Boredom, the enemy? of the productive and the young.
In my R.A.C.E. formula methodology, the E. stands for Emotional Mastery. In short, this is about understanding, working with, and NOT being afraid of your difficult emotions. (Notice I don’t call them “negative emotions” like everyone else). The path to not being afraid of your emotions is to recognize that they are the police force of your values and beliefs. You need them to live to your values.
Boredom is simply a chemical message from your body’s internal police force telling you that you aren’t doing anything interesting TO YOU right at that moment.
And to correct that, you should do something interesting right now. Simple, right?
So what do we do? We instantly go to our electronics. This is a huge mistake as I have discovered.
You see, first off, “interesting” is a very subjective word. One day, something can be boring to you, and the next day with a change of mind, that same thing can be interesting.
I’d like to help you change your attitude here about those moments when you don’t have anything you really need to do throughout your day and make them really “interesting.”
This requires a bit of trust and maybe a little patience but the paybacks are enormous so stick with me.
…so here’s what to do when you’re really bored, alone, at school, at work, at home, at night or anywhere!
How many times have you been in the shower, or driving a car, or in bed trying to fall asleep and a brilliant idea or thought comes up?
Sometimes the ideas come up in the middle of the night or during a nap, right?
Musicians and writers are famous for sleeping with a notepad next to their bed to instantly capture the ideas before they are forgotten or dissolved away by mundane every day thoughts and worries.
Unfortunately, for many people, the new handheld technologies are destroying these personal gold mines we all possess.
First, stop throwing away your mental power. Edison didn’t.
It is well-known that one of the greatest inventors, Thomas Edison, when stuck on a problem, would tell his inner mind to come up with a solution while he would take nap. He would do this ON PURPOSE, and regularly, in order to take advantage of this power.
When he woke up from his nap, he had a new idea to try out on his inventions. This was his secret for inventing things!
What’s going on here? Well, in those slow moments, we are most connected to our subconscious mind (also called “unconscious mind”). This is the part of our mind that works much more powerfully than our conscious or, thinking mind as I call it to the kids.
Your subconscious mind has access to everything you’ve ever learned, and some say, even things we haven’t learned but are in the collective intelligence of all people.
If you want to learn more about this power, I recommend a book by Joseph Murphy “The power of your subconscious mind.”
Anyway, so, what do we do with this amazing power? Instead of opening up to and activating this power, we shut it down with outside stimulus. We do everything we can to fill up our mind and keep it busy all throughout the day so we don’t feel “bored” or have to deal with our negative thoughts, or to fulfill our incessant need to be “productive.”
…and I must confess, I’m guilty of this as well but am now going to be more aware of it and take my own advice here.
Here’s what I mean, as an example, in real life.
Everyone has boring moments in the day they can do this
I have a morning routine that includes taking a shower most days. Awhile ago, I purchased
one of those bluetooth speakers that can get wet so that I can listen to music while in the shower. I find music to be a tremendous help in shifting my state and mood to what I want it to be and use it for that purpose quite often.
Well, lately, I found myself playing an audiobook or podcast on my phone and piping it into the shower with the speaker, which now completely occupies my mind while I’m in there doing my wash routine. Boom, a boring time is now solved, right?
Before, and without the audiobook/podcast in the shower, I used to allow my mind to drift and just let it go wherever it wants. The warm water felt good on the body and totally relaxed me so my mind was in a perfect state to receive fresh thoughts and ideas. And it did!
In the shower (and sauna at the gym) was when I came up with so many life changing and profound ideas!
I’ll bet this has happened to you too in the shower, right?
That is, it happened until I started feeling like I always needed to fill my brain with new information whenever I wasn’t sleeping, eating, or working on something.
Not good! I killed the power that had helped me so often in the past move myself forward to my goals just like Edison.
Besides countless breakthroughs in my business and in how to help people with my work, the idea for this article itself came in the shower a couple days ago!
This is so easy, children do it better than adults: 2 steps
Here’s the punchline:
In order to allow NEW IDEAS to come to you, 2 things need to happen… you have to create space for them and then you simply connect to your unconscious mind and wait for the magic to happen!
When it does, just capture it on paper or a doc or audio or any way so that if you forget it, you still have it. Everyone has this ability!
For the connection part, you already have normal and natural times and places when you are really connected to your subconscious: the shower, bath, sauna, jacuzzi, mindless drives, getting a massage, falling asleep, waking up, moments of spacing out, and cat naps.
But here’s the thing for #2 – that absolutely necessary space I mentioned above? What is that? It’s called:
Yep, I know, it’s a scary word to some people. Some people cannot stand the sound of silence. They are always filling up the silence with some kind of noise. I get it. I’ve done it too.
But this KILLS the space for you to welcome in new ideas and your brilliance to advance you to your goals and desires.
Sometimes we are forced into silence like when we sleep but I have heard of people who, as soon as they wake up, they go right to their phone.
Also, it’s not just silence as in “no sound.”
Silence also means a simple quieting of the mind. It means you aren’t filling your head by reading things either. It means that when you have nothing you really need to use your mind on, like in the shower, that you allow for the silence and see what your unconscious mind fills it in with.
Now, I’m not talking about “mediation” although that could be called the advanced version of what I’m talking about. Don’t put that burden on yourself that you have to “think nothing” or something like that. No, this is much more realistic and
It doesn’t matter if you are ADD, you don’t need to be entertained every second of the day and can do this. Give yourself this gift!
So, no, you don’t need to be a buddhist monk to just give yourself a few moments of not constantly needing entertainment, checking your phone, or reading and listening to something.
Just be in a period of silence. That’s all there is to it and you will gain tremendous benefits.
Have you ever tried driving where you don’t have to pay attention to directions and NOT had the car’s sound system on? Try it for an extended period of time. See what comes up.
If you are in a line somewhere, like at a grocery store checkout….go ahead and check your phone really quickly, if you must….but then, put it away and just allow for some mental silence.
Observe and let one thought take you to another. See what comes up.
Do NOT throw away this power. It’s the most powerful ability you have that requires nothing of you! You don’t have to do anything to take advantage of it except stop killing it with noise.
There’s plenty of times to check your phone and listen to radio and read books, etc. Give yourself the gift of some more silence in your life and I promise you, you will be rewarded.
In the comments below, tell us all about a brainstorm or idea you have recently had in these times so that everyone reading this can believe what I am saying.
Let’s do this,