Sitting in the classroom, barely bearing the boring lecture, my mind slowly drifts away to the La La Land and I don’t realize but my hand starts dancing to its own tunes, making doodles on the paper.
Later, while returning from college, I was travelling in local train and my cell battery drains out. Suddenly there is this big vacuum of what should I do for next one hour and I make a feeble attempt to entertain myself by peeping out of the window. However soon I get bored of seeing familiar view and my mind once again wanders to its La La Land. I start thinking about how can I throw bachelorette party for my friend who is getting married next month. And my brilliant little brain swiftly starts baking a perfect plan for the party. It is funny how great ideas come to me when I am bored. When I gave it a further thought, I realized most of my creativity was born during boredom, while studying, while attending lectures or while travelling. Off course there would be some hidden inspiration or idea out there which I try to translate into my own words, but the development of those ideas is mostly when I am jaded.
To further confirm my theory, I decided to dive into this vast pool of knowledge as I type on Google “If boredom leads to creativity”. To my surprise, it says yes, it is scientifically proven that Boredom can cause brilliant ideas.
There is a study published in the Harvard Business Review where they made people perform some boring tasks, like reading and copying numbers from a phone book. Then they asked these people to give some sort of creative test. They found out that subjects who were bored came up with more creative ideas than the group that was entertained.
The science have studied that neural networks expand and diversify during bouts of boredom. These people adopt lateral thinking styles. This causes the mind to seek for more creative solution to the problem at hand because obvious one is not very interesting. A bored mind is fidgety and disgruntled, wrestling with the clutches of the mundane.
After all, boredom is caused due to unfulfilled yearning for stimulation by an unengaged mind. Bored people are more likely to scout for activities that satiate their pleasure hungry brains.
They yearn for things that are interesting and engage the brain’s reward center. Thus, boredom may cause people to spark associative thought by approaching rewards. Since we humans detest feeling bored for too long, the feeling encourages us to seek out new experiences and pursue new goals that we might otherwise not think of.
So, it can be beneficial to let brain go for a stroll as we perform mundane chores like chopping the vegetables or folding the clothes. It is recommended to have some downtime and let the mind wander for creative thinking.
This downtime for brain can help humans to create, design, imagine, invent, and develop new thoughts, ideas, stories, music, and arts. Off course this can work when we refrain from falling prey to the conventional distractions like chatting, surfing, or binge-watching TV shows. Most of us do have some idle time in our day, but we fill them with social media and email. And in this urge to get temporary solace from boredom, we end up spending a lot more time on social media then intended and lose the opportunity to indulge in self reflection or develop divergent thinking.
For igniting innovative thoughts, one need to disconnect from the internet, remove all other tempting distractions, and allow the mind to daydream. Our mind should able to wander without electronic distractions. The aim is to replace boredom with curiosity, interest, and finally absorption.
However it is important to note that not all boredom can be useful. Being bored and not having enough stimulation is one thing. When you could have lots to do, but it lacks sense and purpose, you might be dealing with chronic boredom. It’s that lethargic feeling which can be dreadful for physical and mental health.
Moral of the story: If anything bores you (including this article), you must be grateful; it kind of helped you to become creative and interesting. May be we should start embracing little boredom rather than trying so hard to get rid of it. Who knows it can lead us to our Eureka moment.