How Boredom Can Lead To Creativity

Posted by on Oct 4, 2017 in ComLead

Have you ever noticed how your most creative ideas have emerged in the moments when you’re feeling bored? Have you also noticed how rare it is anymore that we even hear someone complain that they are bored?

Most of us can recall bothering our parents as kids every day saying we had nothing to do but how often do we say that now? With handheld devices readily available that can entertain us in any way imaginable, how can anyone possibly feel bored? We have so many possibilities at our fingertips that we don’t ever have a reason to sit somewhere and contemplate what to do with ourselves. Monotony is seldom a part of our daily lives, but if we are never bored then when are we just thinking?

In the book “Bored and Brilliant” by Manoush Zomorodi, the author argues that monotony is the key to great ideas. Zomorodi explains how one day she realized that her most recent creative idea came to her while she was pushing the stroller with an open mind. She went on to speak with neuroscientists to better understand why our brain works differently when it isn’t being stimulated and found interesting results.

When our brain is on autopilot or default mode then we perform “autobiographical planning”. This is where our minds consider our lives and biggest moments and analyze our goals and plans. The issue with this though is that there are so many factors in our lives that eliminate all chances of boredom. Even if you look around a classroom you no longer see students zoning out or doodling on the sides of their pages. What you are more likely to see is students with their laptops open and four different tabs going at the same time. There is little space in our everyday lives that provides us room to just drift and think about anything or nothing at all.

While striving to be bored is not something that most of us want to do, maybe it is something that we could try to allow for at least a small part of the day. For instance, maybe don’t pick up your phone during commercial breaks, or don’t bring your laptop to your next class. Just take a minute to let your mind wander off and not feel stimulated and see what it can do.


Resources: This is how boredom can make you brilliant

Devon Bradley, M.S. Communication & Leadership 

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