I recently came across two quite similar and interesting articles, one of them being a summary of Arianna Huffington’s speech at an event held at London’s Bafta on the 30th of July. Although different in context and audience, the underlying message of both pieces was simple: to embrace boredom. Yes indeed, be bored once in a while.
Rumour has it that Steve Jobs developed his amazing ideas for apple while Zen meditating. The article by Simon Attwater implies that dozing under apple trees gave us theories of gravity. My personal example? I have had some of my best and most creative ideas while out on a run – the epitome of boredom, if you think about it… It’s simply a long stretch of pavement pounding, perhaps spruced up a little by a ‘motivational’ playlist.
Although Huffington’s line of thought had a different motivation, it delivered a similar message: today we are so over- or ‘hyper-connected’ and always ‘digitally multi-tasking’ that we’re overstressed and suffering from burnouts. There’s simply no room for creativity or inspiration! She too mentioned Jobs, by suggesting that he certainly didn’t have his amazing ideas while ‘clearing out his inbox’.
I’m afraid to say that I do see some truth behind these ideas. In the past (wow I feel old) when had to get the school bus (1 hour each way, it was painful) and no one was there to keep me company or entertain me with school related anecdotes, I would put in my headphones and daydream. Now if I’m bored on the bus, train or tube it’s a different story. In my defence I must say that I do make an effort. I’ll read a book, newspaper or magazine if I can but often I end up playing on my iPhone. While I may not go as far as checking my emails, I’ll still be aimlessly fiddling around on some other app or messaging platform.
But now that I’ve read and digested these two articles I may just change my ways. I may just sit there and stare into space. Waiting for inspiration to come.