Could this be why you’re bored?
As a child I regularly complained to my mother that I was bored.
There were the standard responses – go clean your room or make your bed to which of course I would say but that’s boring.
Had my mother (who I’ve called by her first name since I was 11) told me to scale the front of our two storey house onto the roof and then work out how to get down, it would’ve been a different story.
Because the task of climbing up onto the roof would have been more challenging compared to making my bed yet still within my capability. I was a good climber.
Here’s the thing.
Boredom (and a sense of dullness) can enter the scene when life lacks challenge. When things become easy.
Think of a time when you either started a new job, a new course or a new hobby.
For a few months, it was both exciting and challenging. You were learning new things, meeting new people and stretching yourself outside your comfort zone. Everyday was different and you loved the high that came with it.
Then as time went on, you started to master your craft. You got good at it. The excitement slowed, you became efficient and effective. You were still being presented with challenges but nothing you couldn’t handle. If anything, the repetitive nature of the challenges started to annoy you.
Here’s what happened.
You went from what’s called a state of flow (or your sweet spot) down the back road to boredom.
It was Hungarian-American positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who developed the idea of flow and spent years researching, interviewing and writing about the state of flow.
He explains flow as…
“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
So what can you do to find that state where you’re completely absorbed in a task, you’re using your skills, time flies by and nothing else matters?
Here are two possibilities:
Find a new task!
Find something that you enjoy doing, that’s going to stretch you but is still within your ability to complete.
Note: If you do something beyond your capability, beyond your skill level, you’ll only end up frustrated.
It may help if you think about a time/s when you felt good while doing something. What were you doing? Where were you? What felt good about it? How can you get more of that?
Do more of what you love
It might be a hobby like photography or writing or walking in nature.
Or maybe there’s an aspect of your job that you love doing. If so, negotiate with your boss to do more of it!
Csikszentmihalyi believes that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow.
What are you waiting for? Go find your happy place!
Until next time,
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