Get Bored Now
Is boredom a negative emotion? It is defined as a feeling of discontent with something that is dull, repetitive, tiresome or tedious. We prefer to stay away from anything that is boring to us. But boredom is largely a complex emotion that can have a very positive impact. It can make us more creative and productive.
In episode 41 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:
1) In 11 studies, researchers at the University of Virginia and Harvard University found that most participants did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think.
- Participants preferred to do mundane activities like scroll their cell phone.
- Some chose pain over boredom by pressing a button to give themselves an electric shock.
- Study 1: boredom helped boost individual productivity on an idea-generation task.
- Study 2: boredom manipulation increased boredom but did not trigger other negative emotions like anger and frustration, which makes boredom a unique factor in sparking creativity.
- Study 3: boredom did not always improve creativity for a product development task. The participants needed to have a high learning goal orientation, high need for cognition, high openness to experience, and high internal locus of control to get more creative when feeling bored.
4) Doing nothing or sitting with your thoughts is hard when there’s so much to do and so much to pull your attention. But if you want to be more creative and productive, it’s good to experience boredom.
5) Being bored is not the same as purposeful, relaxation activities, such as yoga and meditation.
6) To experience true boredom, you could sit with your eyes closed, or look out the window, or walk a familiar route and let your mind wander. There is no music, no podcast, and no other stimuli to engage your senses. It’s just you and your thoughts.
7) Boredom is not a bad thing if you know how to use it as an opportunity for idea generation and creative breakthroughs.
Read the transcript.
- Timothy D. Wilson,, David A. Reinhard, Erin C. Westgate, Daniel T. Gilbert, Nicole Ellerbeck Cheryl Hahn, Casey L. Brown, Adi Shaked, Just think: the challenges of the disengaged mind, Science, July 2014, Volume 345, Issue 6192
- Guihyun Park, Beng-Chong Lim, Hui Si Oh, Why Being Bored Might Not Be a Bad Thing After All, Academy of Management Discoveries, March 2019, Volume 5, Number 1
- Dyan Williams, The Incrementalist podcast, Ep. 12, Divergent vs. Convergent Thinking
- Sebastian Brian Mehr: Album – Olemus; Song – La Nieve (hearnow.com)
Visit website: www.dyanwilliams.com
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