Embrace the bored

I am currently listening to the audiobook Atomica Habits by James Clear, and I have to say, it is fascinating and certainly got my mind racing. This morning, the section I listened to talked about ‘embracing the bored.” This topic is something that I have been thinking a lot about for the last several months. In his book, Clear mentions that successful people are typically successful because they embrace the bored; for example, training for a 100 mile race is fun for the first few runs, but then you get into the daily grind of running several times a week, your body starts to hurt and so does your mind. In fact, at times your mind seems as though it will not let you take another step. Clear mentions that, in spite of this mental boredom with the task, successful people, in general, get up and do the work no matter what. If it’s training for a 100 miler, you get up and run. If you are a writer, you get up and write. The point is that it’s more about consistency and doing the habit daily than always doing it perfectly. Running has really taught me that. Bill, my old running coach, used to say that if you can’t run 5 miles, then do 1 or 2 miles. It is consistency that will get you fit enough for the race. I often find that the days when I just show up teach me the most. If I only worked when I felt like it, I wouldn’t get much done. Additionally, I believe that creativity and grand ideas come from the boredom. Anytime I am stuck on a problem, if I try to fit in a quick run or a walk and just let my mind wander, I notice often the solutions just come to me. I think space allows for the creativity to push through. Without that space, new ideas can’t evolve. My challenge for over the next few months is to create space for creativity to come and to embrace the bored. What that looks like for me is not checking my phone the minute I get bored, in a waiting room, between meetings, etc. I think often about how many opportunities are missed to connect with people when I am soothing myself with my phone. Embrace the bored and we might but find enough space and time for the next big idea.