On Boredom and Creativity

Boredom – ennui or in plain English lack of interest, lack of concern, apathy, languor, humdrum, the majority of university lectures, dullness, malaise – whichever way you decide to call it, it is an emotion many of us fear and try to get rid of. Most of us think boredom is just a symptom of depression, which indeed it can be. So, we immediately try and get rid of boredom, usually by means of some meaningless activity. Our hectic, goal-oriented lives do not recognise the fact that boredom can be beneficial to us.

Our minds are sort of preparing a carte blanche for us when it feels uninterested in what we’re doing – a carte blanche which has the potential to be filled with something completely new and creative. Boredom makes us want to feel more worthy – it makes us want to do something completely different that’s meaningful. Our brains seek to do something that, even though unpleasant, is meaningful. This can be anything from blood donation to consuming drugs – which is why people have such negative connotations of boredom.

Taking time off from friends, obligations, responsibilities and most important of all, technology and actually making time to be bored is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is a way to give yourself time to discover new hobbies and new interests. Imagine spending the same amount of time you spend scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, out of boredom, on for instance, learning a new skill.

Maybe it’s time to start associating boredom with creativity. Maybe it’s time to stop glorifying busy. Boredom is crucial to creativity – people are bored of the status quo, the way things are being done and they want to try something new. Giacomo Leopardi wrote that “Boredom is the most sublime of all human emotions because it expresses the fact that the human spirit, in a certain sense, is greater than the entire universe. Boredom is an expression of a profound despair at not finding anything that can satisfy the soul’s boundless needs.”

Good luck in finding something that satisfies your soul’s boundless needs!

Written by: Christa Boffa