Let me start with this, I am a big YouTube content consumer. I watch plethora of videos at a stretch. Whether it is educational, inspirational, comedy skits or straight up weird stuff, it doesn’t matter. I am addicted to watching videos. I don’t know when it started but YouTube Premium definitely added to the immersion. No ads means no distraction and just straight up more time for you to spend on that platform.
Now I understand that when I talk about why today most of us are scared of staying idle or getting bored, I am part of that problem. I am self-aware that even though I write this, I am also scared of sitting alone with my thoughts. In this content consuming era of social media, attention spans are low, click/scroll rates are high and everyone from the previous generation to the next is a part of this.
Which is why when I decided to control watching YouTube or scrolling through Instagram, I found it very hard to stay without a phone in my hand. I kept telling myself that okay no more videos but maybe Reddit has good posts or Quora may have good answers or LinkedIn might have something. Anything to keep me from thinking that perhaps I have stopped enjoying my own company.
There is a short but brilliant film on Netflix called Bo Burnham: Inside. It is something that you should watch as I honestly believe, Bo has delivered one of the finest takes on our pandemic plagued living where since we couldn’t step out for a long time, internet took over to became our solace. Particularly, one line from the song named ‘’Welcome to the Internet” in that film struck me hard.
“Could I interest you in everything? All of the time?
A little bit of everything all of the time
Apathy’s a tragedy and boredom is a crime
Anything and everything all of the time.”– Welcome to the Internet, Bo Burnham
That line was such an eye opener for me at the time I first listened to it that I spent all night thinking about all the various addictions I had when it came to my phone. The internet 3.0 is the advent of social media platforms all simply craving for your attention. Due to this, our attention spans have been damaged to such levels that TikTok and Instagram are dominating our lives. We get bored within a minute of watching something and those algorithm wants nothing but to keep us on their platform for as long as they can. This becomes a borderline scary combination.
When was the last time you read a book? A big book? A epic fantasy or a murder mystery? Book reading is declining rapidly this last decade and rightfully so because who has the time to read through pages and pages of content anymore. No one wants to wait for the plot to develop, the characters to develop or the tension to build. Unless a book is adapted into a movie, chances are that it will never reach anyone but a narrow dedicated audience. I am also convinced that half the people who clicked on this post may not have reached to this point simply because I haven’t arrived at the point yet.
The point is that boredom is not a bad thing. Boredom is useful in so many ways to us, our mental peace and our health. Being bored by doing nothing helps your mind to rest and reset. It is an important tool to go to sleep on time and adequately rest. The moments of creativity and ideas hit you the strongest when you don’t think about it and let your mind quieten without the presence of any external stimuli. The idea to write this article came to me simply because I chose to let myself sit quietly and write. If I don’t do this exercise, I will be unable to sit down long enough to write any article.
Make boredom a tool that helps you come up with bigger and better ideas. Enjoy the breaks you give yourself from your electronics when doing mundane tasks of doing the dishes, cleaning your room etc. Your mind will thank you for letting it rest from time to time. The idea of constantly bombarding your brain with content or music or audio books is frankly exhausting. Boredom is not an enemy that you need to keep away from. It is the neccesary part of your life that lets you enjoy inspirations when it eventually does arrive.
As we all know that in the absence of sadness, you will not value happiness.
I would also emphasize that in the absence of boredom, you will not value excitement.