Brilliant Boredom

Boredom: the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest

I should not be overwhelmed by boredom at this point in my life as it is holiday season (hooray) and I am deep into the last two weeks of my college career. There are a plethora of tasks I should be completing, but of course I find some other part of

Photo by me: my little standing proud in front of our half decorated tree

the house to decorate or a new recipe for cookies.

Boredom is something much of today’s society does not experience because our lives are busy and well, technology. We have access to apps of every variety to take away our split second of boredom. I am a believer in the statement that we are addicted to our smart phones. In my Principles of Health course this semester, the professor heightened my awareness to that fact through enforcement of using our phones or computers as little as possible during class. There is no reason why we need to be checking every little notification we receive, but we direly feel the need to. The screen lights up and we get a high…who is it, who liked my post, what’s going on with my friends, what puppy video can I watch now.

I, Madison, am addicted to my smart phone. There I said it, and it honestly wasn’t so hard. What is hard, is allowing myself to feel bored. Experiencing boredom for many people feels like the worst thing in the world. Especially now that we have no need to experience boredom, we are starting to lack independence in individuality and creativity. Oh how being creative in even the slightest way, makes us unique whether you are preforming a work task, decorating your house for the holidays, cooking, baking, battling potty training…anything. Our daily activities seem to be lacking our attention because we are use to going online and seeing what everyone else is doing. Imagine the brilliant ideas and life we can live if we allow ourselves to put down the phone, allow our brains to experience boredom, and give attention to our subconscious thoughts!

I came across the TED Talk above by Manoush Zomoroi titled How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas.  A total of 16 minutes which you will not be bored by so watch it! If you don’t have the 16 minutes, let me continue my rant and you will get the gist. Manoush asks “What actually happens to us when we get bored? Or, more importantly: What happens to us if we never get bored?” Excitingly, she explains that neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists found that when we get bored, we go into “default mode” which is an amazing network which wanders through the subconscious allowing different connections to take place. Furthermore, “we connect disparate ideas, we solve some of our most nagging problems, and do something called ‘autobiographical planning'”. Manoush explains that autobiographical planning is when we walk down memory lane, take note of big moments, create a personal narrative, and we go on to set goals with a plan to how to reach them. She created a challenge from her questioning called “Bored and Brilliant” mainly focused on what happens to people when they become aware of their technology usage and consciously work to limit it.

The end result was remarkable and reinstalled my thoughts about how we should be using technology:

  • many participants expressed they did not recognize some emotions they were feeling
  • constant technology usage can lead to a life without connectivity, thus lessening creativity and imagination about personal futures and problem solving
  • participants stated they slept better and felt happier

There is a lot of take-away from this TED Talk, but seemingly most important to me is that this furthermore proves the importance of teaching kids how to use technology for personal improvement. Games are fun, but we need to focus on sharing resources that improve their ability to use technology with purpose. Monoush closes with“…if you don’t decide how you’re going to use the technology, the platforms will decide for you.”. We control our minds and bodies, it is important to not lose that control to technology. Think independently and purposefully,

 

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One Comment

  1. Really like how you interweave the boredom discussion in with the tech reflections. Really like the idea of how “connectivity” relates to both conversations. Sometimes tech seems to help me unplug and disconnect, but usually it brings me into conversation with a world that I might only *observe* otherwise… interesting to think about what I’m really doing when I am “mindlessly” on my smartphone: wasting time or connecting? Great provocations in this little post!

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