A shockingly large amount of schoolwork be it homework , self tests etc, gets done in a last minute fueled by the adrenaline of an impending deadline, and proceeding in an inefficient slurry of short work bursts constantly interrupted by quick hits of boredom-busting stimulation.
We all had this experience. No matter how many times we promise ourselves that we won’t repeat it, it happens .
This reality worries me for two reasons:
- We are training ourselves to be needy and dependent on “Interesting” things. By reaching for the “exciting stuff” (whether it’s a twitter , facebook or a remote control) every time we’d like the moment to be a little easier or more interesting.
- We are losing tolerance for boredom.
In this article I will share my thoughts on importance of BOREDOM.
Earlier this week I was searching the reason why giving up junk food is harder in first few days of fitness regime. One article caught my attention . Melva , A lady who recently had surgery to get rid of excess skin after losing 150 pounds, wrote: “When people who struggle with dieting get hungry, they often feel hunger pangs intensely. The sensations can feel like an emergency. All their attention gets focused on how uncomfortable they feel – and when and where they can get food. They begin to think they won’t be able to stand feeling that way.”
The point of the exercise is to show yourself that you can tolerate hunger. Hunger is not an emergency, you don’t have to eat just because you’re hungry. Just because you want to eat doesn’t mean that you should. So instead of getting sucked into that cycle of stressing because you’re hungry, when you feel hungry but it’s not time for a meal or snack you can say to yourself, “It’s no big deal. I wish I could eat now, but it’s OK I’ll wait.” Hunger comes and goes. As you turn your attention to other things, the hunger will diminish.
Why boredom is not bad ?
What we can infer from this is that “we’ve lost our tolerance for a little hunger.
This made me think about different topic.EFFORT/HARDWORK/DEEPWORK.
Inspired by Melva , I found asking myself : have we also lost tolerance for a little bit of boredom?
TO BE VERY CLEAR: I’m not talking about LONG TERM BOREDOM – BEING BORED ALL TIME. Instead, I’m pointing to the short term feeling that arises when we lack a ready source of novelty — the burden behind your eyes that builds every fifteen minutes or so ,while solving a problem sheet , reading , writing an article etc.
Many students turn to me for advice ( mainly for subject selection cie A-levels, how to get A grades in A-levels etc). The more I advise them the more I notice that they feel un-easy with idea of long term effort. And out of my curiosity when I asked them what they feel while they study for exams .The general response was something like this :
“Whenever I sit to study, I end up listening songs, reaching for email , or refreshing my Facebook feed. I just don’t know why I am not able to CONCENTRATE”
What I have experienced and so did many people who I interviewed (check my previous article) is that excellent work, be it scientific discovery, writing, mathematics, or art need long term effort and hard work. This also means it requires boring stretches during which you ignore a mind appealing novel stimuli — “OMEIR listen Maybe there’s a facebook update waiting that holds some exciting news! Go check-fast !”.
Finally, This brings me back to meddlesome question that is bothering me: If we lose our tolerance for boredom, will we lose our ability to produce things that are remarkable and exceptional ? Have we lost the skills of self education and self – inquiry- have we switched to auto pilot mode? Have I myself lost these abilities?
These questions worry me, especially when, after just a few minutes of thinking about them, I find myself tempted to see what’s new on Facebook feed.