We’re rarely ever bored.
Recently I was in a doctors office filling out insurance paperwork. My favorite! Kidding. After I was done, I sat down and just waited… I don’t always do this. I usually just take out my phone, like every other human being, but this day, the thought of doing that exhausted me. So I just stopped and looked around.
I was in the waiting room with five other people. And what were those five other people all doing? Everyone was on their phone. HA! Including my husband who was playing Boom Beach (aired out babe). This isn’t the first time I’ve obviously had seen everyone on their phones. It’s routine these days and I totally do it too. But this time, it almost felt weird. Like I was watching people miss life all around them; witnessing people failing to connect with the present.
Then I thought, it’s funny how we are rarely bored anymore. We have tablets on hand, we have iPhones in our pockets and TVs are almost everywhere. We can reach anyone, at anytime through various mediums. We can get information in a matter of seconds. If I didn’t have friends, I could just befriend Alexa! See, I probably wouldn’t have thought all these things if I had just picked up my phone and distracted myself in the waiting room!
Recent research shows that the American adult spends 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smart phone every day.
At first I thought, that’s not terrible, especially if that includes work and stuff but that’s about 86 hours a month! 86 hours… If you are a young adult or teenager, you’re spending more time on your phone. Smart phones aren’t the only noise that competes for our attention either.
I remember saying, “ugh, mom, I’m so bored!” when I was younger. “Go and fold the laundry then!” Not the response I was looking for. What did I do before all the noise? I read, I sang, I created dance routines (not my most shining moment, I’m sure). I would create stories, I would go outside, I would make forts and take pictures. I would draw. I would go to house parties. Like, actual house parties with my friends… not the app. I did a whole lot without technology.
Although I believe technology can be a catalyst for creativity, I wonder how much, at times, it prohibits us? What’s so wrong with having times of solitude? What’s so awful about the opportunity that boredom can hold? Why does our culture push us to believe that carving out time to think (and not be busy for once) is for pansies?
When you are bored, you’re stuck with yourself.
Stuck with your thoughts. Forced to process your day, your relationships and your feelings. When we don’t take advantage of these moments, I wonder if we’re missing certain connections, forfeiting a chance for purposeful thought, not gauging our mental status or even stalling the fermentation of memories! I wonder how much we are shortchanged because we are filling up our free time with things like Facebook? How much more creative and innovative can we be? Would we be more in tune with ourselves? Would we make better decisions?
Some of the best ideas, inventions, revelations and moments of creativity were often birthed out of daydreaming, horsing around, physical activity, spontaneity, and aimless wandering, which are all things we either take for granted, don’t prioritize or even deem as a waste of time.
How many of you have brilliant ideas in the shower?? I do. Often. Probably because I’m not talking and no one is talking to me. I’m alone with my thoughts! And on my own when it comes to getting shampoo out of my eyes. 72% of people develop some of their most creative ideas during rubber ducky time. I rest my case.
Just food for thought. I’m not sure what kind of post this is, other than I, myself, have been challenged to stumble upon creativity in unexpected places. Bringing myself to intentional “slow down spaces” so I can bring something different and unique to the table. I figured, maybe, I can prompt you to do the same. So next time you find yourself in an airport waiting, commuting on the train or in the passenger seat, don’t reach for your phone. Allow boredom to push you into doing something different and observing something else. You may discover a few things about yourself, release some stress, solve a few problems or even accidentally create. I don’t know, it happened for Newton, Einstein, Fleming and Disney.
Why not you?