More on Boredom (Why we go missing in action)

It happens to all of us. We go missing in action. We do stuff; lots of it all day long. The problem is that we’re often not “in” the action. We’re missing. Now, I understand that there are times that “losing oneself” in the moment is a good thing. For instance, if we are working in a garden or walking in a park, it can be extremely beneficial to loosen our vigilance and just relax and restore ourselves.

The issue I’m talking about here is a lack of attentiveness to the moment and what we are doing in it. The less engaged, really engaged, I am in what I’m doing (in the present moment), the more likely I will develop a general boredom for the moment.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of “flow.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the well known researcher of the idea. One of the basic principle of flow is that of initial intentionality. Simply put, meaningful activities require focused and intentional energy, particularly at the outset. In other words, it’s hard to get going. But, once we are engaged in a meaningful activity, we can slip into flow where are energy is maximized AND we find satisfaction (rather than boredom) in those actions.

So, if you find yourself trapped in boredom, you may not need a “new” activity, but a fuller engagement in the current one.

2009-03-18T15:21:04-04:00

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Written by Dave Fleming