Remember boredom? That sensation experienced frequently before smartphones, infinite podcast libraries and seamless access to almost every movie and TV show ever made.
Intellectuals have lined up to decry it: Soren Kierkegaard called boredom the root of all evil, Bertrand Russell said the fear of boredom was responsible for half of mankind’s sins, and Arthur Schopenhauer named boredom–along with pain–as an enemy of human happiness.
But perhaps we have forgotten its virtues. In March 2019, the Academy of Management published three experimental studies that manipulated boredom and identified the benefits for creativity of being bored. It found boredom could increase the productivity of individuals performing idea generation tasks.
The problem may be that we think of boredom as the epitome of lost productivity, as well as a rather unpleasant experience, so we search for something to engage us (often our phones) rather than exploring the sensation of being bored.
Many entrepreneurs attest that, if we can reimagine it, we can repurpose boredom into a highly effective tool for productivity and creativity. After all, those eureka moments normally come when doing the most mundane activities, like brushing your teeth or staring out of a train window.
Violette De Ayala, founder of FemCity, believes boredom can have a transformative effect on a business. On a recent flight, she deliberately chose not to take a book, watch movies or connect to the WiFi.
De Ayala says: “It gave me three hours of boredom which, in turn, gave me a very productive flight to think about strategy, campaigns and business development for my organization.
“Had I brought a book or connected to the internet, I wouldn’t have had the clarity and therefore the productivity to work on future plans with such focus and intent. The boredom was what I needed to remove myself and calm my mind in order to move forward with bigger business plans. I think this is why many people have great ideas while taking a shower.”
For years, boredom has been a “secret weapon” for James Pollard, founder of TheAdvisorCoach, who uses it as a reliable method of idea generation.
Pollard says: “For me, it’s typically tidying up. I will spend some time each week organizing my office, my house, my car, etc. and I will keep my phone in my pocket. Without fail, every five minutes or so I get another idea I can implement in my business. I pull out my phone, open my note-taking app, and jot it down. Then, I go back to tidying up. I view this as a win-win situation. My environment stays clean, and I can turn on the tap of ideas whenever I want. It’s amazing.”
The value of boredom can be more than just a tool for problem solving: it can be the spark that kick starts an entire business. Dale Johnson, founder of Content By Dale, recalls: “In 2016, I was lecturing at a U.K. university. I asked the students if they were going to vote in the upcoming EU referendum, and many said no. I asked why, and the majority answered, ‘I don’t understand it.’
“At home that night, I was sitting in silence, thinking about it. On my desk, I caught sight of an old cinema ticket. Then, it hit me. Batman v Superman was in the cinema. Both that film and Brexit were highly popular search terms at the time so I fused the two, creating a comic where Superman argues for remaining and Batman argues for leaving.”
The comic took Johnson two months to finish. Once launched, it went viral, with 25K Facebook likes, thousands of shares, and over 100,000 page views, inspiring him to launch his content creation and marketing agency. He warns: “Always look around you, and never at your devices.”
But why does this happen? Margaret J. King, Ph.D, director of the Centre for Cultural Studies & Analysis, explains that boredom is a form of frustration that can be very productive if mindfully deployed.
King says: “If you have ever been in a boring meeting–one in which you are not productively engaged–you’ll notice your mind wandering over into problem-solving mode for issues that are bothering you, both work and personal.
“When the mind can’t engage productively or imaginatively, it gravitates to zones where it can grapple with real issues that have been circulating, scanning for solutions. So forcing yourself to sit with nothing to do for even 10 minutes might be a form of meditation without engagement, a mind state that yields results.”
via Forbes – Entrepreneurs https://ift.tt/dTEDZf
October 15, 2019 at 10:19AM