. It’s a symptom of something misaligned, an internal alarm that indicates a needed change. It’s the setting on your internal thermostat that reads “too cold.”
Most fundamentally, boredom is a sign that life is not being fully used as the precious gift it is, that something is missing, not externally in the thing that bores you, but in the character, personality, priorities or mindset of the person feeling bored.
Do you want to end the slow drip of boredom once and for all?
You can, you know. And it’s not even all that difficult either … once you’ve accepted that the cause of your boredom is inside you, not “out there,” in the stale activity, uninteresting person or lackluster event.
How to End the Tyranny of Boredom
Four characteristics that stomp out, crush and transform boredom into a happy, passionate life no longer tainted by boredom’s stink:
1. Be Curious
Let your mind go. Let your imagination soar. Let your natural curiosity free of its self-imposed restrictions. Ask questions. Seek answers. Want to know, to understand, to learn. Hunger for knowledge. Thirst for understanding.
What do curious people look like? They are people who buy books, have personal libraries, attend seminars, sign up for workshops, read reputable blogs, watch documentaries and fill their minds with more questions than answers while passionately pursuing their interests.
They stretch their minds, challenging what they think they know, deepening their growing interest in the world, in people and in life-governing principles. They are not the single-key pounding musicians that fill their lives and interests with a single passion. Their interests are eclectic, varied and many.
2. Take Action
At some point, you have to put the book down and try out what it claims. Apply the content. Put ideas to the test. Put words into action.
People of action are rarely bored. They just don’t have time for boredom because they don’t sit around doing nothing long enough to get bored in the first place. Their lives are full of challenges and meaningful activities. They do interesting things and get into what they do.
Wonder why paint smells? Go look it up.
Wonder where Timbuktu is? Get a map.
Curious about nasturtiums or carpenter ants or opera? Go learn something new.
• Improve a skill.
• Develop a talent.
• Feed your creativity.
• Work on a trait.
• Overcome a habit
Too many people sacrifice their curiosity at the altar of inaction. The world is at our fingertips and yet too many people wonder and never learn, are curious and never look, don’t know and never ask, want to and never try.
Don’t let moments of curiosity die in the swamplands of laziness, apathy or indifference. (Tweet)
Get up and pursue your desire to know and do. Feed the fragile spark of curiosity and coax it into a raging passion of hunger to discover, to challenge, to try, to explore, to build, to climb, to run, to create and live with so much passion that there’s simply no room for boredom.
3. Be Adaptable
If you don’t like what’s on TV, turn it off! If your plans aren’t working out, do something else. If the path you’re on doesn’t do it for you, don’t continue down that dead-end road just because you started it. Change course! Find a new path. Break the mold. Stop pigeon holding yourself into a tight corner of repetitive sameness.
When you can do an about-face smack dab in the middle of life’s 4-lane superhighway, you will always be able to avoid boredom by simply changing direction and doing something else.
Learn to think outside the box. If the game gets rained out, play soccer … inside … using a balloon! If the park is closed, move the picnic to the backyard … or the food court at a mall … or your living room floor.
Don’t be a victim to inflexibility anymore; learn to adapt, move on and be happy!
4. Be Spontaneous
When my daughter was young, I would pick her up from school and announce, “Guess what! We’re going to the beach!”
Other times it would be the mountains, or the children’s museum, or the nature park for a 2-mile hike. No planning or packing or dressing just right for the occasion. Just going. That willingness to be spontaneous chases boredom out the back door and opens you up to so much more life ha to offer.
Too many plans are planned to death and the thing being planned for is never done because it never gets out of the planning stage. (Tweet)
If you fear underpreparation more than you desire the thing you’re preparing to do, you decrease the likelihood of it ever getting done. Plans will lead to backup plans which will need plans to prepare for additional planning.
Be spontaneous once in a while! It won’t kill you to simply act on a few unexamined whims from time to time! (as long as there’s no spontaneous skydiving without preparing a parachute or violating basic laws of decency on an impulse!).
Doing the same things the same way, without deviation, thought or intention is a recipe for boredom. (Tweet)
So go ahead and sign up for the martial arts class or scuba lessons, guitar or ballroom dance. Take a road trip. Sing out loud. Do something you don’t usually do merely for the sake of doing it.
It won’t be long before your new-found spontaneity will drive your boredom to move out and find someone else’s life to bother.
I once heard it told of a young boy who listened to a sermon and found it extremely boring. The preacher had droned on for what seemed like a monotonous eternity. After church the boy was befuddled as his dad went on about how good the sermon had been.
“Now come on, dad!” the boy finally exclaimed, “How could you have possibly thought that sermon was any good?”
The dad’s answer is the answer I offer you as the attitude that will transform your life if adopted as your own. Boredom will forever fade into history. Each moment of each day will be experienced as a moment of possibility, a moment to cherish and nurture and kindle into something wonderful.
He said, “Son, whenever I listen to a talk at church where the speaker seems to be struggling, instead of complaining about what he’s saying or failing to say, I simply give the sermon in my mind I think he should have given. And you know what? I’ve never heard a bad sermon since.”
The greatest prescription to a life of excitement and passion is to be thoroughly, completely, unashamedly, unabashedly entertained by life.
Take interest in your own thoughts. Use them to reshape your experiences. Find something you can get excited about and go get excited about it. Change how you see and interpret the world. If there’s a bad sermon, change it, rewrite it in your mind, turn whatever you’re doing into something better.
If you’re in a waiting room or a long line, read a book or write a poem or edit an article or start creating the masterpiece of your life.
Don’t let circumstances dictate your mood. Let your attitude determine how you experience circumstances. (Tweet)
Fill your life with meaning and purpose, with service and adventure, with introspection and creativity, with spontaneity and adaptability, appreciation, curiosity and action and life will hardly slow down long enough to feel bored ever again.
Your Turn …
What do you do to keep from getting bored?
What would you have added to help end the epidemic of boredom?
Photo by BailyRaeWeavcer