Boredom: the secret to your creative success


Does this sound like you? You once had the brightest ideas but are now struggling to come up with anything new and interesting. You are trying to move your business forward but can’t get yourself to think in new ways. You’re an artist and feel stuck.

There are plenty of scenarios in which we all would like to be able to access our creative sides and have ideas flow more easily.  So what keeps us from creativity?

Let’s approach this issue from a different perspective and examine a typical day. You wake up and immediately play the newest podcast episode while getting ready for the day. You read that brand-new, life-changing, award-winning book on our way to work. You scroll through Twitter while waiting in line in Tesco. You listen to audio books while jogging or walking the dog.

Do you ever have a chance to get… bored? Or do you just reach for your phone the first moment boredom starts creeping in? 

The latest research shows that there’s a greater link between creativity and boredom than originally thought. This makes sense. How can you expect to get a brilliant idea if  you never give your brain a break from content created by other people? 

Being bored sucks. And it is in our nature to try to avoid boredom any way possible. Our brains need stimulation and novelty. Nevertheless, the problem emerges when there is too much entertainment available -- social media, podcasts, Netflix. The list goes on. 

The magic happens when you stop feeding your brain all that new interesting content and allow yourself to simply get bored. The wonderful thing about your brain is that if it cannot find the stimulants and novelty outside, it will start wandering and begin creating it on its own. Suddenly new connections and ideas start emerging. It’s no coincidence that most people get their best ideas in the shower. This is the one place you can be left alone with your thoughts.

Being bored isn’t fun, and I have been guilty of avoiding boredom like the plague even though I have read the research and have seen the benefits myself. This one-step cure to reach greater creativity sounds simple, but it isn’t easy. 

Don’t despair. You can start incorporating boredom in your life gradually. Go for a device-free walk. Don’t read on the tram; just observe. Allow yourself to sit quietly on a bench. 

And if you’d like to learn more, read Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi. In this book she explores this idea and offers practical exercises you can gradually incorporate into your life.

Now we want to hear from you. Have you allowed yourself to get bored? What were the results? Are there other routines you follow to reach greater creativity?

Again, thanks for reading and have a lovely, creative day.

Jana NagyovaComment