“When people are bored, it is primarily with themselves.” – Eric Hoffer
“Only those who want everything done for them are bored.” – Billy Graham
“The cure for boredom is curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker
We all get bored at times. We all have the occasional tedious day when we can’t find anything fun or interesting to do. The mood passes, often, for me, after mindlessly watching a bad movie or TV show and enduring a couple of hours of feeling glum.
Most often I can’t predict when this is going to happen. Once it has passed, my vigor returns as if some part of me was aware that I just needed the down time. For some people, though, these moods last and if they pass, they don’t pass quickly. These are the people who are bored with their whole lives, and this blog post is about them.
How do we understand this kind of boredom? Consider the three quotes above. Each makes a valid point about why some people get bored with life and, by inference, each gives us an idea about how to combat boredom.
Mr. Hoffer, the philosopher, lays the responsibility for boredom on the bored person. Some people don’t realize how often monotony is self-induced. They don’t develop themselves or let themselves become interesting people. They may live in a world with nearly endless options for recreation, learning, social interaction, and creating, but they stick with what is familiar and predictable. At the smorgasbord of life, their plate is empty because they take no initiative.
Which mystifies me because my problem isn’t finding enough interesting things to do, but having to sort through the attractive choices to pick those that can fit into my life and goals. There are so many options, from travel to volunteer work, crafts to take up, fun classes, serious classes, bowling books to read, tennis, history, learning a musical instrument or a new language, hiking, boating and on and on and on. How can you ever run out of options?
The Reverend Billy Graham has a point, too. Some people are passive in life, letting others set their agenda. Waiting for someone to make things work for you is boring, irresponsible and misguided. You cheat yourself out of the fun and challenge of exploring new things and developing new interests, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with learning something new. Life is so much more fulfilling when you take charge of your own, that even mistakes and plans that didn’t work out the way you want can feel good. Each of these can teach you something for your future.
Ms. Parker, the witty writer, knows how to avoid this. Curiosity is a great thing. It inevitably propels you out of the ordinary into something new, possibly mysterious and fascinating. You can’t be both curious and mentally idle. Curiosity is a very forward-looking word!
So to put it succinctly, if you are bored with your life, take responsibility for your boredom. Get in making your life what you want it to be and start getting interested in the myriad possibilities around you. Start exploring just to see what you will find.