Is boredom the key to success?
At any point during the day you can probably see me flitting between my laptop, then to my phone (where I'm switching between 3 apps) and back to my laptop again. But recently, I've been starting to realise that even though I think I’m doing my brain good by keeping it active, when am I giving it time to process all this new information I’m making it take in?
Take my commute for example, I have about three hours a day (there and back) where I’m either sitting on a train, waiting on a platform or walking. Over the years I’ve read whole book series’, watched dozens of seasons of TV shows and smashed my way through a hell of a lot of podcasts. In fact, sometimes I feel pressure to use that ‘dead time’ well by engrossing myself in some type of media, so I’m not wasting my time. But sometimes, those dreaded days come where I leave my headphones at home and there’s not a book in sight to keep me entertained.
But what happens? All of a sudden I’m thinking about an article I read the other day, or something someone said to me which I found interesting and making connections between things I’ve come into contact with. My brain actually has time to remember and decide what I think and feel about everything I’ve been consuming. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that when we allow ourselves to be bored, our brain searches for stimulus in our own subconscious and therefore we can form new connections and problem solve or even become more creative. It’s the same reason why we always come up with great responses to what someone has said to us in the shower, because our brain has the time and space to be witty and clever.
So now, sometimes when my eyes are tired, when I’d usually be forcing myself to read through endless tweets, I sometimes just stare out the window (with my headphones on playing no music, of course) and I guess it is, in part, how I’ve been able to create browngirlkim. It’s on one of these journeys I convinced myself to JUST DO IT.
I know I’m not the first person to say this, and I know the mindfulness movement and other similar ones are vying for people to let themselves be happy doing nothing, but sometimes I find that it’s said in terms that don’t quite go with my lifestyle. An example of this is the digital detoxes which are being encouraged. For someone like me, whose whole job it is to be on social media and stay on top of social media trends, it seems a bit unrealistic to ask that I delete half the apps off my phone.
The thing which really seems to make sense to me is just to allow your brain to breathe. You can still scroll on twitter later on in the evening, but also allow your mind to wander when you're brushing your teeth or just lying on you bed after a shower. Who knows, your next brainwave could be the making of you!