Do you have the time of getting bored? Can you imagine being bored?
I really can’t, so much more things to do, ideas to work out or a backlog to deal with.
I read this research (Guihyan Park, Beng-Chong Limand Hui Si Oh, Academy of Management Discoveries 2019), which made me think being bored might not be a bad thing after all. Their conclusion: being bored can make people more creative on subsequent task.
There is another catch in the research. It does not apply to everybody, it only applies to people with a certain mindset. Quote: “A subsequent experiment involving a product-development atsk found that the effect isn’t universal; only participants predisposed to divergent thinking (as measure by qualities such as openness to experience and orientation toward learning goals) benefited from their induced boredom by generating more-creative ideas.”
It reminded me of some books I read some years ago when I was researching new learning methods based on new neuroscience insights. The first one being in a fixed or growth mindset (Book: Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential, Carol S. Dweck) where a conscious choice to be in a growth mindset makes the big difference.
The other one is a study done by Professor Barbara Oakley. She is credited with popularizing the concept of focused and diffuse forms of thinking. In A Mind for Numbers, Oakley explains how distinct these modes are and how we switch between the two throughout the day. We are constantly in pursuit of true periods of focus – deep work, flow states, and highly productive sessions where we see tangible results. Much of the learning process occurs during the focused mode of thinking. The diffuse mode is equally important to understand and pursue.
Put yourself in a boring place every now and then, force yourself to not have impulses around you. Take nothing with you, not even pen and paper. Agree a time slot with yourself, no too short, to just let go of the rush and to let it flow. To let your mind flow. To allow yourself to explore where your mind takes you. Observe your thoughts instead of focussing them on all priorities you’re managing. Just let go of the need to control your thoughts. Embrace the diffuse mindset.
Embrace silence. Embrace feeling bored.
Embrace the power of your mind if you handover control of it. Embrace stupid ideas, impossible thoughts and the real crazy things that pop-up. Smile and let it go.
I use this in my coaching sessions. To allow coachees to generate new ideas and see themselves in a new perspective, a perspective based on their purpose.
In some of the leadership sessions I facilitate, I also sometimes challenge and invite the participants for 30 minutes to go to a place where they are not disturbed and get as unfocused as they can be and to write down 2 ideas afterwards that they see as new insights for themselves. Most bring much more than the 2 asked for. And the bonus here is: they get also to reflect on themselves, get closer to their purpose. They connect to their values. They sometimes even make bold and big decisions to change their life fundamentally.
Only 30 minutes. Imagine if you take 30 minutes every week….
Want to experience this yourself? I am happy to give you a new experience, make you feel what this can mean for you. I invite you to allow yourself to find a new perspective, which will be a new source of energy, based on your purpose.