At some point, we have all been bored. There is nothing on our televisions worth watching, no books on our bookshelf that we want to read, and it might be too cold/hot outside to do outdoor activities. We “take a break” from our work, yet cannot find anything that is meaningful or entertaining to us that will fulfil our time. Therefore, we call ourselves “bored,” and we always seem to find some way to pass the time, whether it is taking a nap, scrolling on our phones, or something else that doesn’t provide a memorable experience or a meaningful accomplishment.
No matter how busy someone is, at some point, we consider ourselves bored, and while the boredom may not last very long, this period may seem like an eternity throughout the duration of its cycle. For those of us who live at a relatively fast pace, periods of free time often cause torturous boredom since there is little structure in this time, and this boredom seems to only cure itself once the structure returns. But instead of waiting until structure returns to our day, let’s think about what boredom is – it is the lack of something meaningful or intriguing to do. Therefore, being bored is the opposite of being intrigued, so the only plausible cure to boredom is its antidote – becoming intrigued with something.
Whether it is something you’re interested in researching, building, creating, or writing about, becoming intrigued with something enables you to forget about the boredom you were faced with and improve yourself at the same time. Sometimes the end result is an innovation, other times it is a blog post, and at worst, the end result is gaining new knowledge – something that is invaluable and cannot be taken away from you.
Some people may call this “work,” but there is a distinct difference between performing “work” and enabling your brain to express its creative output. In fact, innovation can be a form of entertainment once you begin practicing it, and the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards it provides are priceless. From my experience, there really is no downside to working on a “passion project” during your free time. At most, you change the world, but at least, you change yourself.
If you don’t know where to start, find a whiteboard or grab a notebook and begin writing down your thoughts. At some point, the words or drawings on the page will inspire a new thought, and eventually, an idea will be born. This time is sacred to your brain, as it enables you to think creatively, without borders, and generate a new frontier of ideas that may or may not be possible in the current state of our society. Whether the idea is realistic or not is unimportant, because innovation doesn’t begin with reality, it begins with the imagination and eventually becomes reality.
This doesn’t mean that you have to create some amazing thing during your time of innovation. Nor does it mean that you have to see something through from start to finish. But getting those creative juices flowing in your brain will enable you to be more creative in future endeavors, and who knows, you might come up with the next big thing in the process.
So, the next time you are bored, find a whiteboard or a notebook and just start thinking! I promise you that you won’t regret it, and you’ll likely surprise yourself in the ideas you generate.